Devdas producer Bharat Shah has joined forces with director Ram Gopal Varma to make a film with acting superstar Amitabh Bachchan that will be the most expensive ever made in Bollywood.

The US$13m film is billed as an international political thriller that will be shot in five countries, including India and Pakistan. Shah's Devdas was previously billed as the most expensive ever Bollywood film.

Shooting of the as yet unamed film will begin in January next year, with it set for release in June-July 2003. The film will also star Ajay Devgan, and reportedly will also feature an international cast.

Shah's Devdas, which world premiered in official selection at Cannes this year, has so far grossed over $34m worldwide. It has also been gone forward as India's submission to the foreign language category of the Academy Awards.

Amitabh Bachchan starred in the Bollywood smash hit Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gam (Sometimes Happiness, Sometimes Sorrow). He recently signed up to star in Aitbaar, the first film being made by Indian industrial giant Tata Group (, Sept 12)