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Hollywood: Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt's new movie ‘Jungle Cruise’ brings back old-school adventure

HollyWood|: Inspired by the classic Disney theme park attraction, ‘Jungle Cruise’ is the studio’s latest summer blockbuster offering arriving just in time to celebrate the whimsical ride’s 66th birthday. “People love the Jungle Cruise attraction because of its rich history and its tradition,” says lead star Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson in a virtual press conference held over the week. “There’s a unique quality to Jungle Cruise that still feels as if it were fifty or sixty years ago. But that’s the charm of it. When you go around the world to some of these other parks, you see their iterations of Jungle Cruise that are just spectacular. I feel there’s a wish fulfilment factor for the audience that happens with the Jungle Cruise ride. That wish fulfilment, I believe, is the idea that you are being transported, and you are going on truly the adventure and ride of a lifetime.” Written by Michael Green, Glenn Ficarra, and John Requa, ‘Jungle Cruise’ is directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, who is also currently working with Johnson on Warner Bros’ ‘Black Adam’. Image Credit: Disney Written by Michael Green, Glenn Ficarra, and John Requa, ‘Jungle Cruise’ is directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, who is also currently working with Johnson on Warner Bros’ ‘Black Adam’, a live-action origin story for the eponymous DC anti-hero. For Collet-Serra, the ride and its various iterations over the years was a firm starting point for the tone of the film. “The Jungle Cruise ride is beloved by many people, not only because it’s been there for a long time but because it’s one of the only rides that the whole family can enjoy together,” says Collet-Serra. “You can bring a baby and you can bring your grandma so, in a way, we wanted to make a film that reflected that. A fi lm that the whole family could enjoy together. So, that was the starting point for us.” Jack Whitehall as Macgregor, Emily Blunt as Lily and Dwayne Johnson as Frank. Image Credit: Disney “The comedy of the ride has evolved through the years,” he continued. “So, we took that as a tonal guideline, and then from then on we built on a mythology and created characters and situations that would put the audience in the ride and expand on the experience of what they go through at Disneyland. But now they can experience that in the theatre.” Johnson, who also serves as producer on the film, says the dual responsibilities brought him closer to the project. “It was an opportunity to make a film that, if you do it right, has real lasting power and transcends throughout time. But I also felt like there was something cool and very important about paying homage to Walt Disney and this vision that he had. In 1955 when the first park opened, the Jungle Cruise ride was one of his babies. Not too many people know this, but Walt Disney himself was the very first skipper on the very first Jungle Cruise ride. He invested so much time and love and care and passion into this ride. And here we are, many decades later, with this opportunity to create something special.” The premise (L-R): Dwayne Johnson as Frank Wolff, Emily Blunt as Lily Houghton and Jack Whitehall as MacGregor Houghton in Disney’s JUNGLE CRUISE. Photo courtesy of Disney. © 2021 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Image Credit: Disney Set against the period backdrop of the First World War, ‘Jungle Cruise’ follows Dr. Lily Houghton (Blunt), an intrepid British physician looking to find a mythical tree deep within the Amazon that is said to possess miraculous healing properties. Along with her brother, MacGregor (Whitehall), Lily charters a ride on the La Quila, a ramshackle, yet charming, tramp steamer captained by the wisecracking Frank Wolff (Johnson). On their once-in-a-lifetime adventure, Lily, Frank, and MacGregor encounter dangerous wildlife and supernatural entities, as well as German royal (Jesse Plemons) who is also on the hunt for the magical tree. Edgar Ramirez and Paul Giamatti also star. The lead stars Dwayne Johnson is Frank Wolff and Emily Blunt is Lily Houghton in Disney’s JUNGLE CRUISE. Photo by Frank Masi. © 2021 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Image Credit: Disney Describing his character, Frank Wolff, Johnson says, “Frank is a skipper on the Amazon, and he takes a lot of pride in what he does. There are elements in the movie as the movie progresses where you start to rrealisethings about Frank that one would never have guessed. The man is an old soul who has a very unique perspective on life itself. Frank meets Lily [played by Blunt], who is ambitious and brave and funny and charming and beautiful, and all these things eventually remind him how great life can be.” About the tenacious Lily, Blunt says, “I was just so struck by Lily’s determination and tenacity, and the fact that she was so ahead of her time, considering that the film is set in 1917. There was so much inequality between men and women and what was expected of her at the time. But she doesn’t subscribe to what was appropriate for her sex. And I found her really funny. She’s very reckless and heedless and adventurous. I admired her spirit.” Collet-Serra is all praise for Blunt as well. “Lily wouldn’t exist without Emily,” he enthuses. “I think that it’s very hard to write a character like her in the script because you’re always trying to give those types of characters a lot of motivations and things that we’ve seen in other movies. But then when Emily steps in, she’s able to make Lily real and not need any of that stuff that normally you think you need in a script to motivate a character.” Throwback vibes Dwayne Johnson is Frank and Jack Whitehall is Macgregor in Disney’s JUNGLE CRUISE. Image Credit: Disney The script, a genre-twisting mash-up of classic adventure, suspense and action, takes ample inspiration from classic films like ‘’The African Queen’ (1951 hit starting Humphrey Boggart and Katharine Hepburn), ‘Romancing the Stone’ (1984’s action-adventure romantic comedy starring Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner) or the ‘Indiana Jones’ saga (starring Harrison Ford, with a fifth iinstalmentincoming in 2022). “I was so taken with the script because I grew up watching ‘Romancing the Stone’ and ‘Indiana Jones,’” says actress Blunt, who felt an immediate draw to the story. “Those were the films that I watched on a loop when I was a kid. I loved them and was transported by them, and I wanted to be in them. When I read this script, it just pierced my heart directly because it was so nostalgic and felt like a real event. I was so taken by the spirit of the whole thing.” Did you know? Behind the scenes of 'Jungle Cruise'. Image Credit: Disney Jungle Cruise is one of several upcoming projects based on Disney Parks attractions. Movies based on ‘The Haunted Mansion’ (to be directed by ‘Bad Hair’s’ Justin Simien), ‘Tower of Terror’ (to be executive produced by ‘Black Widow’s’ Scarlett Johansson), and Space Mountain (from ‘Obi-Wan’ and ‘Army of the Dead’ writer Joby Harold) are all in development at the studio. Don’t miss it! ‘Jungle Cruise’ hits UAE cinemas on July 29. Dwayne Johnson and director Jaume Collet-Serra on the set of Disney’s JUNGLE CRUISE. Photo by Frank Masi. © 2021 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Image Credit: Frank Masi (L-R): Emily Blunt, Dwayne Johnson and director Jaume Collet-Serra on the set of Disney’s JUNGLE CRUISE. Photo by Frank Masi. © 2021 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Image Credit: Frank Masi Emily Blunt as Lily Houghton in Disney’s JUNGLE CRUISE. Photo courtesy of Disney. © 2021 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Image Credit: Disney Dwayne Johnson and director Jaume Collet-Serra on the set of Disney’s JUNGLE CRUISE. Photo by Frank Masi. © 2021 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Image Credit: Frank Masi Dwayne Johnson is Frank Wolff in Disney’s JUNGLE CRUISE. Photo by Frank Masi. © 2021 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Image Credit: Frank Masi Scene from Disney’s JUNGLE CRUISE. Photo courtesy of Disney. © 2021 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Image Credit: Disney Dwayne Johnson is Frank Wolff in Disney’s JUNGLE CRUISE. Photo by Frank Masi. © 2021 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Image Credit: Frank Masi Director Jaume Collet-Serra and Dwayne Johnson on the set of Disney’s JUNGLE CRUISE. Photo by Frank Masi. © 2021 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Image Credit: Frank Masi Jack Whitehall is Macgregor and Emily Blunt is Lily in Disney’s JUNGLE CRUISE. Photo by Frank Masi. © 2021 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Image Credit: Frank Masi Dwayne Johnson is Frank and Emily Blunt is Lily in Disney's JUNGLE CRUISE. Dwayne Johnson as Frank Wolff and Emily Blunt as Lily Houghton in Disney’s JUNGLE CRUISE. Photo courtesy of Disney. © 2021 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Image Credit: Disney

