Pink and Blue 

 A couple of days ago, I was at a café, whiling away time without a care in the world, when I happened to overhear a conversation that ensued between a young girl and her mother. To put it in brief, the mother was telling her daughter to cross her legs and sit because it wasn’t lady-like to sit in any other manner. Now what you can deduce, from my narrative, besides the fact that I love to eavesdrop, is that we take things at Face Value. 
My least preferred word in the English language, is the word ‘Should’. It indicates ‘idealism’, ‘force’… ‘Pressure’. 

We invest so much in external validation and approval. I’m not saying it’s wrong, I’m quite vain too. (Read: Quite meaning excessive to the point of obsession) but I don’t let any one call me out, or give them the right to penetrate my air of confidence. 
‘A girl should be quiet and dainty’, ‘a boy must be brash’, ‘a woman must cook and clean’, ‘A man must earn and provide for his family’. Even before a child is born, we’ve assigned it a colour. Blue- if it’s a boy, Pink-if it’s a girl. We are so caught up in our bubble of idealism and false sense of indignation that we fail to realise not all of us are the same. I hate to use a clichéd phrase to drive out my point, but ‘not all fingers are alike’. Now if you know me, I’m not particularly macho or animalistic. Never been, never will I aspire to willingly change myself. I’ve been at the receiving end of flak for not living up to someone’s ‘faux image’ of what I should be like. I couldn’t give a rat’s a** about it today, but I would be lying if I said it didn’t affect me in the past. I recall I was once visiting a counsellor in school, who was helping me out with my anxiety and I happened to tell her about some of the times I felt belittled because I wasn’t like other boys, rough and testosterone-infused. She simply smiled at me, and replied ‘You should start changing yourself, fake manliness… It’ll help’.

What I needed to hear was the fact that I didn’t have to subscribe to gender stereotypes and do my thing and be honest to myself. It would be years later, that I would learn that, but good on me. Self-realisation is the best realisation. 
I hear girls being told how they need to be courteous and an accessory, and how they must behave at all times and say the right things because who knows what the neighbours might say or do. A girl smoking is a big deal, a boy doing the same isn’t. In my opinion, and with no offence intended, smoking is bad for any gender. But you can’t hate on her because she’s a girl who smokes, hate on her because she smokes and she’s jeopardising her health. (Again, that’s her choice, I’m only talking from a health stand-point). A boy can’t like pampering himself or like Pop. A girl can’t like Heavy Metal. We’re so intrigued by issues like ‘equal pay for genders’ that we are forgetting fundamental issues like freedom for all genders barring financial independence. Not that the former is any less significant, women deserve just as much monetary benefits as their male counterparts, but let’s get to that later. Let’s at least have freedom of expression for men and women, alike. 
I’m happy we’re changing, as a country. I’m so proud of India, while there’s progress to look forward to, we are abolishing so many of these typecasts, we are growing up. Girls rock short bobs (all hail Taylor Swift), men wear makeup (yes every single man you see on Television wears blush), we’re letting our sons play with dolls and our daughters with action figures (or whatever they make these days, I’m a 50 year old Aunty IRL) and not making it a big deal. 
I’m sorry this wasn’t entertaining funny or even interesting at the very least. This was short and messy *That’s what she said*

But Don’t let anyone tell you what to do. How to talk, or how to act, or what to like. You are your own person and no one has the power to dictate your preferences, your likes, your hobbies or your lifestyle. Looking back, it wasn’t the counsellor’s fault. This is how people are wired, to change something they don’t identify with. To alter unfamiliar surroundings. Don’t fall prey to someone else’s insecurities. This is the time to live, this is the time to let yourself loose, this is the time to do whatever your mind tells you to and conquer all your dragons. Because, when you’re being taken to your grave, you’re going to have no one but yourself to answer. As my Queen RuPaul says, ‘Unless they paying your bills, pay them bit*hes no mind’. 
I’m sorry, this wasn’t proof-read, this wasn’t edited or thought through. It’s a rant, it’s raw and I don’t even know if this makes sense. Let me know what you think in the comments. Best wishes and lots of love, little children. Be happy, I promise to be more regular with my upload schedules. 

