2015 in: Pop culture

2015 was great for social media in general. One Direction lost a member, The Dress wasted our time and Kylie’s lips became as big as Kim’s butt. Let’s have a run-down of every thing and person who turnt up this year. 
1. #CallMeCaitlyn

Bruce Jenner has always been a popular man. He was an Olympic Gold medalist, winning the decathlon in 1972. He married Kris Jenner in 1991 and has two beautiful daughters- Kendall and Kylie. But in 2015, he paused the world. He transitioned to ‘Caitlyn’. He made his first appearance as a beautiful woman on the cover of Vanity Fair with an exclusive interview. It makes me so happy to see her live her life as a happy woman. I can’t imagine someone to be so u happy with themselves for 60 years and the relief they experience after doing what they want. For her to take such a drastic step despite being such a popular figure, amidst such scrutiny is brace. We, as educated, well-informed human beings need to support her decision which will pave the way for many young boys and girls around the world to embrace their bodies. 


2. #TheDress 

Let’s go back to the time when the dress didn’t exist. There were real issues to be discussed- politics, sports, who the best Kardashian is. But on February 27th, 2015, the Internet couldn’t digest the controversy of whether it was ‘black-and-blue’ or ‘white-and-gold’. Look, I don’t really have an opinion on it but if you forced me to say something, it looks white and gold. A research stated that women and old people saw it as ‘W&G’ which comes as no surprise to me because I’m an old woman on the inside. The dress is definitely one thing we need to leave in 2015. 


3. #LoveWins 

In what was an emphatic victory for the LGBTQ community all over the world, the United States Supreme Court legalised same-sex marriage on June 26th, 2015, with netizens flocking to social media to express their joy over the decision. It’s funny how this took so much time and how this hasn’t happened all over the globe. It feels like I’m doing a review of 1915, not one of a hundred years hence. The pictures and videos uploaded by so many people on their Facebooks and their Instagrams made me feel gooey on the inside. Their blatant relief expressed just how much they had suffered trough bullying, humiliation, family disapproval and discrimination. In all its entirety, love won.


4. #PrayForParis 

The world united in grief over the terrorist attack on Paris, a second of its kind in the same year after the infamous ‘Charlie Hebdo’ incident. There were charities that were established online that were contributing as relief measures and people from countries all across sharing their solidarity with the Parisians. The attack, touted as an attack on humanity, made us wake up and face reality- we needed answers. The political underbelly bled us to pieces and sadly, it was the citizenry that bore the brunt. 


5. #KylieJennerLipChallenge 

Two Jenner references in an article, it now seems like an accurate review of the year. Kylie Jenner grew from being Kendall’s lesser-known sister to a major trendsetter. Whether it was her snapchat, her hair or her sartorial (?) fashion choices, she kept abuzz. But nothing consumed social media as much as the Kylie Jenner’s injected, botoxed, lips. They sparked such a rage that it saw many young teenage girls perform what has now come to be known as the Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge. It includes sucking into a vodka-shot glass for several minutes thereby stopping the oxygen supply to your lips, ensuing them to puff up. And bleed. And crack. Girls, if you’re going to be idolising Kylie Jenner, you have to question your life choices. I have nothing against her, but you have far more noteworthy role models. 


6. #OneDirectionSplit

Before you skip this one, no I’m not not going to compare One Direction to The Beatles or something. I’m not a crackhead. But I can’t ignore the upheaval that followed after the band announced that one of their five members- Zayn Malik decided to leave. Hormonal teenage girls all over the world were losing their shit over their favourite ditzy group break up. Now why I think this news blew up the Internet is because Hormonal teenage girls run the Internet. Have you ever checked Tumblr? But whatever it is, it was a setback for the music world in 2015. One-D now has one D less. (You’re too young to be on my blog if you don’t know what that means). 


