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Amazon Features Akshay Kumar in New Bollywood Film

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Akshay Kumar

By Ahmed Rahma

A multinational technology company, Amazon, is set to produce its first Hindi-language movie which will feature Bollywood superstar Akshay Kumar.

A statement by the tech giant on Wednesday disclosed that India’s highest-paid actor will take the lead role in the movie titled Ram Setu, which will be released in cinemas before its streaming debut on Amazon Prime Video.

“I look forward to telling the story of a significant part of Indian heritage, especially for the youth,” said Kumar, the highest-paid Indian actor in the world according to Forbes’ 2020 rankings.

“I am happy that, with Amazon Prime Video, the story will cut across geographies and strike a chord with viewers across the world.”

Amazon, Bollywood and Indian Politicians

Amazon, which has already bet big on India with its core e-commerce business, recently ruffled feathers when it was forced to issue an apology for Tandav, a drama streamed on Prime.

Politicians from India’s ruling party called for the show to be banned for “deliberately mocking Hindu gods” and disrespecting religious sentiments.

Streaming TV services are not subject to the country’s notoriously fussy censor boards, which regularly cut scenes from movies shown in cinemas and on television.

But under contentious new guidelines announced last month, streaming platforms will soon be forced to withdraw content deemed objectionable 36 hours after a complaint.

According to reports, the commotion over Tandav and the new rules are already prompting production firms to tone down programmes they are making, or even drop them.

During his visit to India last year, Amazon founder, Mr Jeff Bezos, told an audience of Bollywood filmmakers that while Prime Video was doing well in all geographies, “there’s nowhere it’s doing better than in India”.

No release date yet for the new film

Amazon has not announced a release date for Ram Setu, which refers to Adam’s Bridge, a chain of shoals off southeastern India that was built by an army of monkey warriors, according to Hindu mythology.

Global streaming platforms, including Netflix, Amazon and Disney’s Hotstar, have expanded their presence in the country of 1.3 billion in recent years, including by commissioning local productions featuring Bollywood stars.

Ahmed Rahma is a journalist with great interest in arts and craft. She is also a foodie who loves new ideas. She loves to travel and would love to visit other African countries someday. She is a sucker for historical movies and afrobeat.

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Veteran Nigerian Actor Bruno Iwuoha Dies

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Bruno Iwuoha

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

A veteran actor in Nigeria, Mr Bruno Iwuoha, has died at the age of 68.

The actor reportedly died on Saturday morning after battling with illness believed to be diabetes and glaucoma.

He was recently flown to the United States on the bills of the CEO of Morgan Entertainment, Mr Emeka Morgan and was getting better.

However, for about three weeks, he was in a coma at the National Hospital, Abuja, where he reportedly gave up the ghost today and his corpse moved to the mortuary.

Before his demise, Mr Iwuoha acted in several movies including The Cross of Love, Occultic Battle, Fire on the Mountain 2, Magic Cap, Royal Promise, Sin of the Flesh, amongst others.

The actor made his debut in the industry in a film titled Last Kingdom and in an interview, he had explained that, “Some people may say it’s inborn, but in the secondary school, I was a leader of the Atilogu dramatic society in the school within that period. That was it, until I left school.

“Until one beautiful day I came back from Port Harcourt, that period I was a registered contractor with NAFCON, so I came back to my house in Aba and met a letter dropped by one Christopher Kolon inviting me to Wilcox Memorial Secondary School in Aba for an audition.

“I went there and on getting there, I saw the likes of Ndubuisi Okoh who incidentally was director of the movie, it was titled ‘Lost Kingdom’, and Ikenna Igwe, the writer and producer of that film, and other top artistes that you can think of in the movie industry as at that time

“After the auditioning, I got a role in the film. And it was a good thing for me to play side by side the likes of Pete Edochie, Enebeli Enebuwa, Larry Koldsweat and others. These were men who had made a serious impact and name in the movie industry of Nigeria before that time.

“So, it was a real privilege, it was challenging, it was everything really. I agreed to go along with them. There were challenges and intimidations. Though I never allowed that to bear on me, because I came to do my best and I was so determined, that whatever cropped up that period, I never took it to be anything serious. I kept forging ahead and I thank God for that.”

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COVID-19: Lagos Eases Restrictions on Clubs, Hotels, Others

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Lagos State

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Lagos State Government has eased restrictions placed on activities within the events and hospitality sector, meaning clubs, event centres, hotels among others can now operate with the backing of the government.

Prior to this, Business Post understands that clubs in the metropolis have been operating with event centres hosting weddings and other ceremonies, albeit with restrictions.

The new directive was disclosed by the Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, in a statement via his official Twitter account on Saturday, April 10.

According to Mr Sanwo-Olu, the decision is being carried out to boost economic activities within the events and hospitality sector.

He said, “I have given approval for further ease of restrictions.”