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Raj Kundra pornography case: New complaint by actress names company run by Shilpa Shetty’s husband and TV star Gehana Vasisth

BollyWood|: A new First Instance Report or FIR has been filed in connection to the pornography scandal shaking up Bollywood, with Shilpa Shetty Kundra’s husband Raj Kundra at the centre of the storm. The Mumbai Crime Branch lodged a fresh complaint against producers of Kundra’s company, as well as actress Gehana Vasisth, who were late booked. According to media reports, the case was registered by the crime branch’s property cell after an actress approached the police and alleged she was forced to shoot for a pornographic film for the HotShots app. Gehana Vasisth. Image Credit: Supplied The FIR was registered under Indian Penal Code (IPC) section 420 (cheating), 392 (punishment for robbery), 393 (attempt to commit robbery), and provisions of the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act and the Information Technology Act, the official stated. Kundra, 45, was arrested on July 19 by Mumbai Crime Branch for a case related to the alleged filming and distribution of pornographic films through mobile apps. The 45-year-old has been sentenced to remain in judicial custody until August 10, with his lawyer moving the High Court to get Kundra out on bail. According to the police statement at a magistrate’s court, Kundra earned close to Rs11.7 million between August and December last year, at a time when India was grappling with a coronavirus lockdown and entertainment arenas and theatres were shut across the country. Kundra and his wife Shetty Kundra have claimed he is innocent, adding that the films are not pornography but erotica and don’t engage in explicit sexual acts. Vasisth, who has also been named in the new FIR, has also repeated the same argument. Read more Raj Kundra arrest: Actress Sofia Hayat says Bollywood hopefuls are tricked into porn industry Raj Kundra arrest: Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty’s husband sent to judicial custody for 14 days Raj Kundra arrest: A look at Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty’s husband, the pornography racket and whether this is his first brush with the law Vasisth, who was arrested in February this year and later granted bail, and two others were recently summoned by the crime branch’s property cell. The Mumbai Crime Branch had started investigation into the case in February 2021 following complaints that small-time artistes who were eager on breaking into Bollywood were being lured by promises for a break in a web series. It was alleged that Vasisth, who starred in the Ekta Kapoor-backed ‘Gandii Baat’ was a part of this operation and had even shot some videos. A total of 11 people have been arrested in the scandal so far, which includes producer Roma Khan, her husband, actress Vasisth, director Tanveer Hashmi and Umesh Kamath (who used to look after India operations of Kundra’s firm), according to The Hindu.