That’s my summation of the year in Pop culture. I hope you guys liked it. Who do you think was the most most trend-setting person of the year? Comment below if I missed something! Also, I’m going to be travelling all of tomorrow which means no data. Which means this will be the last Review of the year! I was supposed to do one more, on sport, to be particular, but I’m going to be on an Internet rehab and I hope you guys understand! This was incredibly fun and I hope I turned the clock on 2015 for y’all! 

You could check my last review here: https://akashakumar.wordpress.com/2015/12/23/2015-in-bollywood/

2015 in: Bollywood 

Ever since I’ve been blogging on here, I’ve got tons of requests to do a full fledged Bollywood post. And I don’t know why I haven’t done anything like this, before. Hindi movies are my absolute favourite things in the world. For those of you who aren’t aware what Bollywood is, the Hindi movie Industry is collectively called ‘Bollywood’. I decided to do a review of everything our movies had to offer in 2015. I won’t be delving into the private lives of our celebrities, there’s a reason why they’re called private. We’ll be discussing only on-screen moments). Let’s go. Who needs friends and family when you can go live in a parallel universe every weekend. No really, I’d much rather be in a dark room for 3 hours than talk to people. (Akash creepy level: KRK)

1. ‘Debuts’
Given how besotted and crazed we are by movies, it isn’t a surprise that there are millions of people who set out on their paths to achieve super stardom in Bollywood. Probably this year’s biggest Debut was Sooraj Pancholi’s. Considering his tainted personal life, there was an air of mystery and intimidation surrounding him. Sadly he didn’t live up to expectations and ‘Hero’ tanked at the box office. Special mention to his co-star Athiya Shetty who also made her debut. Darling Athiya has fewer expressions than my goldfish. This year was particularly stellar for TV celebrities who made the switch to bigger pay checks. These included daily soap heart throbs Karan Singh Grover and Gurmeet Choudhary who made debuts with ‘Alone’ and ‘Khamoshiyan’ earlier this year. Karan starred in the erotic thriller ‘Hate Story 3’. While they’ve yet to achieve critical acclaim, their legions of female fans have kept them in the buzz, thanks to their aesthetics. I wish them all the very best, all hail new talent. 

2. ‘Bhaijaan impressed’
Over the past five years or so, we’ve come to expect a certain image of Salman on-screen. He’s always playing the self-righteous good guy roughing up the villains and ripping his shirt open or have Special effects do him the favour. But this year was a little different. Not very different, only a little. I was recommended Bajrangi Bhaijaan by a close friend, who knows how much I’m not a fan of his ‘brand’. So it meant something. I was pleasantly surprised after watching the movie. Yes there was drama, action, unnecessary violence and lots of bruises. But it had a message- an important one. The medley of ‘seeti-bajao’ histrionics along with the delivery of a comminuqué made it one of the most endearing movies of the year. 

How can I have any post without mentioning YouTube? I mean, you guys know me by now. 2015 made our Bollywood celebrities a little more accessible. If they weren’t a part of our living rooms, bedrooms, television screens and our dinner conversations, they’d now be on our laptops and iPads as well. Web-series like ‘A Man’s World’, ‘Bang Baaja Baarat’ and ‘Permanent Roommates’ aired on a weekly basis. What made these webisodes more relatable was the absence of censoring- of cuss words and more importantly of ideas. I’m hoping to see more of these, they’re a clear departure from stereotypical issues. 

4. ‘Femme Fatales’
The common perspective that people share about Bollywood is that it is coordinated song-and-dance and protagonists getting cozy behind a quivering flower. This isn’t 1950, dear Americans. This year was supportive of female artists. My favourite of the lot was Piku, for more than one reason. (Read: Deepika Padukone). It was honest, relatable (no I don’t have constipation) and raw. It was fundamental and brilliant, both at the same time. Kalki Koechlin’s Margherita with a Straw was her best movie, till date. She played a young woman suffering from Cerebral Palsy who after earning a scholarship at NYU, embarks on a journey of self-discovery. Kangana Ranaut starred in the sequel of ‘Tanu weds Manu’ where she played a double role of two women with polar-opposite personalities. Few others included NH-7 and Angry Indian Goddesses, both of which I am to watch. It’s great to see our movies bring the essence of gender equality to the forefront. 

