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Singer Sonu Nigam attacked by MLA’s ‘selfie-seeker’ son

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Singer Sonu Nigam and his team were manhandled by Swapnil Phatarpekar, the son of Shiv Sena (Uddhav Thackeray faction) MLA Prakash Phatarpekar, at a music event in Chembur late Monday evening.

Nigam told TOI, “I am okay, but my brother (friend Rabbani Khan) is hurt. And my bodyguard is hurt.” Rabbani is the son of the late guru of Indian classical music Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan whose students include the who’s who of playback singing from Lata Mangeshkar to A Hariharan and Nigam himself. The incident, which was captured on camera, took place after Swapnil Phatarpekar, son of MLA Phatarpekar, insisted on taking a selfie with the singer. Nigam’s team did not recognise him. This led to a scuffle as Swapnil and his supporters manhandled Nigam and his team as the singer was leaving the stage.

A video of the incident went viral. The stage was dimly lit and one person is seen pushing another off the stage. Rabbani told TOI, “The attack was sudden and without provocation. This person whom we do not know, approached Sonuji for a selfie. When his bodyguard resisted, the man pushed him off the stage. Then he came towards Sonu. As Sonuji caught my hand, the attacker threw me off stage too. I fell from a height of eight feet. I landed on my spine.”

Rabbani was treated as an outpatient at a local Chembur hospital and discharged. “My X-ray reports are awaited. The pain is immense and I hope there are no internal injuries,” he said.
Rabbani’s brother Murtuza, the eldest son of Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan, was upset by the attack. He said, “This should not happen with artistes. They are not involved in politics. It could have been worse. I am thankful to the Almighty that my brother is okay.” MLA Phatarpekar did not answer calls or messages seeking comment. Swapnil has previously been involved in controversy. In April 2022, the BJP had alleged that he was behind a midnight incident of stone pelting after their ‘Pol Khol’ rathyatra against corruption.

Chembur police confirmed the incident and were verifying the sequence of events and recording statements. They later began the process of registering an offence against the MLA’s son and his supporters.

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Stars to return for first Shrek film for 16 years

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Shrek’s long-awaited return has been confirmed, with Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy and Cameron Diaz all set to return for the lovable green ogre’s first film for 16 years.

A plotline for the movie is yet to be revealed, but Myers will play the title character, Diaz will voice Shrek’s wife Princess Fiona and Murphy will return as sidekick Donkey.

Announcing the news, DreamWorks Animation said on X: “Not too Far, Far Away… Shrek 5 is coming to theatres on July 1 2026 with Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, and Cameron Diaz.”

The first film was released back in 2001, and won the first Oscar for best animated feature film.

It was a huge hit for DreamWorks, making $487m worldwide at the box office.

Shrek 2 was released in 2004, Shrek The Third came out in 2007, and Shrek Forever After hit cinemas in 2010.

Shrek 5 will in fact be the seventh film in the wider franchise, after Antonio Banderas’ character had two spin-off films – Puss In Boots and Puss In Boots: The Last Wish.

It is unknown whether Bandreas will be back for Shrek 5.

Murphy hinted in an interview with Collider last month that Donkey could also be getting his own spin-off movie.

He also said work on Shrek 5 started “months ago”.

“I recorded the first act, and we’ll be doing it this year, we’ll finish it up,” he said.

“Shrek is coming out and Donkey’s gonna have his own movie.”

(BBC News)

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Hollywood icon Paramount agrees $28bn merger deal

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One of Hollywood’s oldest companies, Paramount Global, has agreed to merge with independent film studio Skydance Media.

Under the deal, Paramount’s non-executive chair Shari Redstone will sell her family’s controlling stake in the company in a complex transaction that will result in a new firm worth around $28bn (£21.9bn).

It marks the end of an era for the Redstone family, whose late patriarch, Sumner Redstone, transformed a chain of drive-in cinemas into a vast media empire.

As well as Paramount, the group includes the television networks CBS, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and MTV.

“Our hope is that the Skydance transaction will enable Paramount’s continued success in this rapidly changing environment,” Ms Redstone said in a statement.

According to the company its TV channels have a global reach of over 4.3 billion subscribers across more than 180 countries.

The merger would combine Paramount, home of classic films such as Chinatown and Breakfast at Tiffany’s, with its financial partner on several recent big releases, including Top Gun: Maverick and Star Trek Into Darkness.

Under the agreement, Skydance will invest around $8bn in Paramount, including paying $2.4bn for National Amusements, which controls the group.

National Amusements owns just 10% of Paramount Group’s shares but accounts for almost 80% of its voting rights.

Paramount said it expected to close the deal by the summer of next year.

Paramount Global traces its origins back more than a century to the founding of Paramount Pictures Corporation in 1914.

The studio has made many hit films, including the Godfather, Star Trek, and Mission: Impossible series.

But the entertainment giant has struggled over the past decade. Paramount Global’s shares have fallen by more than 75% in the last five years.

Skydance is owned by David Ellison, the son of Larry Ellison, who founded US technology giant Oracle.

The announcement came after eight months of negotiations that saw Redstone holding talks with a number of potential partners including Sony and private equity firm Apollo.

In April, Paramount’s chief executive Bob Bakish left the company after clashing with Ms Redstone over the planned Skydance deal.

The deal comes as the global entertainment industry is being transformed by the video-streaming revolution.

(BBC News)

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Arundhati Roy wins PEN Pinter Prize for ‘powerful voice’

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Indian author Arundhati Roy has said that she is “delighted” to have been awarded this year’s PEN Pinter Prize.

Set up in memory of playwright Harold Pinter, the award is for writers of “outstanding literary merit” who take an “unflinching” look at the world.

The announcement comes weeks after officials in India approved action against Roy under anti-terror laws for comments she made 14 years ago.

Roy is a Booker Prize-winning author and has written about human rights issues in India as well as war and capitalism globally.

English PEN chair Ruth Borthwick praised Roy for telling “urgent stories of injustice with wit and beauty”.

“While India remains an important focus, she is truly an internationalist thinker, and her powerful voice is not to be silenced,” Borthwick said.

Roy, 62, is an outspoken writer and activist and could face prosecution by the Narendra Modi government for comments she made in 2010 about Kashmir – a controversial topic in India.

She is a polarising figure and has often been targeted by right-wing groups for her speeches and writings.

Roy has been outspoken in her criticism about the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government’s alleged targeting of Muslims and has also spoken about India’s declining press freedoms during Mr Modi’s tenure.

She will receive the PEN Pinter Prize on 10 October in a ceremony co-hosted by the British Library.

The prize was set up in 2009 by English PEN, a charity that says it defends freedom of expression and celebrates literature.

Previous winners include Michael Rosen, Malorie Blackman, Margaret Atwood, Salman Rushdie, Tom Stoppard and Carol Ann Duffy.

On winning the prize, Roy said: “I wish Harold Pinter were with us today to write about the almost incomprehensible turn the world is taking. Since he isn’t, some of us must do our utmost to try to fill his shoes.”

Roy has written numerous books and non-fiction essays, but she is best known for her novel, The God of Small Things, which won the Booker Prize in 1997.

(BBC News)

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