Thursday’s Talkshow-Ali Haji

Child prodigies have always intrigued me. More than I’d like to admit. To be working as hard as an adult, to find yourself detached from your childhood, to grow up amidst public speculation and find the balance between different facets of your life is anything but easy. I’ve been trying to scoop up Ali Haji for an interview for the longest time, but given the busy man he is, especially the fact that he’s out with his latest directorial venture- 21 Days, it’s never managed to happen. Until now. He knows how much I admire not only his work, but him too. He’s loveable, level headed and expresses a sense of maturity way beyond his years. Join me as I host and interview the sensation of movies like Partner, Fanaa and Ta Ra Rum Pum and a ton of other cool important Bollywood-y things. We spoke about his 4th directorial venture for Squid, what’d he choose between acting and directing and how he felt this wasn’t his lead actor- Vedant Lamba‘s best performance. 
 Starting off, tell me a little about yourself. 

Growing up was fun. I was quite a patient kid, a little shy, not too much into outdoor activities, I loved interacting with people close to me but I also loved my space. I’ve bunked a lot of school because of my shoots, and so I’ve not had a regular childhood. Most kids spend their time learning definitions and playing on the school ground, it wasn’t quite the same for me, I was learning my dialogues and acting in front of cameras. Nevertheless, it’s been a memorable journey thus far. 
Have you always identified yourself with the Film Industry? 

When I was six months old, I became the face of Johnson’s Baby. After that I did tonnes of ads until the age of 5 when I got my first film which was Family with Amitabh Bachchan and Akshay Kumar. So basically I was in the Film world even before it was my dream. Gradually I did more films, I observed the actors and the directors and I realised that this was what I wanted from my life. I was a part of the industry since the beginning, but it became my dream somewhere along the line. 

  
Now you’re only 16, right? I’m curious, how do you manage the personal, academic and professional aspects of your life? Is there compromise? 

I just turned 16 a couple of months ago. Well it’s tough to balance everything at the same time, there is most certainly a compromise at every step. The people around me always feel I’m not doing enough. If I give my all to my academics, I won’t be able to give my all to my short films. It is hard to juggle, but at the end of the day I think my close friends and my family understand my plight and they know that my academics and my work can’t adjust, but they can adjust for me. It’s a tough compromise to make, but in the long run its for my benefit and I’m blessed with people who understand that.



Most of the people you work with are all a part of your friend circle. How comfortable are you directing people that you know, do you feel like you need to be more wary? Explain to me the dynamics. 

It’s not easy directing people you’re close to. It’s not just about being comfortable. For example, in 21 Days I directed one of my closest friends, Vedant. He’s given a good performance but I know that it’s not his best performance, there’s a lot more I could have got out of him, I felt comfortable while explaining my vision to him, the tough part came in when I had to correct him over and over again, that’s when I feel I need to be careful. While directing someone you share a closely knit bond with there’s always the fear of having a tiff. There are creative differences, and sometimes there can be an ego hassle as to who’s right and who’s wrong. It’s a tactful job, and yes, I have to be wary, the whole idea is to get the best out of your friends without seeming authoritative or bossy. 

  
You’re active on social media to a very large extent. How much of that is planned? Do you think it plays an important role from a commercial point of view? 

None of it is planned really. I don’t believe that having a fan base on social media is a great thing. I find people who feel they’re popular after crossing a thousand followers to be very shallow. I am active on social media only for myself and of course because it’s a great platform to promote my work. It’s practically free and yes it’s important since all my work is online. Being an online creator I have to keep up with social media and the current trends so that when the time comes to promote my work, I can do so successfully. 
What’s the hardest thing about making a short film? 

