Warner Bros has announced its long-anticipated move into local production in India by boarding action comedy Made In China, to be directed by Nikhil Advani and star action hero Akshay Kumar.

Indian production houses Ramesh Sippy Productions and Orion Pictures, founded by Advani and Mukesh Talreja, will produce the film with Warner Bros holding worldwide rights.

The film is scheduled to start shooting in January on location in China with the producers claiming it as the first Hindi-language movie to shoot in the country. Warner Bros didn't disclose the budget of the film, but said it would be distributed worldwide in late 2008 following the Beijing Olympics.

The story written by Shridhar Raghavan follows a Mumbai cook played by Kumar who is mistaken for a martial arts hero. Indian model turned actress Deepika Padukone also stars and Chinese actors are also expected to join the cast.

Advani's credits include Salaam-E-Ishq, released at the beginning of this year, while RSP's recent productions include Bluffmaster and Taxi No. 9211. Back in the 70s, Sippy directed India's all-time biggest blockbuster, Sholay, starring Amitabh Bachchan, which is currently being remade by Ram Gopal Varma.

'At the turn of the century there was a lot of promise in the air about globalisation in Indian cinema and now with this venture RSE and Orion are joining hands with Warner Bros in bringing that dream closer to reality,' said Sippy. 'What we hope to achieve at the minimum is a greater knowledge and understanding of the workings and systems of Hollywood and the Indian film industry. I am sure we both stand to gain a lot from each other.'

Warner Bros Entertainment India country manager Blaise Fernandes added: 'We are excited and proud to be working with such respected partners as Ramesh Sippy and Orion. We'll count on our partners' expertise and will do everything in our power to make a well-crafted, popular and successful Indian film.'

Warner Bros is involved in local-language production in several territories around the world, including China, where it is partnered with state-owned China Film Group Corp and the privately-owned Hengdian Group in Warner China Film HG Corp.

Sony has already entered Hindi-language production with Saawariya, directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali (Devdas), which is currently in the final stages of post-production. Meanwhile Walt Disney Animation recently reached an agreement with Bollywood giant Yashraj Films to co-produce one animated feature a year starting with Roadside Romeo to be released in summer 2008.

In addition, Viacom announced in May that it is joining forces with India's TV18 Group in a 50:50 joint venture spanning film, television and digital media content. The agreement is initially focusing on TV ventures, but also sees Viacom become a partner in the TV18-backed Indian Film Company, which plans to greenlight a slate of 22 films after listing on London's Alternative Investment Market (AIM).