Johnny Depp has head-hunted Vanity Fair film-maker Mira Nair to direct his new film. SHANTARAM will star Depp in the lead role, and will be co-produced by Depp's Infinitum Nihil and Brad Pitt's production company Plan B, who bought the rights to the GREGORY DAVID ROBERTS-penned book for $2 million (GBP1 million). Indian-born Nair, who directed Monsoon Wedding in 2001, admits she is a big fan of the book and is looking forward to the challenge of working behind the camera with Depp. She says, "I just got the offer a few days back but I will start with it soon. It is a book that completely gripped me as it did millions of others. "Johnny Depp is such an extraordinary human being and an extraordinary actor. He embodies so much what Shantaram is and so when he asked me to direct him it was obviously a great honour and challenge for me." Shantaram will be based on the life story of GREGORY DAVID ROBERTS, who escaped from an Australian prison and fled to Mumbai, India, where he became involved with the city's powerful mafia dons.