5. ‘Shahid Kapoor’
Now I know I promised no talking about personal lives but this is just such a positive, happy moment I can’t help myself y’all. (Surprise, I have a heart). Shahid Kapoor married the drop-dead gorgeous Mira Rajput in a traditional ceremony in Delhi. Now Mira is no ordinary girl. She’s a graduate from Lady Shri Ram College for Women with a degree in English. She’s not some ditzy blonde who’ll end up being a washed up interior designer star-wife. Sorry, Gauri

6. ‘Bajirao Mastani vs Dilwale’
Ever since Sanjay Bhansali and Rohit Shetty announced the release dates of their respective films, one couldn’t ignore the clash. It was engraved in stone, come December 18th, the King would face the Prince. Sports cars would blow up, melodies would be meted out, millions would be spent on a two-minute song, Priyanka Chopra would steal the show and Varun Dhawan would once again make a fool of himself on-screen. Yes, the stage was set. The target audience for the two films was very distinct, and I honestly don’t think the box office collections of either were affected by the clash. Someone who liked Dilwale would not like Bajirao, and vice versa. I’m personally a ‘Bajirao’ person. Nevertheless, it was one of the highest talking points of the year and both films have made more than some of us will earn our whole lives

So that was my review of Bollywood in 2015. There are so many exciting movies to watch in 2016. There’s Gangajal, Wazir, Airlift… Trailers have been released and I’m drooling already. Comment below what you felt the best Bollywood moment of the year was! Or if I missed something. Please realise that this was a light hearted post and nothing personal against any of the celebrities mentioned. It’s all in good spirit. 
I’ll be back tomorrow with another review. You can check my last review where I put my loner binge-watching television knowledge to good use: https://akashakumar.wordpress.com/2015/12/22/2015-in-television/

2015 in: Television

Almost about a year ago, I had plans for 2015. I wanted to travel more, get into shape, get an internship and learn about the culture of Japan. I ended up sitting home all day binge-watching entire seasons of shows with Popcorn and Cheetos until I started to feel delirious and my shoulders cramped. I’m trying to make two points here. A. Lots of things happened in the television space. B. Don’t ever make new year resolutions. Here’s my Review of the year in: Television. 
1. Television Royalty

How can I have a television review show without including Game of Thrones. Everything was burning, everybody was dying, everybody was flipping. Jon Snow died. Sansa got raped. Ramsay Bolton played with our hearts. All in all, GoT didn’t fail to impress. Not much of a surprise. I’m sorry for the spoilers, but what are you doing in your life if you don’t know these, any way? 

2. Debuts

Empire’s pilot was released on January 7th, this year. What started out to be a war between three sons for their father’s multi-millionaire business becomes the ‘Taraji P Henson show’ for her in revile acting chops, conviction and bitchiness. Let’s be honest, we need more female characters like her. 

3. Viola Davis

I can’t ignore Viola Davis while talking about strong female characters on American television. Wasn’t it enough for her to make us happy, sad, angry and powerful in ‘How to get away with Murder’ that she decides to floor us with just the most relevant, empowering acceptance speech at the Emmy’s. It’s one of my favourite acceptance speeches of all time, and that’s saying something. She accurately, blatantly pointed out the racism meted out to women of colour by stating ‘You can’t win awards for roles that aren’t written’. Brilliant. 


