Veteran Indian actor Om Puri has signed for a lead role in MikeNichols' Charlie Wilson's War opposite Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

Puri previously worked with Nichols in Wolf opposite Jack Nicholson and MichellePfeiffer in 1994.

Based on the book by George Crile, Charlie Wilson's War is a drama about a Texas Congressmanwhose covert support for rebels in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union havesome far-reaching effects.

Hanks' companyPlaytone is producing the film for Universal. Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing) wrote the screenplay.

Puri will playGeneral Zia-Ul-Haq in the film which will start shooting in Morocco later thismonth to double for Afghanistan and Pakistan. 'It's not a big role, but this isa meaningful film,' said Puri. 'It will be critical of American politics soit's an important film to be part of irrespective of the size of the role.'

Puri has featured in severalinternational productions such as City Of Joy, The Ghost And The Darkness,East Is East and The ParoleOfficer.