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Hit reality TV show ‘Say Yes To The Dress’ coming to Middle East, casting open for UAE brides

TV|: UAE’s brides-to-be will get a chance at reality TV fame as ‘Say Yes To The Dress’ comes to the region for the first time. discovery+ has signed a two-year deal with streaming service StarzPlay to create a Middle Eastern version of the hit series, with casting now open for Arab and international brides-to-be who are currently based in UAE. One of TLC’s most well-loved and recognisable global franchises, ‘Say Yes To the Dress’ first kicked off in 2007 and follows brides who are in the middle of wedding planning and need to pick their perfect gown. The show gained fame in part due to its hosts — designer Randy Fenoli leads the US version, ‘Say Yes To The Dress: Lancashire’ is hosted by fashion icon Gok Wan, while ‘Say Yes To The Dress: UK’ is hosted by David Emanuel, best known for designing Princess Diana’s wedding gown. The series has had many spin-offs as well as regional and international versions. “Brides across the Middle East are renowned for bringing an added flair to their wedding gowns,” said Francesco Perta, Senior Business Development and Distribution Director, Middle East, Africa, Turkey and North East Europe at Discovery. “As one of TLC’s most popular franchises, we know that ‘Say Yes to the Dress Arabia’ is going to be a hit, taking things one step further as it highlights the unique pizzazz that our regional brides will bring to the show.” Danny Bates, Co-founder and Chief Commercial Officer of STARZPLAY, added: “We are excited to bring this long-standing popular series for our MENA viewers... Through this latest deal with discovery+, our subscribers can enjoy the world of reality shows and we are confident that the Arabian edition will win the hearts of audiences as well as prospective brides and their families.” UAE-based brides who are due to be married and are yet to find their dream dress can register their interest for featuring on the show by sending their name, address and phone number to syttdcasting@differentproductions.tv. ‘Say Yes to the Dress Arabia’ is set to air in Q1 2022 on StarzPlay.

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Actor-model Milind Soman’s wife slams racism against people from North East India in light of Mirabai Chanu’s win at Olympics

BollyWood|: Even as all of India celebrates Mirabai Chanu’s silver win at the Tokyo Olympics, actor-model Milind Soman’s wife Ankita Konwar has used the attention on the weightlifter to highlight the racism people of North East Indian are subjected to; Chanu hails from the Indian state of Manipur. In an Instagram post, Konwar wrote about the bias they are often subjected to. “If you’re from Northeast India, you can become an Indian ONLY when you win a medal for the country. Otherwise we are known as “chinky” “Chinese” “Nepali” or a new addition “corona”. India is not just infested with casteism but racism too. Speaking from my experience,” posted Konwar in a scathing comment, captioning her post with: “Every. Single. Time! .#hypocrites.” The comments to her post brought out similar stories from people who spoke about their own experiences of racial abuse. “Totally agree, thanks for sharing this much needed post as your voice can be easily heard. I too am labelled and is still called names or past comments being from northeast,” wrote one user on Instagram. “It’s really sad and depressing, that despite of having such a diverse culture, we lack basic humanitarian things!” wrote another. “Absolutely Ma’am even I am an Assamese know this things very well,” wrote a third. Konwar followed up the post with a video. “Your disagreement to my lived experience is not going to change the truth. If it makes you uncomfortable look the other way like you always have been,” she posted with Big Deal’s ‘Are You Indian’ playing on loop. In 2018, Soman, then 52, took everyone by surprise when he announced he was married to Konwar, who was 26. The couple faced much negativity about their relationship and the age gap, prompting Konwar to address it on social media. When Instagram user asked Konwar: “How did you tackle/ manage this Indian stereotype of “I don’t marry an older man?” Konwar shared the post on her Instagram story, answering, “Anything that’s not common in a society, people usually like to talk about it. It’s not just limited to India. We as a species have the tendency to get weird about the unknown, the unexpected, AKA fear. A survival skill. Sometimes, we are not conscious enough to distinguish between the utility and waste of that skill. I have always done what makes me happy.”

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Paris Hilton denies rumours that she’s pregnant with fiance Carter Reum’s child

HollyWood|: Reality TV star Paris Hilton has refuted rumours that she’s pregnant, saying the only thing cooking was lasagna. Earlier, gossip sites quoted a source as saying that the hotel heiress was expecting her first child with fiance Carter Reum. “Woke up to thousands of texts about all the pregnancy news this morning. I want you to hear it all directly from me,” Hilton tweeted on July 27, along with a link to her ‘This is Paris’ podcast. Reum, an entrepreneur, popped the question in February while on holiday with Hilton and her family for her 40th birthday. Image Credit: twitter.com/ParisHilton In the episode, the 40-year-old star cleared the air. “I am not pregnant, not yet. I am waiting until after the wedding. My dress is being made right now so I want to make sure it looks gorgeous and fits perfectly so definitely waiting for that part,” Hilton said. “The only thing in the oven at the moment is my Sliving Lasagna!” she added, using the term that combines ‘slaying’ and ‘living’. She might also be referring to her upcoming Netflix show ‘Cooking with Paris’, which will premiere on August 4. Reum, an entrepreneur, popped the question in February while on holiday with Hilton and her family for her 40th birthday. The happy couple reportedly started dating in 2019 but have known each other for many years. “I am excited about this next chapter and having such a supportive partner. Our relationship is one of equals. We make each other better people. He was absolutely worth the wait!” she told Vogue after the engagement. While no wedding date has been announced so far, Hilton — in typical reality TV star fashion — will be documenting her preparations for the small screen. “We just started shooting our new show, ‘Paris in Love’, on Peacock and we’re shooting in New York just now, actually, and getting ready for the dress fitting and just planning the bachelorette party. There’s a lot,” Hilton told ET Online about the series. “So I’m really excited to share that with all my fans.” In the past, Hilton has also talked about wanting to be a mum and exploring IVF. “I’m really excited to just move on for the next step of my life, and finally just have like a real life,” she said on The Trend Reporter with Mara podcast. “We have been doing the IVF, so I can pick twins if I like.”

