Feb. 6, 2004: News From Abroad
Pop sensations, Shinhwa, prepare for an encore concert in Seoul, Korea. Courtesy of Soompi.com.

Feb. 6, 2004: News From Abroad

From Mariah Carey's world tour being dennounced in Malaysia, to "Shinhwa" gearing up for another encore preformance, and clubbers preparing for the Heineken Thirst Tour. Check out these stories and more in this issue of News From Abroad.

By Meina Banh

Mariah Carey's Tour is Too Sexy for Malaysian Audiences
Sexy songstress Mariah Carey has caused quite a stir in Malaysia. The pop diva known for her sensational voice is causing conflict over her scheduled February 22 concert appearance at Kuala Lumpur. As part of her "Charmbracelet" world tour, Mariah Carey was set to take the stage, and indulge her Malaysian fans with her hit songs. However, Malaysia's opposition Islamic Party (PAS) protested the move to allow the pop diva to hold a concert, believing that her appearance would encourage moral degradation among the youth. In addition, they also said that Carey's concert would be disrespectful to Muslims because it coincided with a religious holiday.

In a letter addressed to Tourism Minister Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir, PAS representatives said that allowing Carey to perform would be "disrespecting the sensitivities of Muslims." They further went on to state that they "cannot accept such an immoral concert," for it "challenged the status of Islam as Malaysia's official religion."

This isn't the first time that PAS has interjected on a tourism ministry scheduled event. Back in October, PAS also disapproved of rock group Linkin Park performing. The youth wing of PAS called for an immediate cancellation of Carey's concert, and urged the government to apologize to Muslims. PAS feels that the government should organize programs that would benefit the Muslim community, who make up about 60 percent of Malaysia's population, and not programs that devalue their preception of good eastern values.

No Desire to be Shocked by Movie Poster
Director Kim Eung-su's Desire may prove to be too provocative for the Korea Media Rating Board. Since the release date is set on February 20th, Myung Film has been trying to publicize the movie with a racy poster. However, the Media Rating Board decided to censor the movie poster because it was too controversial and highly sexualized.

The movie revolves around a married couple who has extra-marital relations with the same man. The poster depicts the shocking theme of a man and a wife's desire for another man. The husband (Ahn Nae-sang), his lover (Lee Dong-kyu), and his wife (Lee Sua) in a conflict over the relationship. After wife, Lee Sua, discovers her husband, Ahn Nae-sang, cheating on her, Sua tries to woo lover Lee Dong-kyu away. Dong-kyu was photographed half naked for the poster.

The marketing director of Myung Film, Min Ji-eun, said that the photograph is not as shocking as many other Korean movie posters. Min added that it seems the story of a man and a couple in a sexual relationship may have been  what worried the rating board, not so much the actual poster itself.

Malliswari to Grace Indian Silver Screens
The next big release from Suresh Indian Production studios is Malliswari, set to hit the silver screens February 12th. The much anticipated film will star Venkatesh, and Katrina Kaif, who are romantically involved in the film, and is directed by Vijay Bhaskar.

Malliswari is a big production movie filled with extravagant songs and filmed in exotic and picturesque locations. The final song for the movie was just recently completed and launched on January 30th at Hyderabad's new hot and happening, 10 Down Street Pub. The pre-released currently out by Koity are becoming major hits, and hopefully this foreshadows the future success of the film.

Park Ji Yoon to Leave Entertainment Industry?

Cyber terror has caused signer Park Ji Yoon to consider leaving the entertainment business. Yoon, who is 22, said in an interview that rumors on the internet "shocked" her, and that she's at a "loss for words." Yoon was nearly silent for ten months on the issue after finishing her album in April 2003. She spent most of the time contemplating on this difficult matter, and stayed quite on the issue for reasons that she was "hurt," and "doubt[ed] the entertainment industry." Now Yoon wonders if she should continue.

Because cyber crime is so difficult to investigate, Yoon kept to herself and dealt with the issue. Last year, after revealing her title song "Hal Jul Al Oh" (Can You Do It?), Yoon received a warning from the Christian Ethics Community for her provocative title. Having been raised a devout Christian, with a mother who is a deacon, she told reporters that she just did what the management company requested "without thinking." Despite the tough road paved, Park Ji Yoon plans to return to television on the SBS drama Shin In Gan Shi Jang in March.

Shinwa's "Winter Story"
Having just finished their successful, nationwide "Winter Story Tour," the popular group Shinwa has scheduled one final encore concert in Seoul. They will be performing two shows on February 21 at the Olympic Stadium. Shinhwa started their tour in Seoul at the end of last year and continued on to Busan, Daejon, Inchon, Daegu, Kwangu. 

