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Amitabh Bachchan might take on the role of a crime lord in Welcome Back. AP
Amitabh Bachchan might take on the role of a crime lord in Welcome Back. AP

Amitabh Bachchan and Rekha might star in Welcome Back

Plus: Connick Jr to judge American Idol; Om Puri arrested and released on bail; Hugh Jackson to star in Houdini musical; Lindsay Lohan skips Venice to focus on health.

The veteran Bollywood actors Amitabh Bachchan and Rekha are in talks to star in the comedy Welcome Back, the sequel to Anees Bazmee’s 2007 hit Welcome. Bachchan has been approached to play the role of a crime lord, which was essayed by the late actor Feroz Khan in the first part. Rekha has apparently been offered the part of a wealthy socialite. “Nothing is decided or confirmed,” Bazmee told reporters. “It depends on whether they like it, dates and money issues.” Bachchan and Rekha, Bollywood’s top on-screen couple of the 1970s and early 1980s, starred in several blockbusters including Do Anjaane (1976), Mr Natwarlal (1979) and Silsila (1981). – IANS

Harry Connick Jr to judge next season of American Idol

Harry Connick Jr has been signed on to judge the next season of American Idol, according to The Hollywood Reporter. He joins Keith Urban and Jennifer Lopez on the reality singing show’s forthcoming 13th season. The songwriter and producer Dr Luke was reported to have been the top choice for the third slot in the panel but he dropped out last week. Will.i.am and Scooter Braun, Justin Bieber’s manager, were also approached by producers but both passed on the opportunity.

– The National staff

Om Puri arrested and released on bail

The Indian actor Om Puri was on Saturday arrested for allegedly assaulting his wife but was later released on bail, police said. His wife Nandita Puri had lodged a complaint with Mumbai police a week ago, accusing the 62-year-old of assaulting her with a wooden stick at their residence on August 22. Puri is one of India’s best-known art-house actors and the recipient of the Padmashri, the country’s fourth-highest civilian award. In 2004, he received an OBE for his work in the British film industry. – The National staff

Hugh Jackman eyed to lead Houdini musical

The Broadway composer Stephen Schwartz says he is hard at work on a musical titled Houdini that has Hugh Jackman playing the legendary illusionist. “I’m specifically writing for Hugh in terms of what I think will sound good in his voice and what sorts of things will really help him to do the things that he does,” said Schwartz, known for the musicals Wicked, Godspell and Pippin. A reading of the full show is scheduled for December, with a Broadway premiere next year. – AP

Lohan skips Venice film festival to focus on health

Lindsay Lohan says she skipped the Venice Film Festival to “focus on my health and well-being”. Lohan said on her website on Saturday that she never confirmed she would be in Venice to promote Paul Schrader’s The Canyons. “My focus is on my health and well-being. Plain and simple, it is of the utmost importance.” Schrader declared himself “a free man” after she failed to show at the film’s premiere on Friday, saying: “For the last 16 months, I’ve been hostage by my own choosing to a very talented but unpredictable actress.” He also said Lohan had confirmed she would be there. – AP

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