‘Xtrme City’ is about Mumbai mafia, families, romance, says Paul Schrader, the scriptwriter of ‘The Last Temptation of Christ’

Hollywood screenplay writer-director Paul Schrader says “Xtrme City”, his first Indian collaboration dealing with the Mumbai mafia and slums, is also about romance, families and obligations.

“The script that I am dealing with is about two men who’ve worked together — an American policeman and an Indian ex-bhai. But it’s not a gangster film. It’s not a ‘Satya’, ‘Company’ or ‘Sarkar’ It’s a different kind of film,” Schrader told IANS in a telephonic interview from Mumbai.

“It has to deal with the world of crime but it also has to deal with families, romance and farce. Mostly it’s about farce and obligations,” he said on the sidelines of the Mumbai Film Festival (MFF).

MFF is an initiative by Reliance Big Entertainment and the Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI) and Schrader is an international jury for the ongoing fest.

“Xtrme City” found its genesis last year when he travelled to the Osian’s Cinefan Film Festival of Asian and Arab Cinema in the capital.

“I was here a year ago and went around with Anubhav Sinha (Bollywood director) and Mushtaq Sheikh (writer). Mushtaq and I have been working on the script since last year. We’ve finished the script and now we’re ready to take the next step. The film will have American and Indian stars, but it is all set here (in Mumbai).

“Hopefully, we’ll finance it here and for that we need to cast. So we’re looking at who might possibly be a good actor,” he said.

Asked about probable names like Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan as reported in the media, he said: “It’s a small list and they are in the newspaper every single day. I don’t know who’d be in the film. But the idea is to start here.”

The film will be co—produced by David Weisman of Oscar-winning “Kiss of the Spiderwoman” fame and Sinha. Schrader says that the film will be a team work.

“We’ll put together a team. I am not going to do this alone. I am not going to shoot the song and dance and probably not even the action. We’ll do this together,” he said.

Schrader scripted Martin Scorsese’s “Taxi Driver” and “The Last Temptation of Christ” and has directed films like “American Gigolo” and “Affliction”.

Asked if “Slumdog Millionaire” and “Xtrme City” were laying the foundation to a trend of crossover films between the two industries, he said: “First of all I don’t even know if ‘Xtrme City’ will even ever get made to be honest. A lot of wonderful films don’t get made. It’s a very unique test. It’s far too early to call it a trend.

” ‘Slumdog...’ certainly made a lot of people aware of how much interest there is in India, but I don’t know whether that’s a trend.”

The 63-year-old is keeping his fingers crossed for his thriller to materialise.

Apart from “Xtrme City”, Schrader is set to wield the megaphone for “an action film in Mexico in the spring” and has written the movie “The Dying of the Light” for Harrison Ford.