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‘Bridgerton’ actor Rege-Jean Page cast in reboot of action franchise ‘The Saint’

HollyWood|: ‘Bridgerton’ fans were shocked when Rege-Jean Page announced he wouldn’t return for the hit Netflix series’ second season. However, the heart-throb isn’t taking a break from the screen just yet. Page will star as the lead in Paramount Pictures’ take on ‘The Saint’, which he will also executive produce. ‘The Saint’ will be based on the 1920s book series by Leslie Charteris, which follows globetrotting English adventurer Simon Templar — known as The Saint — who doubles up as a super sleuth detective. The book series was turned into a 1960s British TV show starring Roger Moore, while a 1997 ‘Saint’ film featured Val Kilmer as Simon Templar. Plot details for the new movie are under wraps, but Deadline quoted insiders as saying “this will be a completely new take that reimagines the character and world around him.” Page had his big break as the handsome Duke of Hastings in the Shonda Rhimes-produced period drama ‘Bridgerton’, which was one of Netflix’s most-watched shows at the time. Many hearts were broken when it was announced that he would not be part of the second season, which will instead focus on a new couple — Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey) and Kate Sharma (Simone Ashley). “Pleasure and a privilege! An honour to be a member of the family — on and off screen, cast, crew and incredible fans — the love is real and will just keep growing,” he wrote, responding to a social media post on the ‘Bridgerton’ account announcing his departure. Page has a number of projects in the pipeline, including Netflix film ‘The Gray Man’ alongside Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans, and a role in the ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ movie.

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Daniel Craig auditioned for Aamir Khan’s Bollywood hit ‘Rang De Basanti’, but James Bond came his way

BollyWood|: Maverick Bollywood director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra can create magic on screen through his films, and his biography is doing the same with some startling revelations that has created a buzz among fans — one being that Hollywood star Daniel Craig had auditioned for one of his films. In his book ‘The Stranger in the Mirror’, Mehra has talked about Craig auditioning for the role of James McKinley in ‘Rang De Basanti’. The Bollywood film, which starred Aamir Khan, Siddharth, Kunal Kapoor, Sharman Joshi, Atul Kulkarni and Soha Ali Khan as college students who take on the system following the death of their friend played by R Madhavan, had scenes interspersing their struggles with India’s battle for independence with the stars portraying freedom fighters in flashbacks. “I remember vividly that one of the people who auditioned for the part of James McKinley, the young jailer who walks Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev to be hanged, was none other than current James Bond, Daniel Craig,” Mehra reveals at one point in his book. “Daniel Craig was my first choice but he requested if we could allow some time as he was also being considered to be the next James Bond. The rest, as they say, is history,” Mehra further added. A still from Rang De Basanti Image Credit: IMDb ‘Rang De Basanti’ released in 2006 and went on to become a huge box office success, with Mehra’s efforts being recognised by India, that selected the film as the country’s official entry to the Academy Awards that year. At the time Craig was a relative unknown in Hollywood, with 2001’s ‘Lara Croft: Tomb Raider’ his biggest commercial success. It was in 2005 that Craig was contacted by Eon Productions to portray super spy James Bond. Initially, he was unsure about the role when first offered but decided to take it on with ‘Casino Royale’ coming out on November 14, 2006. Daniel Craig in 'Casino Royale' Image Credit: IMDb Craig’s last appearance as 007 will feature later this year with ‘No Time To Die’, out in the UAE in October. In his biography, Mehra also revealed that he had almost finalised Peter Gabriel, one of the founding members of the British rock band Genesis, to work on ‘Rang De Basanti’, but something inside him told him to choose music maestro AR Rahman instead. “The music of RDB was the soul of the film; the songs AR created became de facto national anthems,” he says in the book. ‘The Stranger in the Mirror’ is co-written by marketer-author Reeta Ramamurthy Gupta and is out now.

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‘Prison Break’ star Wentworth Miller opens up about autism diagnosis

HollyWood|: ‘Prison Break’ actor Wentworth Miller has opened up about being diagnosed with autism a year ago, saying “it was a shock. But not a surprise.” Miller, 49, shared a blank white square on Instagram and detailed his diagnosis process in the caption. “Like everyone, life in quarantine took things from me. But in the quiet/isolation, I found unexpected gifts,” he wrote. “This fall marks 1 year since I received my informal autism diagnosis. Preceded by a self-diagnosis. Followed by a formal diagnosis.” A still from 'Prison Break'. Image Credit: Supplied The actor, who has Syrian and Lebanese ancestry on his mother’s side, said being diagnosed was a “long, flawed process in need of updating” but in his note he made clear that he was not regretful about being diagnosed. “This isn’t something I’d change ... immediately being autistic is central to who I am. To everything I’ve achieved/articulated,” he added. Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, is a developmental disorder “characterised by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviours, speech and nonverbal communication.” Miller explained that “access to a diagnosis is a privilege many do not enjoy,” and added that he was not seeking to be seen as an expert on the condition. “I don’t want to run the risk of suddenly being a loud, ill-informed voice in the room. The #autistic community (this I do know) has historically been talked over. Spoken for. I don’t wish to do additional harm. Only to raise my hand, say, “I am here. Have been (w/o realizing it),” he wrote. Read more Wentworth Miller tried committing suicide In the past, Miller has be vocal about his mental health struggles and how it has made him stay out of the public eye. In 2013 he said he had attempted suicide a number of times as a teenager. In 2016, he wrote a searing Facebook post in response to a meme making fun of his weight gain. The meme used a picture comparing his body in the series ‘Prison Break’ and one from him in 2010. “In 2010, semi-retired from acting, I was keeping a low-profile for a number of reasons. First and foremost, I was suicidal,” he explained in his 2016 post. “This is a subject I’ve since written about, spoken about, shared about. But at the time I suffered in silence. As so many do. The extent of my struggle known to very, very few.” “I’ve struggled with depression since childhood. It’s a battle that’s cost me time, opportunities, relationships, and a thousand sleepless nights,” his post read, saying that having his favourite meals and watching ‘Top Chef’ helped him get through the hard times. “And I put on weight. Big [expletive] deal,” he wrote. Miller is best known for his role as a gifted man trying to save his brother in the show ‘Prison Break’. He has also starred in ‘The Flash’ and DC’s ‘Legends of Tomorrow’.

