x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Akshay Kumar flies from Muscat to Mumbai for his birthday celebration

Plus: Vidya Balan to star in housewife comedy, Roma movie Just the Wind submitted to Oscars, Jha ropes in big stars for his new film and Madhurima talks new Bollywood film.

The actor Akshay Kumar celebrated his 45th birthday on Sunday with his wife, the actress Twinkle Khanna, and their 10-year-old son. Kumar has been shooting in Muscat for his latest film, Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai 2, the sequel to the 2010 crime drama directed by Milan Luthria.

Kumar flew home to Mumbai on Sunday for the occasion. "Thank you so much, everyone, for all your wonderful wishes. I'd love to thank you personally, but I've just returned from a long schedule in Muscat, so I am going to be a little selfish and spend the last few hours of my birthday with my family," Kumar posted on Twitter. The actor is gearing up for the release of his new movie, Oh My God!, which will be released in India on September 28. * IANS

Vidya Balan to star in housewife comedy

The actress Vidya Balan has announced that she will play the lead in the forthcoming comedy Ghanchakkar, a sequel to the 2006 film Pyaar Ke Side Effects. "I will play a Punjabi housewife in the movie and, hopefully, will put to rest the notion that housewives are boring," joked the 33-year-old actress. The comedy will reunite Balan with Emraan Hashmi, her co-star in last year's The Dirty Picture. "Our chemistry is even better here," said Balan. Ghanchakkar is directed by Rajkumar Gupta and will be released mid next year. Balan was last seen in the film Kahaani early this year. * IANS

Roma movie Just the Wind submitted to Oscars

Hungary's National Film Fund has selected Just the Wind, a film featuring a cast of amateur Roma actors, as the country's entry for next year's Academy Awards. The Hungarian-German-French co-production, which is directed by Bence Fliegauf, won a Silver Bear at this year's Berlin film festival. It depicts a day in the life of a Roma family whose community is threatened by a series of deadly attacks. * AP

Jha ropes in big stars for his new film

The filmmaker Prakash Jha says his next movie, titled Satyagrah, will focus on government corruption in India. He also announced that he has signed on a star-studded cast - Amitabh Bachchan, Ajay Devgn, Kareena Kapoor, Arjun Rampal and Manoj Bajpai. Talking about the project, the award-winning director said: "There is corruption of wealth and power all over the world. I'm extremely fortunate to be given the opportunity to make a film that will address this issue - and even more fortunate to have my dream cast of Amitabh Bachchan, Ajay, Kareena, Arjun and Manoj." Filming will begin in January, said Jha. * IANS

Madhurima talks new Bollywood film

The Southern actress Madhurima says she's excited for the release of her latest film, Kamaal Dhamaal Malamaal, which marks her second outing in Bollywood. "The Telugu and Hindi film industries are quite different and I consider myself privileged to have got a chance and exposure in both," said Madhurima, who made her debut in Bollywood in the 2009 thriller Toss. "We had a lot of fun with the script, which is amazing. I really hope the film will be a hit when it is released." Directed by Priyadarshan Nair, the film also stars the actors Nana Patekar and Paresh Rawal. Kamaal Dhamaal Malamaal will be released in India on September 28. * IANS

North Korean romcom entertains

It’s a classic tale of a small-town girl who follows her dreams to the big city. But, in this case, the girl is a North Korean coal miner, the big city is Pyongyang and her dream is to become a high-flying trapeze artist.

Comrade Kim Goes Flying, a collaboration between a North Korean director and two European filmmakers, premiered at this week’s Toronto film festival. It will head to Pyongyang later this month for its North Korean debut.

Shot on location with an all-Korean cast, the film avoids overtly political themes and isn’t what foreign audiences might expect to see from North Korea: a romantic comedy about a plucky girl who runs off to the circus, only to find her wings clipped by the show’s handsome but arrogant superstar. He is determined to make sure she doesn’t succeed – until he falls in love with her.

The film’s British co-director, Nicholas Bonner, called it an “unexpected fairy tale”.

Bonner collaborated with the Belgian producer Anja Daelemans and the North Korean director Kim Gwang-hun for the movie, the first European collaboration since the action film Ten Zan: Ultimate Mission, a North Korean-Italian production from the 1980s.

Citing the Korean phrase “over the mountains are mountains”, Bonner and Daelemans described the making of the movie as a “long process of ups and downs”.

For the lead roles, they tapped Han Jong Sim and Pak Chung-guk, acrobats with the Pyongyang Circus, and enrolled them in four months of intensive acting training. * AP