Shah Rukh Khan Image Credit: AFP

Shah Rukh Khan will start working on astronaut Rakesh Sharma’s biopic early next year, producer Ronnie Screwvala said. With script written by Anjum Rajabali, the film will be directed by Mahesh Mathai and produced by Siddharth Roy Kapur and Screwvala under their banners Roy Kapur Films and RSVP Films respectively.

There were reports that Bhumi Pednekar has been signed opposite Shah Rukh in the film, reportedly titled Saare Jahaan Se Achcha but Ronnie said an official announcement will be made soon.

“We are doing that film with Shah Rukh Khan. We should begin it by February or March next year, but we haven’t announced the female lead yet,” Ronnie said.

The producer, who has also backed Sushant Singh Rajput-Sara Ali Khan starrer Kedarnath, said going forward he wants to be more involved in every project he is a part of.

“This time around there is no compulsion. I can do three movies a year, or six. Telling the stories I want to tell is most important. That’s what I’m going to focus on, get deeply involved with everything, from cast and script. That’s the plan,” he said.

Ronnie was speaking on the sidelines of the 20th edition of Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival, where his Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota had its India premiere.

The producer said when he was approached by Mard.. director Vasan Bala, he understood the filmmaker’s vision.

“If you look at the script and read it, at that stage you might get question marks - what, why and how is this happening. For me to work with Vasan in the long term was very important. I understood the vision and decided to back it.

“With this kind of movie you think what more we can do to make it more mainstream. So the music came on to some different level and the cast was already perfect,” he added.

The film chronicles the story of a young man born without pain receptors who longs to defeat 100 opponents in a kumite tournament.

The action-comedy recently bagged People’s Choice Award in the Midnight Madness section at Toronto International Film Festival and received an overwhelming response at its India premiere.

But for Ronnie, who plans to release the film theatrically early next year, the real test would be audience reaction.

“The real response and test is when we go out commercially. The response at TIFF and the award was lovely. Even here, nobody wanted to get up from their seats. We had such a lovely response,” he said.