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Raj Kundra arrest: Actress Sofia Hayat says Bollywood hopefuls are tricked into porn industry

BollyWood|: As businessman Raj Kundra, who stands accused in a pornography case, spends 14 days in judicial custody, former ‘Bigg Boss’ contestant Sofia Hayat said it is not uncommon for Bollywood aspirants to be tricked into shooting for pornographic films by unscrupulous people. “A casting agent once said to me that there was an intimate scene and I have to show the director how well I can act for it,” recalled Hayat, who had entered ‘Bigg Boss 7’ as a wild card entry. “I knew this was a trick because professionals would never ask any artiste to perform such a scene. I have done two love scenes in my career, and although I am not inhibited about such scenes, it was a closed set and nobody had asked me to perform the scenes before the shoot,” she said. Read More Raj Kundra arrest: Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty’s husband sent to judicial custody for 14 days From Shilpa Shetty breaking down to Raj Kundra in Arthur Road Jail: Here are 8 developments in the pornography scandal Raj Kundra arrest: Erotica is not porn, claims Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty “This too shall pass”: Shilpa Shetty’s sister Shamita supports Bollywood star over Raj Kundra arrest Mumbai Crime Branch seizes Raj Kundra’s bank accounts in Kanpur Bollywood aspirants, Hayat said, should beware of such propositions. Some of her professional work, she added, was screen-recorded and uploaded to apps like the one that is being investigated for Kundra’s alleged links to it. “Pornography is a violation of the rights of a woman and courts must treat it like rape,” Hayat said. She also pointed out that a number of businessmen took advantage of young women in the film industry. Their only motivation is money — and what they did to women was the equivalent of rape, she said. Raj Kundra and Shilpa Shetty Kundra Image Credit: AFP Hayat's comments come as Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty Kundra's husband stands accused of filming and distributing pornography through mobile apps. The case has also unearthed the practice of luring unsuspecting Bollywood hopefuls and cooercing them into shooting for these app.s Who is Sofia Hayat? British model Sofia Hayat Image Credit: AFP The Britain-based singer-actor of Pakistani origin first gained recognition in India in 2011, but it was after her entry in the ‘Bigg Boss’ house in 2013 and the notoriety she gained from it that she really came into her own. If you recall, she had filed a police complaint against contestant Armaan Kohli for hitting her on the show with a mop leading to his arrest from the reality show on Colors TV. In June 2016, Hayat announced that she had embraced spirituality and become a nun. She adopted the name Gaia Sofia Mother but appears to have returned to her given name going by her social media posts. — Inputs from Gulf News staff

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Actor Bob Odenkirk collapses on ‘Better Call Saul’ set

HollyWood|: ‘Better Call Saul’ star Bob Odenkirk collapsed on the show’s New Mexico set on Tuesday and had to be hospitalised. Crew members called an ambulance that took the 58-year-old actor to a hospital, where he remained Tuesday night, a person close to Odenkirk who was not authorised to speak publicly on the matter told The Associated Press. It was not immediately clear what caused the collapse, or how long Odenkirk might be hospitalised. Bob Odenkirk portrays Saul Goodman in a scene from "Better Call Saul." Image Credit: AP ‘Better Call Saul,’ the spin-off prequel to ‘Breaking Bad,’ has been shooting its sixth and final season, which is set to air on AMC next year. Like ‘Breaking Bad,’ ‘Better Call Saul’ is set in and mostly shot in Albuquerque. An email sent to a representative of AMC seeking more information or comment was not immediately returned. Odenkirk has been nominated for four Emmys for playing the title character, a down-on-his-luck lawyer named Jimmy McGill who becomes increasingly corrupt and adopts the pseudonym Saul Goodman. Michael McKean, Odenkirk’s co-star who played his brother on the show, was among many wishing Odenkirk well on social media. “Sending huge love to our @mrbobodenkirk,” McKean tweeted. “You got this, brother.” Odenkirk’s hospitalisation was first reported by TMZ. Before the ‘Saul’ role, which he also played on ‘Breaking Bad,’ Odenkirk was best known for ‘Mr Show With Bob and David,’ the sketch comedy series he co-created with David Cross that originally aired on HBO from 1995 to 1998. He has won two Emmys, for his writing on ‘The Ben Stiller Show’ and on ‘Saturday Night Live.’ He has also appeared on HBO’s ‘The Larry Sanders Show’ and in the films ‘The Post,’ ‘Little Women’ and ‘Nobody.’

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Slipknot co-founder Joey Jordison dead at 46: family

