x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Lady Gaga named top-earning celebrity under 30

Plus: Kundan Shah not directing Kahaani 2; Spike Lee launches Kickstarter campaign for film; Vidya Balan reflects on acting; Madonna, Sting join 100 stars demanding Pussy Riot release.

Lady Gaga earned an estimated US$80 million (Dh294m) in the past year. Dave J Hogan / Getty Images
Lady Gaga earned an estimated US$80 million (Dh294m) in the past year. Dave J Hogan / Getty Images

Despite hip surgery that forced the cancellation of part of her tour, Lady Gaga still earned an estimated US$80 million (Dh294m) in the past year, propelling her to the top of Forbes' list of highest-earning celebrities under 30. Justin Bieber came in a distant second with an estimated income of $58m. Last year's top earner, Taylor Swift, settled for third. The DJ, songwriter and producer Calvin Harris, who played more than 150 shows from June 2012 to June 2013, was fourth on the list, while Rihanna rounded out the top five. - Reuters

Kundan Shah clarifies he's not directing Kahaani 2

The filmmaker Kundan Shah denied rumours he was attempting to outmuscle his fellow director Sujoy Ghosh to direct Kahaani 2. "That's Sujoy Ghosh's domain," said Shah. "I think he did a brilliant job in Kahaani. The way he recreated the bustle and tension of Kolkata was amazing." Shah blamed producers for the mix-up. "I went to producer Jayanti Gada with a woman-orientated subject. It was his idea to name it Kahaani 2 as he says the rights and title are with him," he said. "Why should I claim any creative right over the Kahaani franchise? It's Sujoy's baby." - IANS

Spike Lee launches Kickstarter campaign

The next Spike Lee film will be a Kickstarter production. Lee has launched an online campaign to help fund his next project. The filmmaker on Monday unveiled his bid to raise US$1.25 million (Dh4.4m) over the next month using the fundraising site. Lee offered few details on the film, saying it would be about "the addiction of blood". The 56-year-old director said he was inspired to crowd-source the film after hearing from a student of his that the Veronica Mars movie raised $5.7m on Kickstarter, and Zach Braff's forthcoming film pulled in $3.1m. Contribution levels range up to $10,000, which earns a trip with Lee to a New York Knicks basketball game in his courtside seats. Lee, the director of Do the Right Thing (1989) and Malcolm X (1992), is easily the most established filmmaker yet to use the service to raise money for a feature. His remake of the South Korean thriller Oldboy will be released in October. - AP

Vidya Balan on how she connects with characters

Busy shooting her new film Shaadi Ke Side Effects, the actress Vidya Balan reflected on why she's enjoying her profession. "I don't think acting is about proving oneself. It is about inhabiting another person's world, one you have not been in before. I think as an actor, living another person's life is exciting," Balan said in an interview. The 35-year-old star recently played a loud Punjabi woman with an unusual dressing sense in the movie Ghanchakkar and says she always finds a way to connect with her characters. "My character in Ghanchakkar is not someone who I could identify with initially, but the point of identification was that she was just happy with herself," Balan says. "I might not be happy with myself all the time, but I love people like that." - IANS

Madonna, Sting join stars calling for Pussy Riot release

More than 100 famous musicians including Madonna, Elton John and Sting called on Monday for Russia to release two members of the punk-rock band Pussy Riot, jailed for an anti-government protest performance. In an open letter coordinated by Amnesty International, the celebrities voiced their support for Maria Alyokhina, 25, and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 23, and decried their "shockingly unjust trial and imprisonment". The letter was signed by the likes of Joan Baez, Björk, the Clash, PJ Harvey, Patti Smith, Paul McCartney, Youssou N'Dour and Bruce Springsteen. It was published ahead of scheduled appeal hearings today and Friday for the two jailed band members. - AFP

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