The writing process. Now it often happens that people end up praising the visuals and the performances and the script tends to go unnoticed. But what many people don’t realise is that writing a short film is as difficult as writing a feature length film. You see you have to compress your story and say it in approximately fifteen minutes which is harder than saying it over a span of two hours. Writing a short film is a challenge, you have to say more in less time and you have to try to be out of the box and off beat. Once you get your screenplay in place, everything else tends to pan out properly. Not many people get this haha, but it is by far the toughest part, you have to rack your brains to get the formula right. 

  
I have to congratulate you on your latest presentation, 21 Days. I recommend it, very highly. Tell me, how much of it was based on personal experience? 

A major part of it was based on personal experience. I wouldn’t want to get into the nitty gritty, but I had suffered a heartbreak of sorts and one of my confidantes told me about the 21 Day theory. I wrote a screenplay revolving around the theory and practiced it myself. Turns out it worked for me and for the film. 
We saw your two-bit cameo in the short film too. Is acting a part of the dream? What comes to you, more naturally? Acting or directing? 

Acting is most certainly a part of the dream. I’ve acted previously and I plan to act ahead as well. I want to have the best of both, acting and directing, whatever comes my way first. For me it’s about identifying myself with a certain character. If I see myself in the character than I’d do anything to play that character. I don’t believe in preparing too much for a role, to a certain extent its necessary, workshops to polish your skills and dialect for some roles are acceptable, but most part of expressing comes from within. I love acting. 

As we are on the subject of Bollywood and films, did you find a difference in the scripts that we witness on the silver screen? Do you think writers are getting more creative or are film-goers getting more liberal? 

It’s a two way process honestly. Writers are experimenting and movie goers are accepting. We’ve seen some good films in 2015, however none that have stirred me. The thing here is that producers need to be more encouraging towards different subjects, a lot of good writers end up writing cliché scripts because of the fear of not being accepted. But that is changing now, and I’m glad it is, Bollywood is opening up, viewers are broadening their horizon, there’s no better time to experiment with ideas than right now!

  
To wrap up? What’s 2016 looking like on the professional front? What can we look forward to? 

We’ll definitely be making a good amount of short films this year and I will be acting in some of them as well. We’ve got improved on the technical front and now it’s time I we improve on our stories as well. There’s a lot of good stuff we plan to do in 2016. Let’s see!
I hope you guys liked that. Ali is humble, mercurial and charming. You’ve probably checked 21 Days out but if you haven’t: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=YoRHukDhHsI

All pictures have been sourced from Ali’s Instagram account with permission. 

Also, if you’ve already broken your New Year Resolution, you should check my last post out: https://akashakumar.wordpress.com/2016/01/01/resolution-2016/

Take care fam. 

Resolution 2016 

First things first, Happy New Year, you guys! If you’re anything like me, you know better than to make New Year’s resolutions because of your shoddy track record. But if you’re particularly optimistic then go right ahead, think of a resolution you’re going to religiously try to complete until it’s April and you give up because you ‘don’t believe in resolutions and all’. Nevertheless, I’ve listed 5 common ‘New Year’ resolutions you could promise yourself to complete and how you could extend their ‘expiry date’ to at least three-quarters of the year. Let’s do this. 

1. ‘Weight and Watch’ 

Beating the kilos is hands down the most common New Year’s Resolution especially after the ‘Thanksgiving-Christmas-NYE’ trio. For some others, it’s because of stuffing themselves thicker than a November turkey, all year round. Now I’m a part of the latter and let me tell you, if you’ve gotta ask whether you look fat… You probably are. There’s no other way you’re going to lose weight besides actually signing up for a gym membership or commit to going for a run. Not ‘whenever you can’ or ‘as time permits’ but according to a schedule you make for yourself and plan on following. Burn the fat, look like Chris Pratt. (Not my best one, I know). 

  

 

  

2. ‘C-Grade’

‘Next semester’ is not the right time to start studying. ‘Tomorrow’ is not the right time to start studying. No your mom hasn’t taken over my blog. No I’m not going to appear in 3-D outta your phone saying ‘Beta Padhai Karo’. Not yet. You probably have an assignment to complete, a test to study for, or homework your ‘dog ate up‘. You even have your excuse planned up. You should go make yourself a timetable or a planner. There are far too many apps to help you out regardless of whether your 19th century teacher knows about them. You should stop procrastinating and go do it (after you finish reading this post two or three times of course, I worked hard on this one. 10 minutes of my life I’m never getting back). 

