Jen more than friend for Liam

LOS ANGELES (BTG): Jennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth have sparked romance rumours. The two stars play Katniss Everdeen and Gale Hawthorne respectively in The Hunger Games franchise. Their characters have a love story of sorts and it seems life could be imitating art, with reports Jennifer and Liam have grown closer while promoting the latest film in the series Mockingjay - Part 1. ‘They intend on keeping things very low-key so they can both see where fate takes them,’ an insider told Heat magazine. Liam split from his fiancée Miley Cyrus last year and recently admitted Jennifer helped get him through that because she is so fun to be around and helped him live in the moment. Jennifer is also thought to be single following the end of her short-lived romance with Coldplay’s Chris Martin, and has apparently leaned on Liam following the split. ‘They’ve always had insane chemistry, but they’ve never been single at the same time before. In fact, when they first met on the set of The Hunger Games, Liam’s then-fiancé Miley Cyrus flew out, possibly to keep an eye on them, I think, because she was jealous,’ the insider said.

‘Jen and Liam have been friends for years and she’s always confided in him about the drama in her love life. She’s really leaned on him during all the drama with Chris. ‘ Even before promotional duties the pair have apparently been spending time together. Jennifer reportedly invited Liam to see her in Los Angeles so they could go over strategy for their media tour, but it led to a more personal conversation. ‘Jen started pouring her heart out about Chris and things got personal. Liam knows Jen loves koala bears so, the next day, he had an enormous stuffed toy koala sent to Jen with a note saying, ‘Hold out for the perfect man,’‘ the source explained. Although the signs are good, both the stars want to take things slowly. As they’ve both been burnt in the past they are in no hurry to jump straight in to a full-on romance. If they do it’s thought things could go well though, as they both prefer to fly under the radar rather than have their love life splashed around headlines.

Iranian blues and jazz bands find fans in Tehran

DUBAI (Reuters): Behzad Omrani grew up in Tehran, in a house ringing to the sounds of his father’s record collection - mostly the twangs and twirls of American Country & Western. Years later he formed Bomrani, one of the Islamic Republic’s first country-blues bands, and one of a handful of groups that has started disrupting the local music scene with performances a world away from Iran’s traditional rhythms. ‘I really like Johnny Cash, Muddy Waters, Bob Dylan, John Denver, B.B. King, Gogol Bordello, Eric Clapton and Roger Waters,’ the 29-year-old told Reuters by phone from the Iranian capital. His father brought his records back from his studies in Tennessee. Omrani’s distinctive gruff voice and six-piece band had now taken those influences onto the stages of Tehran. Five-member band Pallett has been finding similar success with its jazzier fusions of clarinet, cello and double bass. Both bands’ musical styles are a refreshing alternatives to generic pop that is breaking out in other parts of the music scene. But the subject matter of their songs is less likely to jolt traditionalists in the Islamic state.

‘A Thousand Tales’, one of Pallett’s most popular songs, is infused with imagery of soldiers and revolutionaries, evoking memories of Iran’s eight-year long war with Iraq.

‘The brother is covered with blood. The brother will rise, like the sun into a house,’ sings frontman Omid Nemati. Fan Sarah Nasiri said the song brought back images of her childhood. ‘It brings back to life those dark years. In many ways, we lost our childhood because of the war’ said the young woman, whose brother served in the war as a pilot. Pallett’s songs pop up on Spotify and iTunes but band co-founder Rouzbeh Esfandarmaz said he does not know who is selling the royalties to use the songs, or getting money from them being played. ‘We get no money and we don’t even know who is selling them ... Whoever it is, I hope that they get what they deserve!’ he joked. They have to resort to making money the old-fashioned way at home, selling 60,000 copies of their first CD, ‘Mr Violet’.

Japanese tough guy actor Ken Takakura dies

TOKYO (Reuters): Ken Takakura, an actor known as ‘Japan’s Clint Eastwood’ for his portrayal of tough but principled gangsters in over 100 movies and who gained international fame in director Ridley Scott’s ‘Black Rain,’ has died at the age of 83. Takakura, who played alongside U.S. stars such as Tom Selleck and starred in movies directed by Sydney Pollack and China’s Zhang Yimou, died on Nov. 10 of lymphoma, his office said on Tuesday. Born Goichi Oda in Oita, on the southwestern island of Kyushu, Takakura got his start in film in 1955 when he dropped into an audition at Toei, one of Japan’s biggest film studios, out of curiosity.  He became known to international audiences through roles in Pollack’s 1975 ‘The Yakuza,’ where he starred with U.S. actor Robert Mitchum, and the 1992 comedy ‘Mr. Baseball.’ In 2005 he appeared in Zhang’s ‘Riding alone for Thousands of Miles.’ But it was in the 1989 police thriller ‘Black Rain’, where he played a Japanese policeman dealing with Michael Douglas in the role of an irritable New York cop, that he gained international renown.