The pop singer Katy Perry shot to the top of the weekly Billboard 200 album chart with her latest album. Prism, Perry’s fourth studio album, which features the lead single Roar, sold 286,000 copies in its first week, according to figures from Nielsen SoundScan, making it the biggest sales week by a female artist this year. It came in ahead of Miley Cyrus’ Bangerz, which sold 270,000 copies in its first week last month. The success of Perry’s latest album has been aided by the popularity of Roar, which topped the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.
Pakistani folk singer Reshma is dead
The renowned Pakistani folk singer Reshma, who was suffering from throat cancer for a long time, died in Lahore on Sunday morning, hospital sources said. Reshma was in coma for a month, Geo TV quoted hospital sources as saying. Born in Bikaner in India’s Rajasthan state in 1947, her tribe migrated to Karachi shortly after the India-Pakistan partition. Dawn reported that she is survived by her son Umair and daughter Khadija. Reshma was one of the Pakistan’s most popular folk singers of Pakistan, appearing on television in the 1960s and recording songs for both the Pakistani as well as the Indian film industry.
Lack of black women becomes SNL issue
Kerry Washington’s turn as host of Saturday Night Live this week gives that television institution something it hasn’t seen much lately: a black woman onstage trying to make people laugh. The show’s diversity has become an issue, pushed to the forefront by comments from the two black male cast members. No black women are among the 16 repertory or featured players currently on the show. The founding producer Lorne Michaels, who is still the show’s top executive, said he’s on the lookout for black women as potential cast members. “It’s not like it’s not a priority for us,” he said on Thursday night. “It will happen. I’m sure it will happen.”
Big B in a cameo in Sanjay Dutt film
The Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan will appear in a film being made under Sanjay Dutt’s production house. Bachchan recently shot a sequence for the film despite complaining of physical “discomfort”, the Indian Express reported. The 71-year-old actor posted on Facebook saying: “[Doing a] shoot today for a film being made by Sanjay Dutt, gesture to be by his side in his time of trial. He is in jail but his wife and friends are running this production and despite the pain of injury to [my] body, [I am] jiving it up. Once the camera starts, it is difficult to stop.” According to reports, Bachchan will be playing himself in the film, which is reportedly titled Big B. The filmmaker Rohit Shetty, who has to his credit the blockbuster Chennai Express, has been signed to direct the film.
French director slams Taiwan paparazzi
The French film director Luc Besson has slammed paparazzi in Taiwan for interfering with the shooting of his latest film, but denies reports that he considered leaving the island early to underscore his disgust over their actions. Besson spent 11 days in Taipei filming Lucy with the American actress Scarlett Johansson. Besson said the paparazzi problem was so severe “that I sometimes lost my concentration”. He singled out two unnamed agencies from Hong Kong, saying he was infuriated by their attempts to photograph Johansson. He labelled as “wrong” press reports that he wanted to leave Taiwan early and thanked local authorities for their cooperation.
Paras Arora confident of his debut film Rajjo
The Bollywood newcomer Paras Arora, who stars opposite Kangana Ranaut in the forthcoming film Rajjo, says he is not worried about being overshadowed in a women-centric film, IBN Live reported. Paras is best-known for his critically acclaimed portrayal of the Indian historical figure Shivaji in the television series Veer Shivaji. The actor says he is not worried about the length of his role in the film. “I don’t think I will be overshadowed anywhere. I am sure after watching the film people will still recognise me as my character is very strong,” he added. “I did not have to audition for this role. Vishwas [director Vishwas Patil] had already seen Veer Shivaji and made up his mind.”
Prolific French spy author De Villiers dead at 83
The spy novelist Gerard De Villiers, the creator of the top-selling SAS series with a hero often described as France’s answer to James Bond, has died aged 83 in Paris. Friends and family said he had died on Thursday after being diagnosed with cancer earlier this year. Never a darling of the critics, De Villiers was nonetheless a publishing phenomenon, claiming his thrillers sold up to 150 million copies worldwide. The 200th book in the series – SAS: The Kremlin’s Revenge – was released last month.