The Diary: Shantaram film; Lumiere festival; Tom Atkinson; Hans Holbein; Harold Evans

Underworld tale won't see light of day

The film adaptation of the bestselling book, 'Shantaram', which was due to feature the dual talents of Hollywood's Johnny Depp and the Bollywood legend, Amitabh Bachchan, has been shelved, Bachchan told me in a flying visit to London this week. The New York-based film director, Mira Nair, who has won plaudits at the Cannes Film Festival for such acclaimed films as 'Salaam Bombay!' and 'Monsoon Wedding', had enlisted both actors for the film adaptation, announced two years ago. But Bachchan said she had phoned him to tell him the whole project had been "shelved". He said: "She didn't say why but she just told me that it was shelved." 'Shantaram' was to be based on the book by Gregory David Roberts, which tells the story of an escaped Australian convict who travels through continents and ends up in Mumbai's underworld. Nair had cast Depp in the lead role in the film with Bachchan agreeing to play the Mumbai-based gangster called Kader Bhai who becomes Depp's mentor and father figure.

Illuminating art

The illustrated pages of 'The Lindisfarne Gospels' were projected on to the front of Durham Cathedral in a weekend-long festival that began last night. Lumiere is the latest extravaganza produced by Artichoke, the organisation behind Antony Gormley's fourth plinth commission. More than 50 artists are preparing to set Durham ablaze with their illuminations, including a series of huge swinging pendulums of light that will be suspended in the Cathedral's nave, and drawings by offenders from Durham prison.

Make a killing...

The film-maker Tom Atkinson has sent out a brief to writers to create a death scene which is as inventive as it is abominable to feature in a forthcoming horror film. The producer, who set up the 10 Pound Horror Film Company, has launched the competition for film fans to "create a kill". More than 150 ideas have been proffered so far; one writer suggested burying someone alive in fresh cement. Might I point this writer to the last scene in the Italian film, 'The Consequences of Love'. It's already been done.

A battle royal for a national treasure

A Hans Holbein painting of Christina of Denmark, the young widowed Duchess of Milan who was a prospective wife of Henry VIII but famously turned him down, may serve as a constant reminder of the King's hubris, but it was saved for the nation in 1909 when The Art Fund launched a campaign to prevent its export to America. The charity was struggling to raise the £72,000 required when a telegram arrived from "an unknown English lady at a German watering place" offering to make up the entire deficit. The one condition was that her name was never divulged; to this day, it is passed in a sealed envelope from chairman to chairman (The Art Fund still possesses the envelope). The painting is now one of the most important works at the National Gallery, London.

The paper chase that leads nowhere

Waterstone's has spoken out against broadsides by Harold Evans. In a piece in 'The Spectator', he claims that his autobiography, 'My Paper Chase', cannot be found on their shelves due to the shop's new, centralised distribution system, The Hub. He quipped that the store had arranged "not to have books in the bookstores. Apparently, they achieved this by installing some monstrous new machinery in their 'supply chain'." Waterstone's came back smarting: "His book, as well as all the books he mentions, are stocked in hundreds of our stores as well as on Waterstones.com..."

Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
TV
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams plays 'bad ass' Arya Stark in Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne modelling

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars with Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders II

TV
Arts and Entertainment

art
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West is on his 'Yeezus' tour at the moment

Music
Arts and Entertainment
Rob James-Collier, who plays under-butler Thomas Barrow, admitted to suffering sleepless nights over the Series 5 script

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence star in new film 'Serena'

film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week