Destiny Pictures' Aditya Basu Bhattacharya is lining up a $4m Indian-Italian drama titled Sandokan In Sicily, which will feature Indian star Kabir Bedi.

Bedi was the 6ft5' star of the 1976 Sandokan TV series, about a heroic anti-colonialist figure based in Malaysia. The series, which also spawned a feature film in the '70s, turned Sandokan into a cult figure in Italy. The series was also broadcast in France, Germany, Spain and Benelux.

The new Sandokan tale, to be directed by Bhattacharya, begins with Bedi working on a film set in India when he is ordered to fly to a small town in Sicily to help raise the spirits of the young daughter of a local Mafia boss.

The drama is written by Arturo Rossetto and Sasa' Ingenieri, and is scheduled to shoot in 2004 in India and Sicily.

Meanwhile, Bhattacharya has finished shooting King Liar, a black comedy starring Irfan Khan, the protagonist of Asif Kafadia's critically-acclaimed The Warrior.

Mumbai-based Destiny is also to produce a low-medium budget film by Ben Hopkins (Nine Lives of Tomas Katz).

British-born and based Hopkins will shoot the film in Bengalese, a language which he learned in England. The film will be a homage to the golden age of Indian cinema in the 1950s and will be shot in black and white. Rainmaker Films in the UK is co-producing.