x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Madras Café pulled in UK and southern India

Plus: Dr Luke in talks to judge American Idol; Ben Stiller making Reality Bites show; Linda Ronstadt has Parkinson's.

John Abraham, right, and Nargis Fakhri in Madras Café. JA Entertainment
John Abraham, right, and Nargis Fakhri in Madras Café. JA Entertainment

A Bollywood spy thriller set against the backdrop of the Sri Lankan civil war has been pulled from British and some Indian cinemas after protests over its depiction of rebel fighters. Madras Café, which opened last week in the UAE, features John Abraham as an Indian secret agent sent to Sri Lanka during the country’s decades-long conflict between the government and separatist Tamil rebels. But the film has failed to reach a number of cinema halls after ethnic Tamil populations in India and Britain complained that they were unfairly portrayed. “Our UK exhibitors, Cineworld, decided to hold the film after protesters gathered outside their UK offices,” said Rudrarup Datta, the marketing head of the film’s Indian distributor Viacom18 Motion Pictures. Indian media reports said theatres also refused to show the film in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu after protests from its largely Tamil population. In Britain, an online petition was launched, calling for the film to be banned there because it was believed to portray Tamils “in a poor light”. – AFP

Dr Luke in talks to judge American Idol

The producer and songwriter Lukasz Gottwald, better known as Dr Luke, might be on the judges panel of the forthcoming 13th season of American Idol, reported Deadline and Us Weekly. Keith Urban was recently announced to return to the show’s judging panel, while Jennifer Lopez’s boyfriend, the actor and choreographer Casper Smart, confirmed her involvement in the reality singing competition. Dr Luke was the lead guitarist on Saturday Night Live for 10 seasons. He has written songs for Kelly Clarkson (Since U Been Gone), Britney Spears (Circus) and Katy Perry (Teenage Dream). – The National staff

Ben Stiller making Reality Bites show

Ben Stiller is turning Reality Bites, his 1994 directorial debut, into a comedy series for the American network NBC, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Helen Childress, who was behind the film’s screenplay, will write the script for the revival series. The new Reality Bites will focus on the story of Lelaina Pierce, a recent college graduate in 1990s Houston (played in the film by Winona Ryder). Casting details have not been announced yet. – The National staff

Singer Linda Ronstadt has Parkinson’s

Linda Ronstadt suffers from Parkinson’s disease, which has robbed her ability to sing. The 67-year-old singer told AARP magazine that she was diagnosed eight months ago and “can’t sing a note”. “I wouldn’t have suspected that in a billion years. No one can sing with Parkinson’s disease, no matter how hard you try,” she said. Ronstadt sold millions of records starting in the 1970s with pop hits such as You’re No Good and When Will I Be Loved. Her autobiography, which will be released next month, makes no mention of the disease or the loss of her voice. – AP

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