Paul Schrader looks to India

Writer-director teams with Bollywood on 'Xtrme'

A year after reports surfaced that Paul Schrader had abandoned Hollywood, the writer-director has been busy merging East and West.

Schrader’s latest film, “Xtrme City,” is a bilingual collaboration with Bollywood scribe Mushtaq Shiekh, creative director of media conglom Sahara One, with financing from former sports agent Dwight Manley.

Pic, budgeted at about $10 million, will start casting soon, with Shiekh seeking marquee thesps from India and the West.

Story centers around a former U.S. ranger who joins forces with an Indian commando to rescue the ranger’s sister-in-law, who’s been kidnapped by a crime lord in Mumbai’s underworld.

Schrader said he was approached with a proposal for a Hindi film when he attended last fall’s Osian Film Festival in New Delhi.

“I didn’t think it was very good, so I came up with a better film,” he said.

Schrader and Shiekh are working with producers David Weisman (“Kiss of the Spider Woman”) and Anubhav Sinha (“Dus”) on the pic, which is aiming for a late 2010 shoot in Mumbai, New York and the Persian Gulf. They hope for a 2011 release. As with many Bollywood films, “Xtrme City” will integrate thriller, drama and comedy elements, Schrader said. Like most Hindi cinema, the movie will be family-friendly, which means that while there may be violence, the sex will be downplayed, and there will be song-and-dance routines.

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