Shinhwa has also been expanding in popularity. Their new album Winter Story has sold 100,000 copies in a month and their title song "Young Gunz" is a highly requested song on radio stations. In addition, Shinhwa's fan base has been expanding to include not only Chinese and Americans, but Japanese fans as well, which was evidenced by the audience turnout at this year's tour. Having added this group to its fan base, Shinhwa has scheduled an "Asia Tour at Tokyo" in March.

Bollywood Looses Popular Actress to Illness
During the 1940s, one of the most popular actresses in India's Hindi film industry was Suraiyya, who was best remembered for her rich, sultry, and powerful voice. After a brief illness recently in Bombay, Suraiyya passed at the age of 75 on January 31, 2004. She was admitted to a hospital, and stayed for a couple of weeks. Medical sources say that Suraiyya complained of loss of appetite, low blood sugar and general weakness.
Born in the northern Pakistani city of Lahore in 1929, Suraiyya began her career in India's Hindi film industry based in Bombay in 1941. In 1946, she debuted as supporting actress but soon garnered enough success to transition into lead actress roles. she was already on her way to stealing the hearts of leading Bollywood onscreen men. Suraiyya's popularity grew as she went on to star in hits including Pyaar ki Jeet (Love Triumphs), Badi Bahen (Elder Sister) and Dillagi (Flirtation).

Between 1948 and 1951, during the high point of Suraiyya's career, she was the highest paid female actress. Suraiyya was adored by her fans and often caused traffic jams and clamors when out in public. However, by 1951, Suraiyya was disenchanted by the media scene and quit film making after her grandmother broke up her romance with Bollywood's leading man of the time, Dev Anand. She made a brief comeback in 1954 but her popularity was diminshing and she permanently bowed out of Bollywood a decade later in 1964. Her fans and friends in Bollywood will never forget her.

Clubbers in Malaysia Prepare for "Heineken Thirst Tour"
Attention all clubbers in Malaysia! Prepare to get your funk on as the second installment of the "Heineken Music Release Thirst Tour" is making a stop on the sandy beaches of Malaysia between April 1-9. The "Thirst Tour" has already played to hundreds of thousands of clubbers in 23 countries and is preparing to bring the party wagon to Kuala Lumpur.

After opening in Ireland in October, the second stage of the "Heineken Thirst Tour," will now make its start in Malaysia, bringing such musical guests and DJs such as Pete Tong, DJ Tiesto, Paul Oakenfold, Smokin' Jo and Daniele Davoli. The arena sized shows are said to be some of the biggest dance parties anywhere in the world. DJ Tiesto is the current headlining act on the tour. Tiesto is known for his impressive mixing skills and is a leading talent in turntable creativity. He has been awarded international titles like the Dutch Pop Award, the top spot in the renowned DJ Magazine's Top 100, as well as the Best DJ award at the Dancestar USA Awards. Tiesto will be displaying his mixing skills in Kuala Lumpur on May 10. 

More information, please visit  www.heineken.com.

YCC Film Awards
Established in 1990, the Young Critics Circle is a critics groups made of members from various disciplines, not only film. The YCC is actually quite unique, going against many conventional aspects of critics organizations. For example, YCC doesn't have an award for Best Director. Instead, the award for Best Film is reserved solely for the Director. The Best Performance award is the most coveted award as it is given to any male, female, child, or adult actor, preforming in an ensemble or individually. No film can be considered for YCC honors unless it attains its play date and full theatrical run within the given year.  

And the winners of the 14th Annual Circle Citations for Distinguished Achievement in Film for 2003 are...

Best Film of the Year
Winner: Babae sa Breakwater directed by Mario O'Hara (Entertainment Warehouse; Arlene Aguas, Executive Producer; Marie Eleanor Aguas, Associate Producer; Judy W. Teodoro, Line Producer)

Best Screenplay
Winner: Babae sa Breakwater (Entertainment Warehouse) - Mario O'Hara

Best Achievement in Cinematography and Visual Design
Winner: Babae sa Breakwater (Entertainment Warehouse) - Rey de Leon, Director of Photography; Melody Teodoro, Production Designer

Best Achievement in Film Editing
Winner: Malikmata (Octoarts; Canary)-Vito Cajili

Best Achievement in Sound
Winner: Anghel sa Lupa (Regal) - Ross Diaz, Sound Engineer; Jesse Lucas, Musical Director

Best Performance
Winner: Katherine Luna in Babae sa Breakwater (Entertainment Warehouse)