Miramax Films has beaten several US rivals to pre-buy North and South American rights on Pathe UK's white-hot Pride And Prejudice: The Bollywood Musical, according to sources.

Pathe is launching international sales at Cannes on the all-singing, all-dancing take on Jane Austen's novel, directed by Bend It Like Beckham director Gurinder Chadha.

Bollywood superstar Aishwarya Rai, who is also on the Cannes jury, and possibly rising New Zealand star Martin Henderson, who plays Darcy, are expected to promote the film with Chadha on the Croisette.

With musicals enjoying a revival after Miramax's Chicago, Pride And Prejudice generated additional heat amongst buyers during Fox Searchlight's North American campaign on Bend It Like Beckham. In week eight, the hit football comedy was on more than $10.9m despite playing on only a modest number of screens.

Chadha's update of the classic novel sees Darcy as a rich and seemingly arrogant American living in London who goes to India for his friend's wedding. He meets Rai's spirited Lalita at the wedding and, as they fall in love, the story moves from India, to Los Angeles, to London.

Production is to begin in summer, with Pathe distributing the film in the UK and handling international sales. Chadha has enlisted leading Bollywood composer Anu Malik and top lyricists the Akhtar family for the spectacular musical sequences.