Initial Entertainment Group and Infinitum Nihil have signed Mira Nair to direct the upcoming India-set epic Shantaram.

The announcement follows a prolonged period of negotiations to find a suitable film-maker that at one point included Peter Weir before the Australian director left the project.

Johnny Depp will star in the adaptation of Gregory David Roberts's stirring saga about a former drug addict who becomes a gun-runner in order to buy medicine for destitute children in Bombay.

Warner Bros will release the film, which is being produced by Initial chief Graham King and Depp along with Plan B. Eric Roth is adapting the screenplay, Kevin McCormick is overseeing the project on behalf of the studio and Christi Dembrowski will oversee for Infinitum Nihil.

'We are really enthusiastic about having Mira onboard this incredible project,' King said. 'With her lush visual style, she lends an authentic and vital eye to this story which has been beautifully adapted for the big screen by Eric Roth, a master storyteller. We are also thrilled to be pairing up Mira with the uniquely talented Johnny Depp.'

Nair 's directing credits include Salaam Bombay!, Mississippi Masala, Vanity Fair and The Namesake.

Since establishing their production deal with Warner Bros, Initial and Infinitum Nihil have boarded A Long Way Down, based on Nick Hornby's novel with DV DeVincentis on board to write the screenplay; Bomb In My Garden written by Saddam Hussein's top nuclear weapons scientist, Dr Mahdi Obeidi, and American journalist Kurt Pitzer who helped Obeidi escape Iraq in 2003, with Bob Edwards adapting; and Happy Days, which Terry Zwigoff will direct based on the adaptation of Laurent Graff's novel that Zwigoff is co-writing with Jerry Stahl.

Depp and Roberts are represented by UTA and Nair is handled by CAA.