Nearly 25 years after his role as a fighter pilot in the 1986 blockbuster Top Gun sparked a lifestyle craze for Ray Ban sunglasses, air-force jackets and fast bikes worldwide - particularly in India - the Hollywood star Tom Cruise interacted with hundreds of his Indians fans and presented his latest film, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, ahead of its worldwide release on December 21.
Cruise, dressed in a blue shirt and jeans, stood on the red carpet as hundreds of fans screamed, "We want Tom!" He spent more than 90 minutes shaking hands, posing for pictures with his fans and signing autographs. Cruise's co-stars Paula Patton and Anil Kapoor accompanied the actor and were later joined by Kapoor's daughter Sonam on the red carpet.
"I wanted to come here my whole life," said Cruise. "I kept saying to Anil, a great actor and an incredible host, I promise you I will come to India. Yesterday, when we were at the Taj Mahal, I told him: 'You have to pinch me. I can't believe I am here'."
Cruise's visit comes at a time when Bollywood is looking to make crossover cinema that would appeal to the West. Yash Raj Films, one of India's biggest film studios, has opened an office in Los Angeles to produce Hollywood movies, and Bollywood's most respected actor Amitabh Bachchan is all set to make his Hollywood debut in Baz Luhrman's Great Gatsby based on F Scott Fitzgerald's classic, co-starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire. The highlight of the fourth sequel of the Mission Impossible franchise is a breathtaking stunt by Cruise atop the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building. The actor will attend the premiere of the film at the Dubai International Film Festival tomorrow night.
Madonna to perform at the Super Bowl
According to reports by Associated Press, the National Football League and NBC announced on Sunday night that the Grammy award-winning singer will highlight the February 5 show, which is the most-watched musical event of the year and professional US football's biggest night.
More than 162 million in the US tuned in earlier this year to see The Black Eyed Peas' performance with Slash and Usher. Madonna will collaborate with a team from Cirque du Soleil, the choreographer Jamie King and artists from Moment Factory.
Al Vega, jazz pianist, dies at 90
Al Vega, a longtime US musician who played with some of the country's finest jazz talents through a 70-year career, died on Friday at age 90 in Boston. No cause of death was given.
The Boston radio personality Ron Della Chiesa told the Associated Press that Vega, born Aram Vagramian, was the house pianist at the Hi-Hat jazz club in the late 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, and played with jazz greats including Charlie Parker, Miles Davis and Duke Ellington. He later led his own trio. Della Chiesa calls Vega a legendary musician and teacher. He says Vega was also a Second World War veteran.
Von Trier's 'Melancholia' wins best Europe film award
Denmark's Lars von Trier won the prize for best European film of 2011 for his movie Melancholia at a ceremony put on in Berlin by the European Film Academy on Saturday, according to AFP.
Melancholia follows two sisters, the bride Justine (Kirsten Dunst) due to get married in a romantic castle of Claire's (Charlotte Gainsbourg), but the union is doomed as the wayward planet Melancholia heads for Earth.
Dunst won the Best Actress award at Cannes for her role, although the Danish director was left out after making dubious remarks about Hitler.
Von Trier was not present in Berlin and a member of his team accepted the award on his behalf.
"I should say from Lars that he has no message for you, since he has decided not to make statements anymore and I really don't know why. But he asked me that I should salute to you in a very kind and friendly way," the crew member said.
Christmas concerts kick off
Blazing white beaches and a Santa hat-and-shorts combo might not stir the festive spirit, but a couple of nights of big strings and atmospheric singalongs might do the trick.
Active for 33 years, the Abu Dhabi Choral Group are at Al Muna Primary School in Al Markaziyah, Abu Dhabi, from 8pm on Thursday. Tickets are Dh50 and available from Spinneys Khalidiya.
Meanwhile, the UAE Philharmonic Orchestra hold their second annual Christmas Symphony Carol Concert, joined by singers from The British School Al Khubeirat, at 8pm on Saturday, December 10 at the Emirates Palace Auditorium (adults Dh150, children under 11, Dh75 at timeouttickets.com). Stollen cake and mince pies will be in abundance and audience singing is very much encouraged.