Bollywood’s Amitabh Bachchan becomes farmers’ star after clearing loans

Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan wrote in his blog this week that he had helped 1,398 farmers from the northern state of Uttar Pradesh and felt a ‘sense of accomplishment.’ (AFP)
Updated 21 November 2018
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Bollywood’s Amitabh Bachchan becomes farmers’ star after clearing loans

  • Farmers and other agriculture workers together make up about half India’s 1.3 billion people
  • Bachchan wrote in his blog this week that he had helped 1,398 farmers from the northern state of Uttar Pradesh and felt a ‘sense of accomplishment’

CHENNAI, India: Bollywood veteran Amitabh Bachchan was hailed on Wednesday as a star of India’s farmers after clearing loans worth more than 40 million rupees ($560,000) as an agricultural crisis forces many rural workers into extreme poverty.
India’s farmers have been hit hard by a drop in commodity prices, stagnant wages, record fuel prices and high fertilizer costs, sparking rallies across the country this year calling for better prices for produce and loan waivers.
Farmers and other agriculture workers together make up about half India’s 1.3 billion people.
“It is a very big problem that has left farmers across the country in dire straits,” Rakesh Tikait, spokesperson of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Indian Farmers’ Union) told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a phone interview.
“The government policies are flawed and need an overhaul. We are fighting for that change but are thankful for any help that comes along the way.”
Tikait said Bachchan’s gesture might have been symbolic but it meant a lot for farmers who were struggling to survive.
More than 12,600 farmers and agricultural workers committed suicide in 2015 alone, accounting for about 10 percent of all suicides in India, with almost 60 percent of suicides caused by bankruptcy and indebtedness, according to official data.
Bachchan, one of Indian cinema’s most revered actors, wrote in his blog this week that he had helped 1,398 farmers from the northern state of Uttar Pradesh and felt a “sense of accomplishment.”
“Gratitude leans across to the desire of removing some of the burdens that farmers continue to suffer ... and the inner peace it generates when the desired is completed,” he wrote.


Manga fan favorite coming soon to Gulf cinemas

Updated 23 May 2019
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Manga fan favorite coming soon to Gulf cinemas

  • Set in Singapore, it is the first Detective Conan film based outside Japan
  • In 2018, “Detective Conan: Zero the Enforcer” was released across the Arab world

DUBAI: The Japanese animated film “Detective Conan: The Fist of Blue Sapphire” is set to be released in cinemas across the Gulf.

The film is directed by Tomoka Nagaoka (assistant director of “Detective Conan: The Crimson Love Letter”) and written by Takahiro Okura, while Katsuo Ono returns as music composer.

Set in Singapore, it is the first Detective Conan film based outside Japan. When a local billionaire plans to retrieve the world’s largest sapphire, which has been resting at the bottom of the ocean since the 19th century, a murder occurs.

Conan must go to the famous Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore to solve the case and bring the culprit to justice.

It follows the 2018 film “Detective Conan: Zero the Enforcer,” and is the 23rd instalment of the “Case Closed” film series based on the manga series of the same name by Gosho Aoyama.

Detective Conan franchise regulars Minami Takayama, Wakana Yamazaki and Rikiya Koyama return as Conan Edogawa, Ran Mouri, and Kogoro Mouri respectively. Kappei Yamaguchi reprises his role as Kaito Kid.

BACKGROUND

The popularity of “Detective Conan” in the Arab world dates back to 2000, and is still dominant today as fans in the region eagerly welcome the new “Detective Conan” movies.

In 2018, “Detective Conan: Zero the Enforcer” was released across the Arab world and received rave reviews as audiences flocked to see Conan solve mysterious cases.

In Japan, “Detective Conan: The Fist of Blue Sapphire” sold more than 300,000 tickets and earned $3.8 million in box office sales on its opening day.

Topping the Japanese box office, the film grossed $17 million during its opening weekend, setting a new franchise record.

Remarkably, the movie unseated “Avengers: Endgame” from the top spot just one month after the latter’s official release.

“The Fist of Blue Sapphire” has since grossed more than $68 million in Japan, becoming the second-highest-grossing “Detective Conan” film after “Zero the Enforcer.”

The new film will be released  in the UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia on June 13.