Roland Joffe is India-bound. The Oscar winning British director (The Killing Fields, The Mission) is to direct $35 million epic Singularity with Aishwarya Rai (Provoked, Bride and Prejudice) in the leading role.

The film, due to begin production early next year, is being produced and co-financed by Belgian outfit Corsan and by Indian company Neelmudra Entertainment. The producers are Corsan CEO Paul Breuls and Neelmudra Chairman Ajey Jhankar.

Joffe has recruited some illustrious collaborators, including revered cinematographer Vittorio Storaro (Apocalypse Now), production designer Eugenio Zanetti (Last Action Hero) and costume designer Eiko Ishioka (Bram Stoker's Dracula).

Corsan's newly formed sales arm Corsan World Sales is representing the film in the Cannes Market.

Singularity is set across two centuries. It is about a James, a dashing British officer in 1780s India, who reluctantly spearheads British aggression on the mighty Marathas in order to take over the entire subcontinent, only to fall desperately in love with the beautiful, mysterious Tulaja (Rai), a young Indian palace guard. Meanwhile, in 2009 Boston, marine archaeologist Jay, clings to life after a risky free drive to save his wife and research partner Laura, who was trapped underwater in the wreckage of a British merchant ship used in James' day.

In Cannes yesterday, Corsan announced it is is also fast-tracking its new $8 million romantic comedy Meant To Be, from writer-actress Kara Holden. The film, about a guardian angel who falls in love with his stumbling protegee and gets the opportunity to become human and woo her, is likely to be set up as a UK/Belgian co-production.