Music|: Washington: Joey Jordison, the co-founder of Slipknot and one of the most influential metal drummers of his generation, has died at the age of 46, his family announced. "We are heartbroken to share the news that Joey Jordison, prolific drummer, musician and artist passed away peacefully in his sleep," his family said Tuesday in a statement carried by Rolling Stone and multiple US media outlets. Iowa-born Jordison was one of Slipknot's three original members and helped power the US nine-piece to global stardom in the early 2000s during an era when rock and metal acts routinely jostled with popstars at the top of the commercial charts. Renowned for their horror-themed facemasks and boiler suits, they burst onto the scene in the mid-1990s with a louder, bleaker and more aggressive incarnation of metal that became both a commercial success and a major influence on later generations. Behind all the stage pantomime and shock antics was a technically proficient band propelled by Jordison's tight high speed drumming and relentless blast beats as well as his song writing skills for some of the band's best known tracks. The band worked with legendary producer Rick Rubin for their third album and won their first Grammy in 2006. But Jordison maintained his proudest personal moment was being voted the greatest drummer of the previous 25 years by readers of drumming magazine Rhythm in 2010. Jordison left Slipknot in 2013 in acrimonious circumstances, saying he had been effectively forced out. He later revealed he been diagnosed with transverse myelitis, a nerve disease that affected his ability to play. In recent interviews he said he managed to get back in drumming shape through intense physical therapy. His side projects included Murderdolls, Scar the Martyr, Vimic and Sinsaenum and he also played live drums for a host of major metal acts like Metallica, Korn and Rob Zombie. Metallica paid tribute to Jordison, posting a photo of the drummer on their Facebook page with the caption "R.I.P. brother." Other prominent metal musicians posted tributes praising Jordison's technique and the influence he had on their own bands. "Joey's contributions to music changed the face of heavy music on the planet as we know it," wrote Trivium frontman Matt Heafy. "An absolute legend who changed the game not only for drums, but metal music as a whole," added popular metal YouTuber Nik Nocturnal. Former Slipknot bandmates Corey Taylor and Shawn Crahan both posted black squares on their Twitter accounts after news of Jordison's death was announced.

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Dubai-based singer Shweta Subram talks about ‘Jalebi Baby’ and its sweet success

Music|: Indian singer Shweta Subram, who was born and raised in Dubai, has earned a quirky moniker. She’s now called the ‘Jalebi Baby’ girl wherever she goes because her brassy and bold voice in Canadian singer Tesher’s catchy song has captured the imagination of music lovers across India and the world. The viral song rolled out on TikTok has been used in nearly four million videos and has been viewed more than 90 million times on YouTube. Even pop sensation Jason Derulo wants a piece of it, while celebrities such as Alia Bhatt were spotted dancing at her best friend’s wedding to ‘Jalebi Baby’. Actress Nora Fatehi cherry-picked ‘Jalebi Baby’ to show off her dance moves. “I don’t think either of us expected that kind of response … Usually you spend millions on music videos and it’s an expensive affair … But ‘Jalebi Baby’ was a lyrical video but the audiences have given us their verdict and we are loving it,” said Subram from her living room in her apartment at the Dubai Marina. Subram was a banker before the music bug bit her. Image Credit: Anas Thacharpadikkal/Gulf News She remembers recording the song at her dining table last October and sending it over to Tesher before it became a universal rage. The sweet success of ‘Jalebi Baby’ is proof that you don’t need frills if your song is catchy. Subram, who recently moved back to Dubai from Canada with her husband and her toddler to be closer to Mumbai (the epicentre of the Bollywood music industry), was a banker before the music bug bit her. Born to South Indian parents who valued education above all else, she’s armed with two degrees in psychology and economics. But to this singing sensation, the big, bad world of Bollywood felt more bewitching than clocking in hours at the fraud department at a bank. Here’s her take on … Being born in Dubai and moving from Canada to the UAE: “I was born and raised here. When I moved away from Dubai I felt I left a piece of myself in Dubai. This is a city where I want to live for the rest of my life … And ‘Jalebi Baby’ happened right here when I recorded my part on my dining table and sent it to Tesher … Honestly, my move to Dubai was prompted because Dubai is home for me. Making that shift to India from Canada might be a little difficult because living in India is a whole different ballgame, especially if you never lived there before. I have lived in Dubai and Canada all my life, so I am not sure if I am up for it. So let’s just one step at a time. Dubai is a hop, skip, and jump away from Mumbai. The idea was to be close to the Bollywood music fraternity and closer to Bollywood in general, where all the work happens.” Breaking into the Bollywood music industry: “It’s a very challenging journey. I’m not going to lie nor am I going to paint a rosy picture of it. It has been very tough because firstly you just have to know the ropes of the business and how things work. In the beginning, I thought it was all about talent, but being talented alone wasn’t the case. I remember going to Bombay and it was so important for me to network. Thousands can sing, but the important thing is about meeting the right people at the right place at the right time. It’s important that if you work on a project, you constantly message the team or go out for a cup of coffee or a drink. It helps in building that relationship and it often leads to more work.” Her biggest challenge: “Living outside in Canada… My first playback Bollywood debut was with Ayushmann Khurrana’s ‘Hawaizaada’ (2015) where I sang ‘Dil-e-Nadaan’. With him. I was literally at the airport in Canada on my way to India for a vacation when I got a call from his team saying that they watched my YouTube videos and offered me a song for his new film because my voice matched his requirements … Since I was already on my way to India, I almost walked into the studios for that audition. "In less than 12 hours, I found out that my voice was going to make it to the song. It was an unbelievable surreal experience. After that project, many told me that the wise thing to do is actually to stay back in Bombay … But I went back to Canada. Come to think of it, I am a little spoilt because even though I didn’t shift to India, I got a lot of opportunities. But I would have done a lot more work if I had shifted to India.” ‘Jalebi Baby’ going viral: “I don’t relish eating jalebis, but the song is a different story altogether. It went viral, exploded, and began trending during the lockdown. A week before Diwali, my friend just mentioned Tesher, a fellow Canadian singer who’s doing pretty well, and his song ‘Young Shah Rukh’. I was surprised that I didn’t know him even though we belong to the same music industry. I felt a little ashamed and set out to find out who Tesher is. I went to his Instagram, realised that he has done some cool work, and congratulated him. "He was sweet enough to write back and told me that he has gone through my work and he was working on a project called ‘Jalebi Baby’. He was looking for my kind of voice in terms of texture and tonality and asked me to give the song a shot. Thanks to technology, I was sitting here on this dining table and I just recorded my bits. He came back saying he’s using my vocals … Three weeks later, a friend of mine brought it to my attention that this song was exploding on Instagram and social media.” "I don’t mind rejection because with rejection you grow if you look at it objectively," the singer said. Image Credit: Anas Thacharpadikkal/Gulf News On millions streaming the song: “I don’t keep a tab honestly because I am not much into the number game. I am not obsessed with how many likes or followers I have on Instagram or Facebook … On a side note, I see many youngsters getting depressed if they don’t hit the million followers mark. It’s worrying. I don’t seek validation from followers, but I get a lot of validation from my fans and supporters who write to me.” Bollywood being hostile to outsiders: “I don’t have a straightforward answer to that because I have seen outsiders who are doing pretty well right now. Perhaps, that can be attributed to the power of social media. I have found that Bollywood is very welcoming towards talents with a huge amount of followers on social media … I am not saying that they don’t look at talent, but having an army of followers matters. Packaging matters and sometimes talent can be overlooked … Fortunately, I haven’t experienced hostility. "But what irks me is the lack of professionalism … I was speaking to a fellow singer recent and he was talking about how disturbing it can get … There’s a well-renowned music director who records the same song with 10 singers … In the end, he just listens to those 10 singers and says which voice does it for him and which doesn’t. It’s very disheartening because each singer goes in thinking that his or her voice is going to be on that big-budget Bollywood blockbuster. They don’t even get a call on whether their song will be used for the film or not.” Facing rejection: “I don’t mind rejection because with rejection you grow if you look at it objectively. But what irks me is the lack of professionalism and communication … I am not sure if I will handle that. I come from a working culture where the level of professionalism is on a whole new level … Many songs of Indian singers are being played on millions of radio stations but the artist cannot show a single penny for it.” Her biggest mentor: Sonu Nigam. Image Credit: GN Archives “Sonu Nigam ji. A few years ago, he came across my work and shared my original song ‘Rasiya’. I remember sending him an email about it, without expecting a reply from him. But he sent back a detailed response on what he loved about the song. The next day, I woke up to him sharing that song on his [Facebook] page, and then he even called me to perform with him on his tour to the US. He’s been a constant mentor and even now if I have a question about music, I send him voice notes.”

