India's narcotics control authority has formally charged as many as 33 people, including some Bollywood celebrities, in a drugs case linked to the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput in June last year.
The 12,000-page chargesheet has been filed in a special court by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) and includes the names of Sushant's actor-girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty and her brother Showik, UNB has learnt.
The chargesheet contains the testimonies of as many as 200 people and physical as well as digital evidence, sources said Friday.
NCB started probing the drugs scandal following the death of Sushant last year. Among the first to be arrested in the case were Rhea and Showik. Both are currently out on bail.
Rhea was, in fact, arrested by NCB on September 9, following days of questioning, and accused of procuring cannabis for her late actor-boyfriend, whose body was found hanging from a ceiling fan in his Mumbai flat on June 14.
Immediately after the arrest of Rhea, the names of at least 20 top Bollywood celebrities — from actors to filmmakers to designers — surfaced in the drugs case. Several of them, including leading female Bollywood actors — Rakul Preet Singh, Deepika Padukone, Sara Ali Khan and Shraddha Kapoor — were subsequently grilled by NCB.
The grilling came in the wake of WhatsApp chats retrieved from Rhea's mobile phone indicating that they procured banned substances like cannabis, weed and hash from dealers with links to foreign countries.
All the actors, however, reportedly denied any links with such drug dealers.
Once upon a time, dear children, before you were born, they made a fairytale movie about a kingdom called Zamunda. “Coming to America,” starring Eddie Murphy at the height of his popularity and charisma, became a huge hit and a cult classic.
In this film, dear children, Murphy played Prince Akeem — he didn’t need to be called Prince Charming, because he was already so darned charming. We met him on the morning of his 21st birthday, awakening in his palace bedroom to a full orchestra, servants tossing rose petals at his feet, and gorgeous naked women servicing him in the bathtub until his royal appendage was deemed clean.
Oops! Sorry, kids. Some parts of “Coming To America” didn’t age very well. Including most of the stuff about women.
But 33 years and one #MeToo movement later, it’s time for a reboot. The good news about “Coming 2 America,” directed by Craig Brewer, is that things have gotten better for women in Zamunda. Yes, it’s still a patriarchy (more on that soon) and yes, there are still obedient royal bathers. But we don’t see their naked breasts or backsides. There’s also a bathtub gag involving the great Leslie Jones that flips the gender dynamic entirely and gratifyingly (especially for her).
And now, Prince Akeem is not a randy young heir but an established family man. Happily married for 30 years to Princess Lisa — the bride he found in Queens in the last film — he has three daughters, brave and feisty. The eldest wants to be his heir. A female heir? That’s not done, in Zamunda. But the times, they are — or might be — a-changin’.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that this sequel, despite (or perhaps because of) its nod to modern sensibilities, isn’t nearly as funny or edgy as the original. It has seemingly everything -- the original cast, some well-known newcomers, high-profile cameos — and eye-popping costumes by the great Ruth E. Carter (an Oscar winner for “Black Panther”). It has set pieces and choreography and de-aging technology and overlaying plot lines. What it has less of, is fun.
Still, just like we go to college reunions 30 years later to recapture the magic, fans of the first will flock to it on Amazon Prime. They likely won’t be too disappointed. Especially because, despite the knowing references to urban gentrification, transgender offspring, Teslas and even unnecessary movie sequels, little has really changed.
Obviously Murphy is back, as producer and star. So is Arsenio Hall, as trusty sidekick Semmi (and a bunch of other roles). Also back: the stately James Earl Jones as King Jaffe Joffer; Shari Headley as Lisa (a seriously underwritten role); and Louie Anderson as Maurice. John Amos is back as Lisa’s dad, still ripping off McDonald’s. And of course the My-T-Sharp barbershop crew is back in Queens.
A new presence is the casually appealing Jermaine Fowler as Lavelle, Akeem’s previously unknown son. Celebrity guests include a highly amusing Wesley Snipes as flamboyant General Izzi, leader of Nexdoria (next door); Tracy Morgan as Lavelle’s uncle; and Jones as his uninhibited mother. Another “Saturday Night Live” face, Colin Jost, makes the most of a brief cameo. Among notable musical appearances, Gladys Knight sings “Midnight Train From Zamunda.”
The plot follows a familiar trajectory, beginning in Zamunda and traveling to Queens to solve a major need. In this case, the need is not a bride, but a male heir. Akeem, who becomes king upon his father’s death, learns he unknowingly sired a son during that Queens trip three decades ago (it was Semmi’s fault!) He needs a male heir to cement his power. So he brings Lavelle, a ticket scalper who aspires to much more, back to Zamunda, along with Mom.
But Lavelle needs to learn royal ways, and pass a “princely test” which includes facing down a lion. There’s also the matter of Akeem’s daughter, Meeka (a luminous KiKi Layne, not given enough screen time), who rightly deserves to be queen one day. Complicating matters entirely, Lavelle falls not for his intended bride, Izzi’s daughter, but for his royal barber, Mirembe, who aspires to her own shop one day (women don’t own businesses in Zamunda).