He, however, noted that size must be kept at half capacity in line with coronavirus safety precautions, adding that the acceptable time frame for every event will be pegged at six hours.

“Social functions can now go on in Lagos subject to strict adherence to all COVID 19 safety protocols as directed by LSSC.

“Event centres must not exceed 50 per cent of their total capacity and not exceed 500 people irrespective of their occupancy limit,” he added.

Speaking further, he stated that, “They must also ensure deep cleaning before and after every event whilst maintaining physical distancing with 6 guests on a table meant for 10 people.

“The maximum duration for any event must not exceed six hours and the compulsory use of face mask is still in force.”

Mr Sanwo-Olu noted that the state won’t be relaxing towards its fight against the pandemic which is most prevalent in the Nigerian commercial capital.

“We will continue to balance public safety with economic interest as we work together to overcome the pandemic and ensure a COVID-19 free Lagos,” he said.

There had been series of calls by residents to the state government to lift the restrictions as they believed that it was no longer effective. Many also claimed it had emboldened security operatives to extort money from innocent Nigerians.

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Omu Resort Lagos Expands Zoo With Zebras

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Omu Resort Zebras

By Dipo Olowookere

The zoo section of Omu Resort in Lagos has been boosted with the arrival of two Zebras, making the facility become one of the few zoos in Africa to have the animal in their collection.

The black and white-striped Zebras have now increased the numbers of animals in the zoo section of the resort, giving fun-seekers the opportunity to see more animals.

Business Post reports that Omu Resort, located at Bogije, Ibeju Lekki, Lagos State, is well-known for wildlife conservation and captive breeding.

It boasts of several wild animals like the lion, hyena, monkey, crocodile, ostrich, amongst others.

The General Manager of Omu Resort, Ms Moji Ibhaze, while commenting on the latest development, described it as a “big achievement,” noting that “Omu Resort has always been first.”

She stated that the management of the facility was “happy to have the Zebras as an addition to the other animals we have in our zoo.”

“We are trying to promote conservation and captive breeding. We are thus extremely proud of the landmark recorded” she added.

Furthermore, Ms Ibhaze said that Omu Resort was proud to be the pioneer of a sea world, adding that a visit to Omu Resort’s sea world would avail visitors a collection of fishes that are peculiar to Nigerian waters.

“If you visit our sea world, you will see how we keep our fishes in wall aquariums and they are all indigenous to Nigerian waters, none is imported,” she said.

Ms Ibhaze reinstated Omu Resort’s commitment to wildlife, adding that the resort intends to bring in more animals especially endangered ones.

According to her, the resort is working with Professor (Mrs) Morenikeji of the University of Ibadan towards achieving the dream.

“Our Eland has also arrived even as we expect two Giraffes in the next 8 weeks. Space is also currently under development to receive our elephants.

Meanwhile, Happiness Michael, a staff of the resort has stated that the arrival of the Zebras will be a business ace.

According to her, “Ordinarily, when people come into the zoo section of the resort, they settle for the feeding of the lions as their premium experience.

“After seeing the lions, they ask us what else do you have? I tell them that we have several other animals and they are indeed happy to see them.

“Now, I can tell them that we have taken delivery of two Zebras. That will definitely put some smile on their faces.”

Omu Resort, which opens its doors from 9am to 6pm on Mondays to Saturdays and from 12noon to 6pm on Sundays, is set in a rainforest environment, allowing guests to experience and be inspired by the wonders of nature.

It occupies a land area of approximately 22 hectares and boarded to the North by the imposing clear waters of Omu Creek.

The organisation offers guests the ability to purchase tickets directly from the comfort of their homes with the introduction of online ticket purchase.

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Most People Mistake me for Osuofia—Ukwa South

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Ukwa South

By Dipo Olowookere

Identity crisis is one thing most people do not wish to experience because it could rob someone of many things and in some cases, it has been a blessing.

For a South African-based Nigerian actor, Sule Stanley, the headache of people mistaking him for a veteran actor, Nkem Owoh, otherwise known as Osuofia, is what is he not ready for and to minimise this, he had to settle for the name Ukwa South.

Osuofia, a well-known comic actor in the Nigerian movie industry fondly called Nollywood, is also called Ukwa.

“[The] Ukwa brand didn’t start today,” the South African-based actor told Brandafriq in an interview, explaining that, “The South was added to it because of my stay in South Africa.”

According to the role-interpreter, who described himself as a natural “lively person,” “when people talk about Ukwa sometimes, most mistake me for the great Osuofia. So, when you say Ukwa South, it’s easier to acknowledge.”

Speaking on the quality of movies shot in Nigeria, Ukwa South, who has spent over 15 years in the former apartheid country, simply said, “[The] picture quality [is] always way different from what we have back home truth be told. What you can shoot with a Red Camera or Black magic can easily be used by Canon here (South Africa) or 7D.”

But does he have any intention to change things? Yes, according to him, “I am trying to build the industry from here. So, whenever I come home, doing production won’t be hard and I am planning on opening a film school here in the nearest future.”

