EXCLUSIVE: Paris-based production company Octobre19 has boarded Ashim Ahluwalia’s The Boyfriend as a co-producer.

Based on R Raj Rao’s novel of the same name, The Boyfriend follows two social outcasts who embark on a forbidden love affair. The project has been selected for this year’s NFDC Screenwriters’ Lab.

Ahluwalia previously collaborated with Octobre19 co-founders Sophie Guilguet, Charles-Henri Descamps and Michael Smith on 2004 documentaries Asian Vibes London and Asian Vibes Bombay. Ahluwalia co-produced Asian Vibes Bombay with Guilguet and Descamp’s previous outfit, Jigsaw Company, and also directed Asian Vibes London.

Octobre19 is raising 30% of the budget for The Boyfriend and looking for other partners in Europe. “Like Ashim, we are always interested in subjects that take a fresh look at a country and culture and that work against stereotypes,” said Guilguet.

Octobre19 is also developing a film based on the real-life experiences of a French TV reporter in Pakistan and the Middle East, which Ahluwalia may direct.