Another slum saga!

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By Subhash K. Jha Bollywood Hungama News Network

Post the success of Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire, Mumbai better brace itself for another slum saga from Hollywood.

Paul Schrader is on the verge of finalizing his script for Extreme City which will be shot in and around the slums of Dharavi.

Back from a hush-hush meeting with the director, producer Anubhav Sinha says, "I can't deny there's tremendous interest in another Mumbai slum saga after Slumdog Millionaire. But our project was firmed in much before Danny's film released."

After Danny Boyle's dark and passionate look at Mumbai in Slumdog Millionaire, it's American super-director Paul Schrader's turn to do a hardcore Mumbai film, this one for an Indian producer Anubhav Sinha.

In what's arguably the biggest collaboration ever between Bollywood and Hollywood, American writer-director Paul Schrader sneaked into Mumbai in July and met up with producer-director Anubhav Sinha for a Mumbai-based underworld drama called Extreme City.

Mumbai already much under global scrutiny after Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire is expected to get a further touristic boost with Schrader's Mumbai film with Sinha.

Schrader's scriptural collaborations with Martin Scorcese like Taxi Driver and Raging Bull and his hugely influential directorial ventures like American Gigolo, Cat People, Mishima and Hardcore have made an impact on generations of films and filmmakers.

Schrader's latest directorial venture Adam Resurrected featuring Jeff Goldbum and Wilem Defore is a worldwide critical and commercial success.

Says Anubhav, "To have Schrader agree to make a film for me is a dream come true. Paul came down to India first in July. When I suggested he make a film for me he was surprised. Paul Schrader making a film for an Indian producer does sound strange, doesn't it? He didn't give an immediate answer. But at the Toronto Film Festival in October 2008 he finally agreed. He's writing and directing a drama-thriller tentatively titled Extreme City for me. We've otherwise been interacting for two years."

Extreme City will be shot largely in Mumbai. "Paul has started work on the script. It'll be an English-language film. But the Indian characters will speak their natural language. The Mumbai underworld is familiar to Hindi film- goers but not to a global audience."

Anubhav agrees interest in Mumbai has never been higher. "It started when Mira Nair announced Shantaram. Now Slumdog Millionaire has patented Mumbai across the world. Extreme City will talk about the mafia in detail. We've seen the Sicilian and Brazilian mafia in Hollywood. But not the Mumbai underworld."

Paul Schrader in fact visited Dharavi with Anubhav's assistant during his last visit. "The film will have swarm of characters. It will star one leading Hollywood and one Bollywood male star," informs Anubhav.

Anubhav is kicked beyond redemption. "I started my collaboration with Paul Schrader as a fan. In fact the paper on which he wrote the plot outline, I asked him to sign so I could keep as memento. We're now collaborators."