You may want to ask why he is not starting his charity from home? But the filmmaker, who hails from Edo State, has an answer for you as he explained the reason is because “I [have] established myself here. I started from here. Many Nigerians come here to learn cinematography and being a contact person for our people back home wouldn’t be a bad idea [to establish one in Nigeria].”

Ukwa South, who intends to be one of the prominent faces on the screens of movie-lovers in Africa in the nearest future, stated that at the moment, “I am doing my second production in six months.”

He disclosed that the film features stars like Walter Anga, Georgina Ibeh, Larry Goldsweat, Christopher Bassey, amongst others.

According to him, the Nigerian part of the flick has already been shot, while the overseas scenes, which “I am playing a significant character,” are being shot in South Africa.

Nkem Owoh Osuofia

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The Voice Nigeria Season 3 Contestants, Viewers to Get N100m

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The Voice Nigeria Season 3

By Ahmed Rahma

A leading telecommunication services provider, Airtel Nigeria, has sponsored the leading international singing competition The Voice Nigeria Season 3, which was launched in 2016.

The show, scheduled to premiere on Saturday, March 27, 2021, aims to discover and nurture new talents, offering them a credible platform to be positioned at the forefront of the country’s music industry, whilst preparing them for the global stage.

To host this year’s competition are two outstanding females in the media world, which are award-winning TV host, Nancy Isime and popular On-Air Personality (OAP) and entrepreneur, Toke Makinwa.

In a statement to announce the sponsorship, it was stated that talents and fans will go home with over N100 million in prizes, with the winning talent of The Voice Nigeria Season 3 walking away with a monetary reward, a brand-new car, and an international recording contract.

Commenting on Airtel’s sponsorship, Chief Commercial Officer, Airtel Nigeria, Dinesh Balsingh, expressed delight at the company’s drive to contribute to the growth of the Nigerian music industry through resourceful partnerships that will not only help groom and nurture local talents but also offer them a platform to international stardom.

“Airtel is delighted to return as a sponsor of The Voice Nigeria Season 3, which has grown, over the past two seasons, to become one of the most watched television programmes in Africa.

“This sponsorship is a glowing testimony to Airtel’s passion and commitment to empower and invest in young, talented Nigerians and also offer them a strong platform to showcase their talent to the world.

“Airtel remains committed to supporting the Nigerian music industry, which is making waves globally by connecting with hearts and souls not just across Nigeria, but across the world.” he added.

For the first time the highly anticipated season 3 of The Voice Nigeria will be produced in the country in partnership with UN1TY Limited and Livespot360.

It was also disclosed that the season 3 will be in four stages, which includes the Blind Auditions, followed by the Knockouts, then the Battle Rounds and, finally, the Live Performance Shows.

According to the statement, the coaches of the show, Darey, Yemi Alade, Waje and Falz will seek 12 talents for their teams and work with them during the show to hone their skills and prepare the successful acts, who make it to the Live Performance Shows to battle it out on a global stage.

To watch the show, music lovers are to tune in to Airtel TV by 8pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

The Airtel TV app, which is available on Android and iOS, is subscription-free and offers registered users unlimited access to live TV, news and the entire Airtel TV content library.

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Kanye West’s Net Worth Reaches $6.6bn Amid Divorce Saga

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Kanye West

By Ahmed Rahma

Amid divorce from wife, Kim Kardashian, an American rapper and fashion designer, Kanye West, became the wealthiest black man in America with a $6.6 billion net worth.

It was reported that the 43-year-old rapper, who is also a politician, net worth largely came from his Yeezy fashion brand.

The rapper’s sneaker and apparel business now bolstered by Adidas AG and Gap Inc. is valued between $3.2 billion and $4.7 billion by UBS Group AG, according to a media outlet.

The father-of-four has an additional $1.7 billion in assets, $122 million in cash and stock, and $110 from his music career.

The fashion designing journey of the rapper who claimed to be undervalued started in 2006 when he designed a shoe for Adidas but was never released.

The first brand to officially collaborate with Kanye West was Bape.

Together, West and Bape released a pair of Bapesta “College Dropout” shoes, which are now quite rare and garner high resell prices. He has also designed shoes for Louis Vuitton and Giuseppe Zanotti, and most notably Nike.

His collaboration with Nike lasted for five years and led to the release of a total of three (two silhouettes, Yeezy 1 and the Yeezy 2) sneaker styles.

In 2013, after the release of the “Red October” Air Yeezy 2s, Kanye West officially left Nike.

Although West described this break as “heartbreaking”, he claimed that Nike would not pay him royalties for his shoe designs, instead offering to pay some of the proceeds to a charity of West’s choice.

This ultimately led West to reach out to Adidas and the popular brand agreed to give him royalties, which made West describe the CEO of Adidas as “someone who allowed [him] to build something”.

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