x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Amitabh Bachchan carries Olympic torch in London

Plus: Uday Chopra to focus on his US production house; Osian film festival begins with Khanna tribute; Prakash Jha's Chakravyuh to premiere at London film festival; 9 Eleven gets nods from Washington fest.

Rajesh Khanna. Pal Pillai / AFP
Rajesh Khanna. Pal Pillai / AFP

Bachchan carries Olympic torch in London

The Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan carried the Olympic torch on its final leg in London's Southwark on Thursday.

He carried the torch for 300 metres, then passed it on to the English comedian Eddie Izzard and former English rugby players Lawrence Dallaglio and Lewis Moody. "Faced many situations where enormity of crowd and its response was unbelievable. But today with Olympic torch it was indescribable," Bachchan posted on Twitter afterwards. "What can one say? Olympic torch, thousands of fans and cheering people lining the streets, and me given the pride of position. Indebted, honoured, humbled. It is not a flame you hold, it is the pride of 1.25 billion people of India."

Bachchan's forthcoming film appearance is his first Hollywood role, a cameo in Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan. * IANS

Uday Chopra to focus on US production house

The actor-producer Uday Chopra has announced he is putting his acting career on the back burner to focus on his home banner Yash Raj Films's Hollywood wing, YRF Entertainment, based in Los Angeles. "I feel that this production house is the next best thing I can do. I feel that I can't go beyond a certain point as an actor. I cannot become an Aamir Khan today, I know that. I can't become that big a star, no matter what I do," says Chopra, 39, last seen on the big screen in the 2010 romantic comedy Pyaar Impossible. "I want to try something new, maybe do what my father Yash Chopra has always done, concentrating on the production part. I'm taking a back seat in terms of acting. I might just do a film here or there, but mostly I will be behind the camera." YRF Entertainment has just completed shooting its first Hollywood project, the comedy The Longest Week, directed by Peter Glanz and starring Olivia Wilde, Jason Bateman and Billy Crudup. The studio's next project is the biopic Grace of Monaco, which will star Nicole Kidman. * IANS

Osian film fest begins with Khanna tribute

The 12th Osian's Cinefan Film Festival of Asian and Arab Cinema kicked off in New Delhi on Friday with a tribute to the late actor Rajesh Khanna. A short film chronicling the career of Bollywood's first superstar, who died on July 18, was played at the opening ceremony of the 10-day event. Returning after a two-year hiatus, the festival promises to present an eclectic mix of 175 films from 38 countries, including Iran, the Philippines, Turkey, Morocco and Algeria. "When we decided to revive the festival, we knew we had a daunting task ahead, but what we were clear about is that it would be a bigger, better and a more exciting event," said the festival's director Indu Shrikent. The opening ceremony also saw the Egypt-based film critic Samir Farid being conferred with the lifetime achievement award. This was followed by a screening of the Japanese animated film Asura, directed by Keiichi Sato. * IANS

Chakravyuh to premiere at London film fest

The director Prakash Jha's forthcoming film Chakravyuh has been invited to the London Film Festival for a world premiere in October. "It's a prestigious festival which will provide good exposure for the film," said Jha, whose movie Mrityudand opened the London event in 1997. "The festival is opening to Bollywood films. It's a great thing." The political thriller, starring Arjun Rampal, Abhay Deol, Manoj Bajpayee, Kabir Bedi and Esha Gupta, was earlier being planned for an October 5 release in Indian cinemas. * IANS

9 Eleven gets nods from Washington fest

The Bollywood-style thriller 9 Eleven, directed by the Indian-American director Manan Singh Katohora, has been nominated for eight awards at this year's World Music and Independent Film Festival, to be held in Washington from August 19 to 25. Katohora, who won the Rising Star Award for the film at the Canada International Film Festival last March, received nods for best screenplay, best director and best South-east Asian film, among others. The movie's stars Tejash Natali, Jyoti Singh and Sonny Chatrath also received nominations. * IANS