  
 
3. ‘Fam-Jam’

Raise your hand if you’re on Tumblr 18 hours a day or watching cats get belly-rubs on YouTube. (Don’t judge me, I’m a future cat-lady). If spending time with your family is one of the resolutions you’re not going to complete, then you’re going to have to get off your laptop/phone/mobile/whatever device Apple launched in the last 5 seconds. Go over to your mum’s room and put the television off. Don’t if she’s watching a soap opera. Trust me, they don’t like it. At all. And ask her how she’s doing. If she’s taken aback about you inquiring about her life, her reaction says more about you than about her…

  
 

4. ‘Masterchef?’

No don’t look away, you know I’m talking to you. Those of us who can’t even make ourselves a mug of coffee to save a life. Huddle up, story time. While I was on vacation, I was having breakfast one morning when I happened to see a toaster and slices of bread arranged adjacent to it. Now I wanted myself some toast but I just couldn’t operate the machine. I freaked out so much that I almost sat down on the floor in front of 50 other diners and called my mother to help me out because, I mean I was embarrassed but I still wanted that toast. Watching ‘Nigella’s Kitchen’ or ‘Masterchef Australia’ doesn’t teach you how to cook. All it does is make you want to whip up your fridge. So don’t say it’s for ‘informative purposes‘, I’m onto you. Also, I don’t think I’ll ever try out for Masterchef. You know what’d happen? Besides a meltdown? I’d end up eating whatever I’d make before the tasting. 

‘So what have you made for us today, Akash?’

‘Is it too late now to say Sorry?’

Sign up for an actual cooking class or buy a cook book and try out some easy recipes. Just don’t burn your house down or something. 

  

 

5. ‘Social Butterfly’

You should scroll down if you’ve got a resting bitch face that’d put even Kristen Stewart to shame. There’s no hope for you. But if you’re not as doomed, then there’s a few things you could do. You can’t creepily text someone you hardly talk to and expect them to be normal about it. Don’t land up at someone’s residence because you don’t want a restraining order. Start talking to people, in real, vis-a-vis whatsapp or whatever app you use. 

Work your way in, with a group of friends. You know the drill- find common interests and all of that. But most of all, don’t lie about yourself. Be honest and put all your cards on the table, people are going to like you for you. If the last year’s taught me anything, it is that it’s not about those ‘window-dressing’ friends who turn their heads away at a time of crisis but those who actually stand by. And the only way you’re going to have friends like those is if you can be honest about yourself. Okay, side bar. Way too much to real talk. Just make some friends, don’t be a loser. (Sorry I had to say something, it got way too sappy. This isn’t ‘The Good Quotes’ or something). 

That was that. I want you to comment below what your resolution is! Put it in writing, so you can disappoint yourself more. I’m kidding, if you have a resolution set, I hope you keep it! 

I can’t even begin to express how happy I am with the start of a new year. 2015 was awesome, but it had to get over. Thanks to all of you for the love you’ve showered on my work, thank you for the positivity all the year round. I’m working very hard to entertain you guys and I have some really fun things planned. Stay on, stay happy, stay safe. Hustle harder, let’s make it one to remember! 

You can check out the reviews I did all through Christmas Week: 

Pop Culture: https://akashakumar.wordpress.com/2015/12/24/2015-in-pop-culture/

Bollywood: https://akashakumar.wordpress.com/2015/12/23/2015-in-bollywood/

Television: https://akashakumar.wordpress.com/2015/12/22/2015-in-television/

Music: https://akashakumar.wordpress.com/2015/12/21/2015-in-music/

As always, feedback appreciated. 
Email id- Kumarakash.10@rediffmail.com

Instagram- @akashkumarexistence

Twitter- @AkashKExistence

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. 

 3.’Webisodes’
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/