Nicolas Cage to return stolen T-Rex skull

Plus: Star Wars takes China by storm; Shah Rukh Khan hits back at critics of Dilwale; stream The Beatles for free form today; Rohit Bal to close Lakme Fashion Week; and Telugu singer records song for Kannada film.

Nicolas Cage. AFP
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Actor Nicolas Cage has agreed to give back a national treasure stolen from Mongolia. A publicist for the star said that Cage was the unwitting buyer of a stolen dinosaur skull. Prosecutors in New York announced last week that they were seeking court approval to seize the 32-inch fossil and return it to the Asian nation, but did not name the buyer. Cage bought the skull at auction from the LA-based I M Chait gallery and auction house, and it came with a certificate of authenticity, publicist Alex Schack said. After being notified last year that authorities suspected it was stolen, the actor "fully cooperated with the investigation, including arranging an inspection of the fossil by agents", and agreed to forfeit it, Schack added. Investigators believe the skull was looted from the Gobi Desert in Mongolia and shipped to Florida in June 2006. Cage bought it at an auction in Manhattan in 2007 for US$230,000 (Dh844,824) plus commission that raised the total to $276,000. It was marketed as an "extremely rare" Tyrannosaurus skull from the late Cretaceous period, which is 65 per cent complete. – AP

Star Wars takes China by storm

After a mammoth marketing campaign, growing online chatter in China about Star Wars: Episode VII –The Force Awakens suggests the latest instalment of the sci-fi saga has a shot at breaking box- office records in the world's second-largest movie market. Success in China is crucial if Disney's first foray into the world of Jedi knights – after buying the rights to the franchise from George Lucas for US$4 billion (Dh14.6bn) – is to earn a spot among the top-grossing films of all time. The movie, partly filmed in Abu Dhabi and the seventh in a saga that began in 1977 with the release of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, has already surged past this summer's Jurassic World to set a global ­opening-weekend record of $529 million. Disney has had to work hard for its Star Wars buzz in China. Though the first film came out a year after the end of the Cultural Revolution and the death of China's founding leader Mao Zedong, the original films weren't shown in Chinese cinemas until June this year. However, after promotions that included from 500 model Stormtroopers on the Great Wall to a pop-star dubbed China's version of Justin Bieber, an analysis of posts on Chinese microblog Sina Weibo reveals that Star Wars has been mentioned about 700,000 times this month, outpacing other big Hollywood releases in China this year. – Reuters

SRK hits back at critics of Dilwale

With elements of comedy, action, romance and drama, some critics have said that Dilwale has turned out to be a Bollywood potboiler. Its star, Shah Rukh Khan, says the film never pretended to be anything else and if audiences want something different, they should wait for his upcoming film, directed by Maneesh Sharma. "If you're looking for novelty, then you should watch out for Fan," Khan says. "It's a different kind of film, supposed to be a niche. It's not meant to be a blockbuster releasing ahead of Christmas." Also starring Kajol, in her first film alongside Khan for five years, Varun Dhawan, Kriti Sanon, Sanjay Mishra and Johnny Lever, Dilwale was released on Friday and despite lukewarm reviews, has been a box-office hit. "Dilwale is an unabashedly popular commercial film." says Khan. "It's not pretending to be something else. It's meant to be watched by everyone. It has romance, comedy, drama. I don't even think that having Kajol and Shah Rukh Khan is a novelty factor, as it's just that we are doing a film together after a long time." – IANS

Stream The Beatles for free from today

Songs by The Beatles will be available across streaming music services from today, tech news and analysis website Re/code reported. Streaming music services including Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play and Amazon Prime Music are among the those set to stream the band's songs, it reported. Unlike artists such as Adele, Coldplay and Taylor Swift, who decided to not release some of their music to the free versions of music-­streaming services, The Beatles will be available for free to its users, Re/code said. – Reuters

Rohit Bal to close LakmÉ Fashion Week

New Delhi designer-to-Bollywood-stars Rohit Bal will bring the curtain down on Lakmé Fashion Week Summer-Resort 2016. The 54-year-old will stage the grand-finale show at The St Regis Mumbai from March 30 to April 3. Bal, who last presented the closing show in 2012, said: "Great to be back again! Always a pleasure to work with the Lakmé team. The most incredible part about doing Lakmé Fashion Week is the carte blanche the designer is given. A complete and uninterrupted creative flow is what Lakmé has given me. That in itself makes doing the finale precious and priceless. I am thrilled to be given this opportunity." – IANS

Telugu singer records song for Kannada film

Telugu actor, singer and dancer Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao Jr, is to record a song this week for the upcoming Kannada film Chakravyuha. "Despite his busy schedule, he has agreed to sing," a source close to the actor said. "The song will be recorded in a studio in the city. It will be the first time he will be singing in a language apart from Telugu." Chakravyuha stars Puneeth Rajkumar and the song is rumoured to be the title track. In addition to lending his voice to Chakravyuha, NTR is also dubbing the Telugu film Nannaku Prematho, which is scheduled for release during the Hindu festival of Sankranti next year. – IANS