"We were looking out for a person who had the combination of a young vulnerable face with the rawness of an animal instinct. Earlier we had thought of Sanjay Dutt, but therewere date problems, so when Meera, actress of my film 'Nazar', suggested Shoaib, I jumped at the idea", Bhatt told PTI.
The film to be directed by Anurag Bose will be shot abroad, he said adding that they had assured Shoaib that they would start shooting soon once he gives his nod.
"But it is only after I meet the cricketer that the picture would be clear", Bhatt said.
"It was Meera who was instrumental in helping me get in touch with Shoaib and speak to him on phone", he said.
"Shoaib was initially amused by the idea but when he realised that the role was real and was offered to Sanjay Dutt, he took it up seriously and has agreed to meet me when Ifly down to Pakistan next week", he said.
"We will try and convince him about the need of using cricket and cinema to boost ties and bring a change in the relationship between both countries", he said.
The film maker said he was also scheduled to meet the Pakistani Prime Minister to discuss on using cinema as part of confidence building measures between two neighbouring nations.
"Pakistan channel 'Aaj' has arranged for a platform for the meeting in a programme titled Aaj Dosti", he said adding that he would be accompanied by his wife and director SoniRazdan.
"We hope to raise the issue of permitting Indian films to be screened abroad during the meeting", he said.