Friday, December 26, 2014

Ugly (2014) Film Recommendation Post | Ronit Roy, Rahul Bhat & Vineet Kumar Singh, Dir: Anurag Kashyap - Shivom Oza

Each one of us has an UGLY side. No, it's not the concealed pimple/hidden scar. It's anger/hatred!

When was the last time you took advantage of somebody who was weak/gullible? When was the last time that you plotted to bring somebody down? Have you ever physically/verbally/mentally abused someone? Have you ever gotten angry only to realize later that you shouldn't have?

'Not being able to control oneself' is an excuse that criminals give after they've committed a crime.

Anurag Kashyap's Ugly showed me my UGLY side. Do watch the film and see if you can find yours. Peace!

Shivom Oza

Monday, November 24, 2014

There's a Festival for Everything - Shivom Oza

Watching 28 movies in 7 days at the Mumbai Film Festival was a life-altering experience. I was sold to the magic of cinema. Attending 7 live events in a week at the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival got me hooked on to theatre and stand-up comedy.

Going to the Times Literary Carnival gave me better perspective on issues of national/social/global importance. I attended NH7 Weekender, and my respect for music and musicians has grown manifold.

Lesson learnt - If you wish to develop a passion for literature/cinema/theatre/music etc. and don't know where to begin from, give cultural festivals a shot!

Shivom Oza

Friday, November 7, 2014

Kitna Hua? Kitna Baaki Hai? - Shivom Oza

How much am I earning? When is the weekend coming? How many hours to go before I leave for the day? If I plan a trip, how many days' leave should I apply for? How many likes did my FB post get? How much time is it going to take for me to reach my destination? How many words to go before I touch 100?

Invariably, we spend most of our day - and life - keeping a count of everything, and then wonder why we've become so dull. If only, we valued moments as much as we value numbers!

Shivom Oza

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Let's celebrate death! - Shivom Oza

Let's nuke the Pakistanis. They killed 5 of our own and we retaliated by killing 15 on the other side. Bravo, crush them!

If this was cricket - I could understand the overt enthusiasm and cheerleading. Never imagined that there would be a day when we would start cheering the fact that the opposition is losing more number of lives than we are, instead of wickets.

Wars never brought peace in Ukraine/Kashmir/Iraq/Afghanistan. Surely, a nation must protect its borders from insurgencies. However, the jingoism must end.

"War can never be ended by war" - Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai

Shivom Oza

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

I'd love to quit my job and travel, but.. - Shivom Oza

Ever heard of people who quit their corporate jobs to travel around the world? Their blogs feature wondrous stories, photographs & videos that encapsulate their nomadic life. I've daydreamed about resigning, packing my bags and setting off to Romania/Cambodia/Bolivia/Guatemala, while waiting for the Churchgate local.

However, like money makes the world go round, it is what makes you go around the world as well. I wonder how these people manage their expenses.

I can't wait to take the plunge, but looking at the trends in salaries at Indian workplaces - I might have to buy a lottery ticket soon.

Shivom Oza

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Sabki Ulti Ginti Chalu! - Shivom Oza

A much-revered CM gets jailed for an 18-year-old corruption case. A superstar, son-sibling to former parliamentarians, is imprisoned for illegal possession of arms. Another superstar awaits trial in multiple court cases. We've had PMs who've wronged the nation, time and again.

These individuals can do no wrong in the eyes of their supporters. The popularity of these individuals has diminished the enormity of their 'alleged' crimes.

These recent big-ticket judgements have been a relief, and it remains to be seen how many more demigods and demigoddesses get convicted.

To quote Bajirao Singham - seedhi baat - sabki ulti ginti chalu!

Shivom Oza

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Mere Bhagwan Pe Mat Ja! - Shivom Oza

A young female animal rights activist was attacked by a mob in Bhopal recently. Her fault was that she held a peaceful protest in front of a mosque, appealing for a vegan Bakri Eid. She happened to be Muslim. Whoa!

I am damn sure that had an environmental activist held a protest calling for an end to visarjans, he/she would have been attacked as well.

Don't be surprised!

This is us. We can discuss Bollywood, Modi, Economy, Sex, Jobs, Life & Cricket peacefully.

Lekin mere bhagwan ke baare mein kuch mat bolna warna..

Long live intolerance!

'God' bless.

Shivom Oza

Monday, September 22, 2014

Television for a 90s kid! - Shivom Oza

It used to be Dekh Bhai Dekh. Then came - Hip Hip Hurray. Movers and Shakers & KBC were loved by one and all. Dubbed versions of Small Wonder & Different Strokes were great, but 'F.R.I.E.N.D.S.' happened. Roadies dragged us back here for a bit, yet HIMYM was the clincher. Then came The Big Bang Theory, Entourage, Dexter, Modern Family etc. We were sold. Now, we lap up Breaking Bad/Sherlock/Game of Thrones. Quite frankly, I'd rather go back to Dekh Bhai Dekh. The 90s generation wouldn't have it any other way, methinks.