GulfNews Entertainment

New series ‘Flatbush Misdemeanors’ mines the everyday for comedy

TV|: There’s something to be said about finding the humour in everyday situations. And comedians Dan Perlman and Kevin Iso have brought it down to a science with their half-hour comedy series, ‘Flatbush Misdemeanors’. Having met in the comedy circuit as stand-up comedians, Perlman and Iso immediately hit it off. In 2014, they started posting a series of sketches called ‘Moderately Funny’ on YouTube, before going on to create three episodes of the web series ‘Flatbush Misdemeanors’. The series garnered some praise and awards at film festivals, which in turn caught the attention of Showtime, turning the web series into a full-fledged series, now streaming on StarzPlay in the UAE. In ‘Flatbush Misdemeanors’, Perlman and Iso play characters struggling to thrive in their new surroundings in the brash environment of Flatbush, Brooklyn. Bold, smart and grounded in authenticity, the show explores two longtime friends seeking to climb out of their heads and connect with others. (L-R): Kevin Iso as Kevin and Dan Perlman as Dan in FLATBUSH MISDEMEANORS, “bad connection’”. Photo Credit: Francisco Roman/SHOWTIME. Image Credit: StarzPlay In a chat over Zoom, Gulf News caught up with Perlman to discuss the duo’s journey and some of the inspiration behind their comedy. Excerpts follow: How did the idea of ‘Flatbush Misdemeanors’ come about? My friend Kevin and I co-created the show. We were making comedy sketches together originally. You know, just like short videos, we were about starting out and stand up. And we met doing open mics in New York, as you know, just both starting out in comedy, and we wanted to make some videos. So we just made some short sketches. But then we found ourselves returning to the same kinds of characters, themes and we were working with the same comedians over and over again. So we eventually just wanted to make something a little more narrative, and wanted to make something independently, that we could shoot ourselves. We just wanted it to feel raw and natural and real and just a little more authentic. So that so it wouldn’t feel like joke, joke, joke, joke [and] joke. So that’s how we made the web series initially. How would you describe the show to someone who’s never heard about it yet? I guess it’s a tricky show to describe, but we like to think of it as more real or natural than just a sitcom. So it’s a very grounded comedy that hopefully reminds you of people that you’ve met. And it’s a comedy about a neighbourhood and a group of people who all coexist while doing their own thing. They all have their own wants and needs, and they’re all stepping on each other and bumping into each other. And it’s maybe a very honest or natural depiction of New York in a very organically diverse way that you don’t ordinarily see. And there’s good jokes! Kareem Green and Dan Perlman. Image Credit: StarzPlay So Flatbush is a neighbourhood in New York. Can you tell us a little bit about it for our readers back here in Dubai, So we have some cultural context about the place? It’s a very historic neighbourhood in Brooklyn, and one that has not been really represented much in TV or film. Like now, it’s a very Caribbean community. Before that, it was a largely Jewish community. The Brooklyn Dodgers played there before they move to Los Angeles. It was a farming community before that. So it’s a neighbourhood that is very rich in its history. And its architecture: there are a lot of T-shaped streets where — so, the very cool thing about Flatbush is you can be on one street and all the houses and blocks are one way. And then you walk two blocks, and it feels like you’re in a totally different neighbourhood and you walk two blocks another way, and you’re on a street with a lot of dollar stores and shops and stuff. And it’s all very bustling and energised. Another street, it’s way more residential and quiet. And it’s all in this very small radius. So it sort of lends itself to storytelling that has like a richness in character. And it’s very different than the New York that you see in a lot of other shows, which often show way more whitewashed depictions of New York. We shot it all during COVID. When we started filming, people weren’t even vaccinated yet. So, you know, we were tested three times a week and you kind of get used to the routine of it. And then you just adjust around it. Comedian Dan Perlman You and Kevin worked on the show together. What can you tell us about your work dynamic? When you work with someone for a long time, you kind of you get a sense of how they each work. And the reason we started working together is because we are complimentary in terms of our energies. We’re both probably a little more subtle in our energies and performances and stuff. So I think our energies vibe in that way. But then also, we’re not the same. So, I think, the push and pull of our different instincts has always brought the show to a cool and creative place. How did you and Kevin originally meet? Doing open mics in New York City. So when you start out, doing stand up, you go and sign up and do two or three minutes for other new and uninterested comedians who just stare blankly at you. And so, Kevin and I met at one of those and started talking. And there’s a lot of people, you talk to them and they’re like, ‘Oh, we should do something, we should film something, we should make something,’ but then they’re maybe not as driven to actually