4. Gaga

So I’m a huge pussy pants when it comes to horror movies or television shows. This one time, I was watching ‘The Conjuring’ in the cinema theatre and a particular scene freaked me out so much so that I ended up hurling my popcorn basket onto someone’s head. So it came as a surprise to me, more than to anyone, when I decided to watch ‘American Horror Story Hotel’ which is essentially Season 5 of the AHS series. Fans were unsure of what to expect, considering the absence of Jessica Lange but additions including Lady Gaga and Matt Bomer made it a season to remember. From what I’ve heard, It seemed to reference the first season and while it wasn’t the best out of all the past seasons, I definitely needed a change of pants every episode. (Yes I just made a pee joke, deal with it)


5. Sofia’s Choice (I like you if you get the reference)

There’s always conjecture about who the funniest woman on television is. I made my mind up the first time I saw Modern Family. Sofia Vergara is hands down the most humorous person on Television. She’s silly, honest, raw, uninhibited, beautiful and most importantly so talented. It was only normal for everybody to freak out when she got married to ‘Magic Mike’ heart-throb Joe Manganiello on November 2015. She looks like a million bucks, he looks like a million bucks, their babies will be unattainable. Also, Modern Family’s seventh season finale was aired this May. I can’t even be jealous of her, she deserves it all. 


6. Good byes 

While a lot of new shows were premiered and lot others were renewed for further seasons, we bid adieu to some. These included legends of the small screen- Jon Hamm’s ‘Mad Men’ and Amy Poehler’s ‘Parks and Recreation’ both of which drew the curtains after 7 seasons each. The former gave us witty, multi-layered characters like ‘Don Draper’, ‘Joan Holloway’ and ‘Betty Draper’, the latter gave us hilarious ones like ‘Leslie Knope’, ‘Ben Wyatt’ and ‘Tom Haverford’, soaring Christina Hendricks, January Jones, Aziz Ansari and Chris Pratt to super stardom. Other shows that left us were ‘The Mentalist’ and ‘Justified’. All I can say is, you’ll always have a piece of our hearts. 

So that was that. Comment below if you think I need to start watching a TV show that got you hooked on! We can construct resolutions for 2016. We can plan things for ourselves. But we’re going to end up snuggling within our blanket losing sleep over the next episode of practically everything, distancing ourselves from any shred of reality. And that’s fine. (Keep telling yourself that, it makes it better). 

I’ll be back with another review tomorrow, pretending to know everything about everything. You can check my last review on the music industry in 2015 here:   https://akashakumar.wordpress.com/2015/12/21/2015-in-music/

2015 in: Music

If you don’t have me on your Facebook, you wouldn’t know I’m embarking on a ‘2015 in’ series, reviewing the year in terms of five different categories. Starting today, I bring to you everything that this year had to offer- the good, the bad and the indelible. We start the countdown with the Music Industry. Let’s play a fun game. Grab a bottle of vodka. (And Pepsi or whatever if you’re below 18. Stay in school kids). Everytime you read the word ‘million’ below, take a sip. Let me get you started- million, million, million. (Now that you’re a little tipsy, you’ll probably find this article a little more bearable). 
1. ‘Pick up the Phone already’
On 23rd October 2015, the world skipped a heartbeat. When Adele said ‘Hello’, everyone listened. And responded. With 27 million views in a day. The reason I love Adele besides the fact that she’s the queen of melody is how she’s not in the news while on sabbatical. She doesn’t employ low PR tactics to stay in the news or stay ‘relevant’. She drops an album once every couple of years and slays our existence. Her album ’25’ is pitted to be the largest selling album of ALL TIME. 


2. ‘The Weeknd’s here!’
Call me late to the party but the first time I heard of The Weeknd was when he collaborated with Ariana Grande on ‘Love me Harder’ and then with Sia on ‘Elastic Heart’. And then ‘Can’t Feel My Face’ happened. Followed by ‘Hills’. Just those two videos, managed to get a combined total of 760 million views. It makes me happy to see critically acclaimed musicians achieve commercial success and making waves at award ceremonies. His performance at the VS fashion show was mad. It’s very rare that you have supermodels strutting in lingerie and one ends up swooning over a performer! There’s nothing to ignore, his voice, his lyrics and most of all, his hair. It’s like his weave is at war with itself. 


