Also: Blues icon Etta James dies at 73, Bollywood’s R Madhavan mobbed in Saudi and Iran cautious over film, A Separation.
Today's entertainment news: Amitabh asked to record father’s work
Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan announced on his website that an unnamed music company has approached him to record the works of his father, the noted Hindi poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan.
“They wish for me to record for them my father’s works all over again. They have the rights to one that we did, my father and me, many years ago – ‘Bachchan recited Bachchan’,” the 69-year-old posted on bigb.bigadda.com.
Big B added: “Now they wish me to sing some of his verse in my voice! They present me with some gifts. And I am amazed ... It is the old style record vinyl LP player, along with some LPs of my films. They tell me that this is what is being made popular by the generation next.”
After his father’s death in 2003, Bachchan has been making an effort to popularise his works internationally, conducting poetry readings in New York and Paris.
Blues icon Etta James dies at 73
The legendary rhythm-and-blues singer Etta James died on Friday at the age of 73 from complications of leukaemia. The three time Grammy winner, best known for her 1961 ballad At Last, died in a hospital in her hometown of Riverside, California. She would have turned 74 on Wednesday.
Diagnosed with leukaemia two years ago, she also suffered from diabetes, kidney problems and dementia. Her death prompted tributes from numerous musicians, including Aretha Franklin, Mariah Carey and Beyoncé. “When Etta SUNG, you heard it!” Franklin said in a statement, calling James “an American original”. “Rest in peace to one of the world’s most influential singers. You will be missed,” Carey posted on Twitter.
Beyoncé posted on her website that she was fortunate to have met “such a queen”. “Singing her music inspired me to be a stronger artist. When she effortlessly opened her mouth, you could hear her pain and triumph,” said Beyoncé, who was slammed by James in 2009 for singing At Last at the inaugural ball for the US President Barack Obama. Throughout her career, James diversified into mainstream blues, soul and R&B. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.
AR Rahman defends ‘Hosanna’ song
Renowned Indian composer AR Rahman says he has no malicious intentions using the word “Hosanna” in a song in the forthcoming Bollywood film Ekk Deewana Tha, following objections from the Mumbai-based Christian Secular Forum, who claimed the word is a sacred term used in Christian prayers.
“I had spent several months researching before composing and writing all my songs and had consulted friends who are Christian in particular about the use of the word ‘Hosanna’,” Rahman said in a statement. “I am deeply concerned about the sentiments of all those who appear to be hurt by this song.” The romantic drama Ekk Deewana Tha, starring Prateik Babbar and Amy Jackson, opens worldwide on February 17.
Bollywood’s R Madhavan mobbed in Saudi
Bollywood actor R Madhavan was welcomed by thousands of fans when he attended the opening of the Joyalukkas jewellery showroom in Riyadh. “I am extremely happy to visit a great country like Saudi Arabia for the first time, but I wish I had a little more time to spend in this country to see other places,” he said in a press conference that followed the ribbon cutting. “But unfortunately I have to fly back tonight for the shooting of my Hindi film Jodi Breakers.”
Madhavan apologised to his fans that he can’t approach each of them personally because of the sheer size of the crowds. Later he posted on Twitter: “My most profound apologies to all you lovely people in Riyadh ... I had to leave hurriedly because people were getting injured. The police did not allow me to address you all as the crowd was getting out of hand.”
Iran cautious over A Separation
While the Golden Globes awarded A Separation its best foreign film gong, the Iranian government showed less enthusiasm for the movie.
The Tehran government issued a note of caution on Tuesday, saying gritty reality films like Asghar Farhadi’s movie showed a skewed version of the Islamic Republic. “Sometimes we see those who run these festivals grant precious awards to films whose main theme is centred on the poverty and hardships of a country’s people,” the foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said. “This should not lead our artists to ignore the glaring positive points and features of our nation.” A Separation, which also won the Berlin Film Festival’s Golden Bear, is tipped for an Oscar.