Depp's date with Bachchan

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Author: Soumyadipta Banerjee
Date: 9/28/2007

Soumyadipta Banerjee reports the Hollywood hottie will be a guest of the Big B during a secret recce in Mumbai

If 'true rumours' are to be believed, then Hollywood actor Johnny Depp will be in town in a few weeks for a hush-hush sojourn of Mumbai. But before him, Gregory 'Shantaram' Roberts is slated to touch down. "I'll be back in Mumbai on October 15 and will be there at Leopold's for a couple of hours," Greg told After Hours by email.

Gregory is the author of the acclaimed bestselling autobiography 'Shantaram' which has caught the imagination of filmmaker Mira Nair. The movie version will have Amitabh Bachchan playing 'Kader bhai', an underworld don. Johnny Depp will be cast as Shantaram, the hero of the movie, who comes to India after fleeing a jail in Australia. The film revolves around Shantaram and his 'true' adventures in Mumbai which also takes him to the underworld and get him arrested.Depps first visit is basically expected to be an acclimatisation tour — to get introduced to people and get a feel of the locations. The actual shooting, say sources, is likely to start only later. According to Greg, the official date for the muhurat of the film has been set for early next year. "The official date for the start of the movie version of 'Shantaram', starring Amitabh Bachchan and Johnny Depp has been set for January 19, 2008," he says.

According to sources, the itinerary of Depp will include visits to the café which Greg used to frequent and the slum where he used to stay. Depp is also expected to be a guest of Bachchan at his bungalow, Jalsa. Even though Mira Nair was not available for comment, it is believed that she too will be in town during the same period.

The cost of the movie has been pegged at $100 million, making it one of the costliest film ever done by Bachchan. Depp will be flown to Mumbai and Goa for the shoot, which also includes "some shots in the slums". Mira Nair has reportedly scouted and fixed some locations in Goa and Mumbai.