x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Nidal Al Ashkar receives Lebanon culture award

Plus: Veena Malik confident about dual role, Ang Lee's Life of Pi to play in India first, Dalip Tahil on playing Nehru, and Ram Charan and Upasana Kamineni honeymoon in Florence.

Nidal Al Achkar right.
Nidal Al Achkar right.

The Arab actress and theatre director Nidal Al Ashkar received the Lifetime Achievement Award in this year's Murex d'Or, given in Lebanon to recognise artists in the Arab region. Al Achkar played a lead role in launching Lebanon's theatre movement of the 1960s and today remains at the forefront of the Arab world's cultural scene. She directed her first play in Beirut in 1967 before she founded the Beirut Theatre Workshop in the late 1960s, which soon became a cultural hive for writers, poets, painters, musicians and actors. "She is Lebanon's true expression of enlightenment and culture," said the Lebanese minister of culture Gabi Layyoun, who presented the award. Receiving the honour, Al Ashkar said: "Creativity is what brings us together tonight. It is what makes our lives more meaningful. Through creativity, you invite hope to eliminate misery."

Veena Malik confident about playing double role

The Pakistani actress Veena Malik is excited about playing dual characters in the forthcoming film Daal Mein Kuch Kaala Hai, which marks her Bollywood debut. "Playing a double role is a new thing for me. But I'm confident I'll be able to pull it off," she said. "Because in real life, there are actually two girls inside me - one is Zahida, my real name, and the other is Veena, my stage name." Malik, who became popular in India after her stint in the reality programme Bigg Boss in 2010, also announced she's signed on to the Telugu version of the 2011 Bollywood hit The Dirty Picture. * IANS

Ang Lee's Life of Pi out in India first

The filmmaker Ang Lee's big screen adaptation of Life of Pi, featuring the Indian actors Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Shravanthi Sainath and Tabu, co-starring alongside Tobey Maguire and Gerard Depardieu, will premiere in India on November 21 ahead of its worldwide release in December, announced its distributor 20th Century Fox. The film, based on the 2001 bestselling book by Yann Martel, tells the tale of a young boy named Pi, who is the only person to survive the sinking of a cargo ship. He finds himself on a lifeboat with a hyena, a zebra, an orang-utan and a Bengal tiger. The 17-year-old Sharma will make his acting debut in the role of Pi.* IANS

Dalip Tahil talks Bhaag Milkha Bhaag

After playing various character roles in Bollywood masala movies, Dalip Tahil will essay the most important role of his career: that of the Indian statesman Jawaharlal Nehru in the forthcoming film Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, a biopic of the life of the Indian athlete Milkha Singh, to be directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra. Tahil said of his role: "It's a big challenge for me. I am very excited that I am playing the role of India's first prime minister. It's a very significant character in Milkha's life. He motivated him and gave him a platform to lead India in various sports events." The 59-year-old actor said he prepared for the role by watching documentaries and reading books on Nehru. "It was important to play him right. People have a reference to the character so there is an obligation, a responsibility to reflect him right," he said.* IANS

Ram Charan and his wife honeymoon in Florence

Ram Charan Teja and Upasana Kamineni went on a three-day honeymoon at the designer Salvatore Ferragamo's estate in Florence, Italy, last week. The southern star tied the knot with his long-time girlfriend on June 14. Teja said they originally planed to honeymoon somewhere in India, due to his busy filming schedule for the forthcoming remake of the 1973 classic Zanjeer, but couldn't resist when the Ferragamo family offered them their place. "We were invited by Salvatore's family. It's a 200-acre farm with only five villas for guests," Teja said. "It was very quiet there. The only entertainment we had was horse riding, the vineyards and trekking in their awesomely huge ranch. Upasana and I were in a state of bliss."* IANS