Again, it all feels like a 30th reunion — maybe because it IS one — where the liquor flows, old stories are rehashed, the men haven’t aged quite as well as the women, the kids steal the show, and by the end you’re happy to have gone but feel no need to be at the next one.
“Coming 2 America,” an Amazon Studios release, has been rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America “for crude and sexual content, language and drug content.” Running time: 110 minutes. Two stars out of four.
MPAA definition of PG-13: Parents strongly cautioned, Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
Buckingham Palace said Wednesday it was launching an investigation after a newspaper reported that a former aide had made a bullying allegation against the Duchess of Sussex.
The Times of London reported allegations that the duchess drove out two personal assistants and left staff feeling “humiliated.” It said an official complaint was made by Jason Knauf, then the communications secretary to Meghan and her husband, Prince Harry. He now works for Harry’s elder brother, Prince William.
Also read: Meghan suit set for hearing in UK High Court
The palace said it was “clearly very concerned” about the allegations.
It said in a statement that the palace human resources team “will look into the circumstances outlined in the article” and would seek to speak to current and former staff.
“The Royal Household has had a Dignity at Work policy in place for a number of years and does not and will not tolerate bullying or harassment in the workplace,” it said.
American actress Meghan Markle, a former star of the TV legal drama “Suits,” married Harry, a grandson of Queen Elizabeth II, at Windsor Castle in May 2018. Their son, Archie, was born the following year.
In early 2020, Meghan and Harry announced they were quitting royal duties and moving to North America, citing what they said were the unbearable intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media. They recently bought a house in Santa Barbara, California, and are expecting a second child.
The bullying allegations were reported four days before the scheduled broadcast of an Oprah Winfrey interview with Meghan, which is anticipated to draw a huge audience. It also comes less than two weeks after the palace announced that the couple’s split from official duties would be final.
A spokesman for the duchess said she was “saddened by this latest attack on her character, particularly as someone who has been the target of bullying herself and is deeply committed to supporting those who have experienced pain and trauma.”
In a 30-second clip released by CBS Wednesday night, Winfrey asks Meghan how she feels about the palace “hearing you speak your truth today?”
“I don't know how they could expect that after all of this time we would still just be silent if there was an active role that the firm is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us,” Markle says. “And if that comes with risk of losing things, I mean, there's been a lot that's been lost already.”
LBC Media is making a web series featuring a slew of national celebrities.
'Six' is the first of its kind from the producer.
Celebrated stars Sadia Islam Mau, Iftekhar Ahmed Fahmi, Aparna Ghosh, Sohail Mandal, Tariq Anam Khan, Yash Rohan, Ashok Byapari, and others star in the six-episode series. It's worth noting that this is the first time Sadia Islam Mou has appeared in a web series, says a press release.
For the first time on this stage, producer Fahmi will also perform. Tanim Parvez is directing the web series "Six," which is created by Red Paid Studio.
This is the first time in Bangladesh that LBC Media is making a web series with such a large cast on an OTT platform, the press release added.
LBC Media Head of Operations and Sales Omar Farooq Chowdhury said the company began its journey in Bangladesh as a distribution partner of two completely different OTT platforms, Eros Now and Adda Times.
“It can be easily subscribed to using any of Bangladesh's major payment wallets, such as bKash, cash, or a bank card. LBC's main aim is to promote Bangladeshi content globally, such as Bangla movies, web shows, dramas, and music. In order to continue the plot, we will create a web series called 'Six.' We hope that this web series, 'Six,' will be broadcast on an international OTT network as Bangladeshi content,” he said.
LBC Media is the distribution partner of Erosnow and Addatimes in Bangladesh. LBC focuses on contributing Bangladeshi content to the global platform and bringing international content to the doorstep of Bangladeshi audience. Six is the first Bangladeshi content by LBC media , that will be released in Eros now globally in April.
ZEE5 Global has unveiled the first look of its upcoming web series "Contract," starring Bangladesh's Chanchal Chowdhury and Arifin Shuvoo in the lead roles.
The web series is an action-packed political thriller based on the book of the same name by renowned Bangladeshi author Mohammad Nazim Uddin.
Following the success of "Mainkar Chipay" and "WTFry," "Contract" promises to be the next big hit for the OTT platform.
Like the other Bangla originals, "Contract" will also be free to watch for Bangladeshi viewers.
Nazim Uddin's thriller book "Contract" narrates the story of how the rich and powerful exploit the weak and create contract killers for their gain.
This is the first time Chanchal Chowdhury and Arifin Shuvoo will share the screen in a web series.
Actors Shamol Mawla, Zakia Bari Mamo, Rafiath Rashid Mithila and Tariq Anam Khan will also play key roles in the series.
Directed by Tanim Noor and Krishnendu Chattopadhyay, "Contract" is also featuring Parthe Sarkar as the associate director.
Arifin Shuvoo revealed the first look of the show on Tuesday evening by sharing the official poster of the series on his social media handles.
"Contract" is set to be released on March 18 on all the available platforms of ZEE5.