Shivom Oza

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Are you mocking me? - Shivom Oza

An old friend stammered while talking. He used to be called 'Hakla', often! Dark-complexioned are often called 'Kaala' without reason. There are people who've based their mannerisms/sense of style upon those of the opposite sex. Yes, 'Chakka'! I happen to have squint, and I've had the colourful word 'Kanya' thrown at me.

Chinki, Bauna, Totla..

I have called people names too. When I think about it now, I feel terrible. I hope that those of you reading this, who outrage so much against racism, sexism, inequality etc. in your daily lives, take a moment to ponder upon this.

Shivom Oza

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Adoption by choice, not compulsion! - Shivom Oza

We've heard of couples opting to adopt only during exceptional circumstances - can't conceive/gay/have resources to bring up biological as well as adopted children. Else, seldom do married couples choose to adopt instead of conceiving their own child.

I've discussed this thought with a few people, and they've thrown words like 'own child', 'our blood' etc. However, can't we look beyond all this? Whenever I come across an unfortunate family-less child, I wonder what could have been had he/she been adopted as a toddler. If only, we stopped thinking about 'our blood' and treated every life as it were!

Shivom Oza

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

No terrorist is completely guilty - Shivom Oza

November 27, 2008.

I was devastated to know about the loss of innocent lives. However, my heart went out to the several young gunmen.

Can we really blame them? They were probably raised in an environment where killing for justice was considered acceptable. They were brought up on misguided tales of injustices meted out to 'their' people, while children around the world learnt the alphabet, vowels and mathematics. They had to make the choice between poverty and terrorism, while people their age broke sweat over Science, Commerce and Arts.

Punish them, surely. Yet, is it truly their fault?

Shivom Oza

Monday, August 25, 2014

There's no accounting for taste - Shivom Oza

"How can you possibly like Rowdy Rathore? It's 'senseless' - an insult to cinema."

This is what I was told when I publicly revealed that I loved the Akshay Kumar-starrer. Do you have to watch Kashyap/Motwane/Scorsese/Allen/Fincher etc., to be certified as a film buff? Likewise, why can't anyone who only reads Chetan Bhagat, be proud to call himself/herself a reader?

Having an opinion is one thing; imposing it on others is what I'd call 'senseless'. No one has the right to choose what you should read/watch/think/say, but you.

BTW, I loved Kick. There's no accounting for taste.

Shivom Oza

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Begin Again (2014) Film Recommendation Post | Mark Ruffalo, Keira Knightley - Shivom Oza

How does one cope up with a broken marriage, an estranged daughter and unemployment at the same time? An erstwhile music-business executive Dan (Mark Ruffalo), going through all the aforementioned troubles, attempts to redeem himself by helping a young singer-writer Gretta (Keira Knightley), who has her own share of problems, realize her potential in the field of music. Begin Again is a moving slice-of-life story about getting second chances in life. If you've ever gone through periods of self-doubt (post failure/betrayal), Begin Again should sort your head out. If the movie doesn't move you, its soundtrack definitely will!

Shivom Oza

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Work Culture in India - Shivom Oza

The work culture in Indian organizations is abominable. A part of the salary gets deducted for coming late, but no compensation is given to those who have to stick around after work hours. If you happen to give extra time to work, you're supposed to be a 'dedicated' employee. Saturday is a working day (ridiculous). The employers stick to the rule book as long as it is convenient for them. They should realize that if they let their employees be, the latter will perform better. However, there is zero trust. The Indian work culture desperately needs an overhaul.

Shivom Oza

Where are the all-rounders? - Shivom Oza

Bhuvneshwar Kumar, India's opening fast bowler, happened to score two 50s during the first Test match against England, last week. I read that some 'experts' are pondering over whether he is the fast bowling all-rounder, the Indian cricket team is desperately looking for! Such reportage left a few questions in my mind - Why do we jump to conclusions? Why are we so desperate for quick-fix solutions? Why are we so impatient? What pleasure do we get by ruining careers out of having unrealistic expectations? Ans. We are like that only! By the way, when will 'achche din' arrive?

Shivom Oza

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Just voting will not make any difference! - Shivom Oza

Do all our duties and responsibilities towards our country, begin and end with voting? Just vote, and sit back and watch the tamasha unfold over the next five years, on our television screens! Convenient, isn't it? We want a non-corrupt government, but are we ourselves 100% clean? We want 0% crime rate, but have we never broken the law? We want better infrastructure, but have we never littered? We want equal rights for everybody, but have we never discriminated? We want change, but are we willing to change ourselves? Do cast your vote. However, it doesn't end there.

Shivom Oza

Monday, April 7, 2014

Yellow (2014) Film Recommendation Post | Gauri Gadgil & Mrinal Kulkarni, Dir: Mahesh Limaye - Shivom Oza

This weekend, I watched a Marathi film Yellow, which was based on the life of a mentally challenged girl named Gauri Gadgil, who overcomes odds to become a champion swimmer. It is one of the most inspiring sporting stories that I have come across. How do we usually react when we see somebody who is mentally handicapped? We pity them, and worry about their future. After having watched this movie, I will not do that anymore. We may not realize it, but they do find their happiness in things that appeal to them. They are not necessarily 'suffering'!

