Holly to Bolly: Japanese boy band SMAP calls it quits; Vin Diesel shares emotional video about Paul Walker; and more

newslide Japanese boy band SMAP calls it quits after 25 years Popular Japanese boy band SMAP, who have an army of fans across Asia, will break up at the end of this year. The five members of the group, now in their late 30s and early 40s, are often described as “national idols” and have […]

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Japanese boy band SMAP calls it quits after 25 years

Popular Japanese boy band SMAP, who have an army of fans across Asia, will break up at the end of this year. The five members of the group, now in their late 30s and early 40s, are often described as “national idols” and have dominated Japanese showbiz for 25 years. The news comes after months of speculation about deep divisions within the band – and seven months after they pledged to stay together. The members – Masahiro Nakai, Takuya Kimura, Goro Inagaki, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi and Shingo Katori – will focus on their solo careers. SMAP – which, cryptically, stands for Sports Music Assemble People – started out in 1988 and remain the top J-pop boy group. SMAP members, as a group or individually, have also hosted many popular comedy, variety and sports TV programmes, including coverage of the Rio Olympics. – AFP

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Godless takes home top prize at Locarno film festival

Bulgarian director Ralitza Petrova’s dark debut film, Godless, has scooped the Golden Leopard prize at the Locarno film festival in Switzerland. The film tells the story of Gana, a young woman who looks after elderly dementia patients and traffics their ID cards on the black market. Irena Ivanova, who also picked up Best Actress at the festival, stars as Gana, who is moved to try to change her ways when she meets a new patient who loves music, but discovers that doing the right thing can have a cost. The Locarno festival, now in its 69th year, is held every summer. British director Ken Loach’s drama I, Daniel Blake, which won the Palme d’Or top prize in Cannes this year, was named the audience’s top choice at the festival. – AFP

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Vin Diesel shares emotional video about Paul Walker

Fast and Furious star Vin Diesel shared a video about former co-star Paul Walker, who died in a car crash nearly three years ago. It follows the drama surrounding Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s Fast 8 message about the attitude of unnamed male stars on the set of Furious 8. In the video, posted on Instagram, Diesel said: “My son earlier this morning, we were going over his birthday list, and he said, ‘I want Paul to come.’ And then he said, ‘I really miss him.’ Paul came to his second birthday in London while we were shooting ‘Fast 6‘.” The video was posted soon after after Diesel promised his fans that he would tell them everything, after The Rock’s Facebook post about an unprofessional co-star, widely assumed to be Diesel. – The National

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600 films to screen at Kolkata International Wildlife and Environment Film Festival

More than 600 films from nearly 100 countries will be screened at the second edition of the Kolkata International Wildlife and Environment Film Festival. Starting on December 2, the three-day festival will have six categories: feature film, short film, animation, documentary, public service announcement and students. Besides paying special tribute to Fatesh Singh Rathore – the man behind the Ranthambore Tiger Sanctuary – KIWEFF will collaborate with schoolchildren to create a green brigade responsible for planting 50 lakh saplings across West Bengal. Bengali actor and festival committee director Soumitra Chatterjee led the tree planting initiative. – IANS

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Ashutosh Gowariker loves making movies about untold stories

Filmmaker Ashutosh Gowariker – whose movies include Lagaan, Jodhaa Akbar and the newly-released Mohenjo Daro – says he loves to tell interesting stories that haven’t been told before. He said: “Any story that is challenging excites me to make films. I take pleasure to tell a story which is untold. We know about the British era, the lifestyle of the Kings, caste system and all. But we don’t know about Bhuvan, (Aamir’s character in Lagaan) and when he comes in a situation like this that blends facts with fiction. Same with Jodhaa Akbar, we don’t know what happened between Jodhaa and Akbar or how their romantic life was. It makes me happy to create a world but at the same time tell an untold story. It happened with Mohenjo Daro. The story excited me.” The director, who says he is an emotional man, said, “When you do your first film, you carry on those experiences along with you to your second work. Thus, you become more mature. A creative person matures with every work he does.” Set in the city of Mohenjo Daro, the nerve centre of the Indus Valley Civilisation (3,500-1,700BC), Gowariker’s latest film is an epic adventure-romance story. The film, which was released on Friday, stars Hrithik Roshan and Pooja Hegde. – IANS

Source: art & life

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