x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Today in Entertainment: Pakistan bans Bollywood James Bond

Plus: Gulf Film Festival comes to capital; Madonna Twitter chats with fans; Jimmy Kimmel to host Emmys; Justin Bieber matures in new single; and country stars stampede for Lionel Richie.

Saif Ali Khan, the star of Agent Vinod. The Indian film has been banned in Pakistan.
Saif Ali Khan, the star of Agent Vinod. The Indian film has been banned in Pakistan.

Pakistan banned the Indian film Agent Vinod a few days before its scheduled release, probably because of its critical portrayal of the country's generals and spies. They are shown providing support for the Taliban in Afghanistan and scheming to set off a nuclear suitcase bomb in arch-enemy India's capital.

"It was our judgement that it should not be allowed to be screened," Muhammad Ashraf Gondal, of Pakistan's Film Censor Board said. "It falls under the negative codes of our censor."

"Agent Vinod is for Indians, but it is not against Pakistanis," said the movie's lead actor and co-producer Saif Ali Khan in an interview with the Indo Asian News Service. "But I understand if they get upset because we are beating them up quite often in the film."


Gulf Film Festival comes to capital

The Gulf Film Festival might be kicking off in Dubai Festival City next month, but this year film-hungry Abu Dhabi residents won't have to worry about making that journey each day, because the movies will be doing it for them.

For the first time, a selection of documentaries, features and shorts from the festival will be coming to the capital simultaneously. Following a new partnership with Sultan bin Zayed's Culture and Media Centre, screenings will be held at the Corniche's Abu Dhabi Theatre from April 12 to 14.

The 2012 GFF has seen almost 1,200 submissions from more than 90 countries. Among those confirmed so far are a Kurdish war drama and a Bahraini comedy about a couple's mission to send a photograph of themselves to their son in London. There is also a wide array of Emirati films that will be debuting at the festival, which this year includes an initiative to enhance the skills of regional scriptwriters.

For more details, visit www.gulffilmfest.com.


Madonna Twitter chats with fans

Madonna joined Twitter for one day on Monday night to answer questions from her fans, kicking off the release of her 12th studio album MDNA.

The pop legend, using her Twitter handle @MadonnaMDNAday, was online for one hour. Some highlights: she says the hardest song to write for MDNA was I'm Addicted; she's a fan of Justin Bieber, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga; the one thing she can't control? "My attention to detail and my obsessively compulsive need to know everything that is going on around me"; she would never go vegan ("I love, I need, I want animal protein"); she would star in Kill Bill 3 if the director Quentin Tarantino would get her ("I'm good with a weapon and I know martial arts") and she will "absolutely" do an autobiography, but not soon. "I have so much to say, but not right now," she said.

Madonna has recently increased her social media presence, granting a Facebook Live interview with the late-night chat show host Jimmy Fallon on Saturday. She has nearly nine million subscribers on Facebook.


Jimmy Kimmel to host Emmys

The late-night chat show host Jimmy Kimmel will host the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards, which honour the best in television.

"I hope to be able to do for the Emmys this year what Eddie Murphy did for the Oscars," Kimmel joked, referring to the comedian who pulled out as the host of this year's Oscars ceremony. It will be Kimmel's first time hosting the Emmys, to be held on September 23.


Justin Bieber matures in new single

Justin Bieber released his new single Boyfriend on Monday, a track from his forthcoming album Believe, due for release later this year.

"If I was your boyfriend, I'd never let you go … Hey girl, let me talk to you," Bieber sings.

The song, which sees the singer fuse pop with R&B and rap, is being compared to Justin Timberlake's solo work. In an interview with USA Today, the 18-year-old said: "I'm maturing, and my music's maturing, so I wanted to do something different."


Country stars stampede for Lionel Richie

Lionel Richie has created a buzz in the country music scene for his new duets album, Tuskegee, after big country names reportedly fought for slots on the album.

Kenny Chesney was so excited about the idea of working with Richie that he dialled the pop legend in the middle of the night to suggest a song. Darius Rucker said he'd been preparing for the moment his entire life. And so many people were clamouring to get on the project that stars such as Keith Urban and Brad Paisley didn't even make the cut.

"It's kind of surreal," said Jason Aldean, who cut Say You, Say Me on the album. "To be in the studio with him, it's just crazy."