Shivom Oza

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Boring at the top! - Shivom Oza

India may become T20 champions. Shouldn't I be excited? Wasn't this the tournament (2007) that gave rise to T20, Indian cricket, IPL and Dhoni - all at one go? We had not won anything back then in a very long time! Since then, BCCI has added a T20WC, ICC WC and a Champions Trophy to its cabinet. I don't know about the players but for the fans, the excitement does fade a trifle when victories come by the dozen. Wonder how the Aussie fans kept the enthusiasm going for a decade or so when their cricket team won everything!

Shivom Oza

Monday, March 31, 2014

8 Plays You Must Watch (Part 2) - Shivom Oza

Sex Morality & Censorship - Terrific theatrical presentation on the way censorship has affected the lives of artistes; spectacular song-and-dance sequences

Vagina Monologues - This is not a play for 'women only'; features female chracters from several walks of life, who narrate stories that vary from being rip-roaring to gut-wrenching

Piya Behrupiya - A Hindi-language musical adaptation of William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night; powerful performances and exceptional live singing on stage; recommended even for those who haven't read the original

Adhe Adhure - A middle-aged mother/wife wanting to break free; newfound respect fot Lillete Dubey as an actor; real characters living real moments

Shivom Oza

Read Part 1

8 Plays You Must Watch (Part 1) - Shivom Oza

Sir Sir Sarla - Love triangle between a teacher and his students; funny-poignant in equal measure; acknowledgement is all that we need, sometimes

Sometimes - Quirky take on the way 20-somethings lead their lives; know better on how to handle matters of love, friendship, family and work

Class Of 84 - 7 college friends re-unite at a funeral, and uncomfortable truths come tumbling out of the closet; Masterful performances by the cast; filled to the brim with nostalgia

4 Small - 4 short plays based on the city of Mumbai; perfectly encapsulates how the word 'home' has different meanings for different people

Shivom Oza

Read Part 2

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Ankhon Dekhi (2014) Film Recommendation Post | Sanjay Mishra, Seema Pahwa & Namit Das, Dir: Rajat Kapoor - Shivom Oza

I kept resisting the urge to go for this film thinking, slow hogi yaar, mann nahin kar raha, 250 rupees kuch zyaada hi hai etc. However, I was more than happy to plant my foot in my mouth, when I walked out of the hall after watching this near-masterpiece. Ankhon Dekhi keeps you entertained throughout its duration, and the credit for that must be shared between the director Rajat Kapoor and the stellar cast. If you have not watched the movie yet (having the same apprehensions that I did), please don't wait. Apni ankhon se dekho, mazaa aayega!

Shivom Oza

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Leave The World Behind (2014) Film Recommendation Post | Swedish House Mafia - Shivom Oza

I don't know much about Swedish House Mafia, but something about this film's trailer got me hooked on. The sight of these three maverick musicians zipping away on a speed boat with their biggest hit 'Don't you worry child' playing in the background, gave me a huge rush. Yes, they do play their most popular track frequently through this documentary. I wish they'd avoided that. However, the spectacular visuals of their packed concerts around the world, left me awestruck! If you're not big on live concerts, you must watch this film. You'll end up going for one, soon!

Shivom Oza

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Highway (2014) Film Recommendation Post | Alia Bhatt & Randeep Hooda, Dir: Imtiaz Ali - Shivom Oza

The most striking aspect about Highway was how it stuck to the 'how traveling can be life-changing' theme from the beginning till the end. Thankfully, the plot doesn't completely shift focus to the love story or the sexual assault angle. Besides, traveling does not mean just commuting from one place to another whilst witnessing spectacular visuals. You discover your inner self only when you find yourself in alien situations, and are pushed to a corner. That's why Highway scores over most 'convenient' pseudo self-discovery movies such as Wake Up Sid! & ZNMD. And then, there's ARR's music too!

Shivom Oza

Queen (2014) Film Recommendation Post | Kangana Ranaut & Rajkummar Rao, Dir: Vikas Bahl - Shivom Oza

What really struck me about Queen is the simplicity in its characters, and their dialogues. I don't remember any other film, wherein the lead actor speaks about the quantity of aloo in samosas while asking a girl out, or a heroine who refers to a smooch as 'lip-to-lip-kiss'! Songs such as Kinare and O Gujariya stay with you long after the end credits (don't miss those) roll! It's a wonderful story, which evokes laughter and tears in equal measure, about a seemingly conservative girl who goes to Paris on her honeymoon - solo, and consequently, finds herself! Go watch! 

Shivom Oza

Who should you vote for? – Shivom Oza

The manner in which we discuss politics in this country needs an overhaul. We keep looking at the ‘party’ rather than the individual that we’re voting for. It is this mentality which keeps reflecting in our voting patterns, and hence, results in non-performing governments (more often than not). I would want to appeal to all the voters to take time out and research about the candidates that are standing for elections from their constituency. And yes, it is okay to vote for someone deserving even if he/she belongs to a party that you do not like. Do vote! 

Shivom Oza