3. ‘Comeback King’
Justin Bieber has always been a magnet for attention. Ever since he broke onto the scene with ‘My World’ 6 years ago (yes, you’re really old). But the focus has always been on his love life, his off-the-record antics and his misbehaviour- whether it was peeing in a bucket (control your urges, dude) or throwing water balloons at state troopers (he could just come to India for Holi?) he’s had his share of incidents, to put it politely. ‘Where are you Now’ released but expectedly the Bieber haters were crediting Skrillex and Diplo with the success of the number. And then ‘What do you Mean’ dropped. And then ‘Sorry’ dropped. And then ‘Love Yourself’ dropped. I think I broke the ‘replay’ button. I wish he keeps reinventing himself and staying out of trouble. 


4. ‘YouTube Sensations’
So if you know me, you know I love YouTube. I’ve been following youtubers since 2012 and it makes me particularly happy when I see them sign recording labels. It’s like the baby bird is ready to fly into the world. Ever since Charlie Puth released his ‘Chandelier’ cover in mid-2014, everybody knew he was here to stay. He soared new heights with ‘See You Again’ and ‘Marvin Gaye’ this year, the former hitting a billion views on YT. His lip-lock with Meghan Trainor was officially the No. 1 WTF moment of the AMA’s too. What are you doing with your life if you haven’t seen it. Troye Sivan too, released his first Album- Blue Neighbourhood later this year, shunning all his homophobic bullies. He also made the most adorable appearance on the Jimmy Fallon Show. 


5. ‘Bling and Nae-Nae’
If you haven’t heard of either of these songs, shame on you! Silentó dropped his debut track ‘Watch me’ on June 25th and I honestly don’t know how, but it managed to scale all kinds of heights with its own remixes, renditions and parodies, my favourite being the one with a trio of ‘nuns’ dancing to the song. It had ‘whipping’, ‘nae-naeing’, ‘bopping’, ‘breaking’ and a lot of other dance steps I hadn’t even heard of. Similarly, ‘Hotline Bling’ by Drake achieved stardom not for its critical appreciation (LOL) but for its impact on pop culture. The music video was initially released on October 19th via Apple and later on his Vevo channel on YT, a week later. It features Drake trying to dance but ending up looking eerily similar to a spider on a hot plate. I’m sorry but there is nothing more accurate than that. Honestly though, if I hear either of these songs at a party or on TV, I will slit my ears. 


6. ‘Swift-ie Swirlie’
I don’t know why Taylor Swift isn’t the president of the world or anything equivalent to that. She became the highest followed person on Instagram with 59.5 million followers, dethroning *drum roll* Kim Kardashian. Onto more accomplished achievements, she released three singles- ‘Style’, ‘Bad Blood’, and ‘Wildest Dreams’ from her ‘1989’ album. She popularised ‘Squad Goals’ but let’s be honest, we can’t even compare our squads with hers. Not when there are four Victoria’s Secret models, two platinum musicians, a reality star and most importantly, Ed Sheeran. My ‘squad’ eats at McDonald’s, discusses fan fiction and calls each other fat. But why I love Taylor Swift is because she’s taught all of us to reach out to people in our field of work. She’s never afraid of making friends with people she’s competing with, she’s always supportive of the people she’s associated with. 


Those were the most memorable moments in Music for me! I’m pretty sure I’ve left out a lot of things, and I targeted the Pop genre. No hard feeling so. Tell me what I missed, and what moment you felt was most memorable! Please rememeber you don’t need to be a WordPress account holder/blogger to leave behind a comment! I’ll be back to tomorrow with another category. Feedback always appreciated. 
You can check my last post where I wrote about skin shaming: https://akashakumar.wordpress.com/2015/12/15/whos-the-fairest-of-them-all/