x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Amitabh Bachchan enters the stratosphere on Twitter

Plus: Sonali Bendre returns to Bollywood, tax on actors denounced by stars, Prachi Desai on what it takes to make it, and Kush Sinha to direct his siblings.

Amitabh Bachchan.
Amitabh Bachchan.

The Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan reached another milestone on Friday as he crossed the three million followers mark on Twitter. "3 MILLION FOLLOWERS!!! This is quite unbelievable! Thank you, my Twitter extended family," he posted. The 69-year-old actor, who has been in the industry for more than four decades, remains connected to his fans through the web via his Twitter account and a daily updated blog. * IANS

Sonali Bendre returns to Bollywood

The actress Sonali Bendre is set for a Bollywood comeback with the forthcoming film Once Upon a Time Again, to be directed by Milan Luthria and produced by Ekta Kapoor. Bendre, 37, who was last seen on the big screen in a cameo song-and-dance number in 2004's Aga Bai Arrecha!, says about her new project: "It's a great role. With this film, it feels like I'm coming home. Ekta is a creative genius and has an amazing story sense, so I trust her judgment on this. I've also worked with Milan before so it's a very comfortable space." The film, a sequel to 2010's crime romance Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai, will begin shooting later this year. Luthria, who directed last year's hit The Dirty Picture, said: "I'm thrilled to add Sonali to the cast. She is not only gorgeous, but also a terrific actress." * IANS

Malini and Shah upset about actors tax

The veteran actress Hema Malini has spoken up about the Indian government's recent decision to levy a 12 per cent tax on film and TV actors. "This move is going to encourage a parallel economy. Artists take cheques, there is no black money or cash. Now they will want to take cash. It will become a burden on the producers. As it is, the government is not helping the film industry - and now this becomes a problem," said Malini. The producer Vipul Shah said: "It's a terrible decision. They have the left the producers with nothing. Maybe they are under the myth that the film industry has a lot of money. The ticket rates don't have any service tax, so ultimately it is the producers who pay it from their pockets." * IANS

Prachi Desai on making it in the industry

The Bol Bachchan star Prachi Desai said she believes it isn't easy for stars to get their break in Bollywood. "I feel the industry can be unfair sometimes. When you're an outsider, people don't take you seriously. You need an extreme push for them to promote you and bring you to a certain level," said the 23-year-old actress, who co-stars in the romantic comedy alongside Ajay Devgn, Abhishek Bachchan and Asin Thottumkal. "Every actor has to be ambitious, otherwise you won't survive. I'm ambitious, but not overly so. I know the things that I can't do." Desai also revealed that she's signed on to star alongside John Abraham in the debutante director Kapil Sharma's I Me Aur Mein. "In five years I hope I can do at least 25 films," Desai added. * IANS

Kush Sinha to direct his siblings Sonakshi and Luv

The filmmaker Kush Sinha has roped in his sister, the actress Sonakshi Sinha, to play the lead in his forthcoming directorial debut. His twin brother Luv also has a prominent role in the still-untitled project. "It's common sense - I have two actors living with me in the house, why wouldn't I use them?" he said. "Most probably the film should begin production early next year. The script is currently being written." Sinha had earlier assisted the director Sanjay Leela Bhansali in the 2007 film Saawariya and Abhinav Kashyap in 2010's Dabangg, where Sonakshi made her Bollywood debut, co-starring with Salman Khan. Last month, she headlined the comedy Rowdy Rathore alongside Akshay Kumar. Meanwhile, Luv debuted in the 2010 drama Sadiyaan, but has not been seen in another project since. * IANS