do it. But Kevin was the first person I met who shared that same drive to just make stuff even if we don’t quite know what we’re doing yet. Dan Perlman as Dan in FLATBUSH MISDEMEANORS, “dub’”. Photo Credit: Francisco Roman/SHOWTIME. Image Credit: StarzPlay Where there any other shows that inspired you in terms of content and theme? Kevin and I both have talked about this. There was an old Nickelodeon cartoon when we were kids called ‘Hey Arnold’. It’s obviously super different from the show, but there’s an interesting kind of parallel, you know, a neighbourhood, a community of people. One thing we tried to do is, every time you see a character, you might learn something new about them. ‘Hey Arnold’ did that very well, especially for a kid’s cartoon. And there was kind of an interestingly melancholic feel and pace to the cartoon that was a little different from the rapid fire nature that a lot of sitcoms have. And it felt very lived in. And so that was the one we talked about a lot. Was the show fully shot in New York? And did COVID impact the show at? Yeah, totally shot in New York. And, I mean, it definitely impacted the show. We shot it all during COVID. When we started filming, people weren’t even vaccinated yet. So, you know, we were tested three times a week and you kind of get used to the routine of it. And then you just adjust around it. So if we’re writing a big protest scene, we’re like, ‘Okay, well, I guess it’s a small protest now,’ because there’s just only a certain amount of people you can sort of have. It’s like, alright, well, how do we still tell the story we’re trying to tell? Does COVID ever get mentioned in the show itself? No, no, it’s not part of the show. I guess we talked about it, initially. But two things [stopped us]. One, it’s incredibly sad. And I definitely don’t want to watch people in masks. We’ve lived it for too long. It was so all encompassing, and it took over our lives that there was not really a way to sort of deal with it without it becoming everything. You know what I mean? Like, how do you incorporate it without it becoming fully all consumed? Dan Perlman as Dan in FLATBUSH MISDEMEANORS, “dub’”. Photo Credit: Francisco Roman/SHOWTIME. Image Credit: StarzPlay What were your biggest learnings from creating ‘Flatbush Misdemeanors’? The coolest thing for me was just how addictive and funny every other department is and how collaborative it is to create a show like this. When you hear award speeches and they’re mentioning all these names, and you’re like they’re going on a while, but you really do want to mention like everybody’s name, who sort of created the show. Our whole production design team was just so amazing. And so funny, and, and the costume department and the props department, you know, like, on and on. You learn how you can find jokes in the specificity of every different department and how people were not just great at their jobs, but also funny in those positions. It makes you better as a writer because then you go into the writing of the next stuff with more of that in your mind and of ways to sort of, find these jokes and all these different specific things. That was just a really cool experience. Don’t miss it! ‘Flatbush Misdemeanors’ is now streaming on StarzPlay.

GulfNews Entertainment

Bollywood: Sushant Singh Rajput tribute film to release after Delhi court denies stay

BollyWood|: The Delhi High Court has again denied a stay on the movie ‘Nyay The Justice’ based on Sushant Singh Rajput’s case. Advocate Vikas Singh battled for an injunction however the judge said no relief was granted to Rajput and hence the film is ready for release. ‘Nyay The Justice’ is written and directed by Dilip Gulati, produced by Sarla A Saraogi and Rahul Sharma. “We believed justice would be served through the system and we are very happy with the verdict. We have always mentioned that this film is not being made to ride on the events and make money, but we wanted the truth to come out and justice being served,” producer Rahul Sharma told IANS. Read more Bollywood: Sushant Singh Rajput’s father told by court to negotiate with director over movie Bollywood: Court rejects father's plea to prevent films about late actor Sushant Singh Rajput Sushant Singh Rajput’s sister appeals to Wikipedia to get details of late Bollywood star's death changed He added that the film will release once theatres are reopened. The film stars Zuber Khan as Mahendra Singh (the character based on Rajput) and Shreya Shukla as his girlfriend Urvashi (based on Rhea Chakraborty). The movie also stars Aman Verma, Asrani, Shakti Kapoor and Kiran Kumar, among others. Sushant Singh Rajput was found hanging at his home in Mumbai on June 14, 2020. Image Credit: Gulf News archive In June, a court dismissed a petition filed by Rajput’s father asking for a stay on the release of a number of films based on the life and likeness of his son. Rajput was found hanging at his home in Mumbai on June 14, 2020. He was 34. His father Krishna Kishore Singh claimed the movies were shot without the family’s consent. “Defendants (filmmakers), taking advantage of the situation, have been trying to encash this opportunity... plays, movies, web-series, books, interviews or other material may be published which would harm the reputation of the son of the plaintiff and his family,” his petition read. The Delhi High Court later suggested that Rajput’s father and the filmmaker of ‘Nyay: The Justice’ resolve matter outside the courtroom.