Thursday, February 27, 2014

My 2014 Oscar Selections

This BlogPost is another tradition which I have been religiously following since 2011 and love following all the Oscar-nominated & other critically acclaimed movies which fail to get the Oscar nod…this year was another spectacularly awesome year when it came to Hollywood and Global movies in general! Loads of awesome movies and some real bad duds too but then they even out things and for us Movie Freaks a definite part of our watching list for sure…

And this year again I had watched almost all the Oscar nominated movies before the nominations came out; the ones I missed out were due to lack of their prints available on the internet or they didn’t release here in Kuwait! So different than pre-Kuwait days when I used to watch Oscar-winning movies some 4-5 years after winning!

This year had another additional award which I followed – “Best Documentary – Feature” and watched all the 5 nominated documentaries and 2 others which missed the cut…would be discussing them later in detail!

And now some Money Facts & Figures from Oscar 2013:

1. At the time of the Academy Award nomination announcement on January 16, 2014, the combined gross of the nine Best Picture nominees at the American and Canadian box offices was $645 million, with an average of $72 million per film.

2. Only one of the nine Best Picture nominees was among the top ten releases in box office receipts when the Academy revealed the nominations.[26] Gravity was the highest-grossing film among the Best Picture nominees. Captain Phillips was the second-highest-grossing film with $105.5 million; this was followed by American Hustle ($105.4 million), The Wolf of Wall Street ($80.7 million), 12 Years a Slave ($39 million), Philomena ($22.3 million), Dallas Buyers Club ($16.8 million), Her ($9.9 million), and finally, Nebraska ($8.5 million).

3. Of the top 50 grossing movies of the year, 47 nominations went to 14 films on the list. Only Frozen (3rd), Despicable Me 2 (4th), Gravity (7th), The Croods (14th) Captain Phillips (29th), American Hustle (30th), and The Wolf of Wall Street (42nd) were nominated for Best Picture, Best Animated Feature, or any of the directing, acting, or screenwriting awards. The other top 50 box office hits that earned nominations were Iron Man 3 (2nd), The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (8th), Star Trek Into Darkness (11th), Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (31st), The Lone Ranger (38th), and Saving Mr. Banks (49th).

And now some snippets and fun facts:

1. Martin Scorsese's controversially debauched The Wolf of Wall Street is purportedly the film with the most uses of the word "f--k" (allegedly delivered 522 times) to be in the running for Oscar glory.

2. Woody Allen is Oscar's most-nominated screenwriter, earning his 16th for Blue Jasmine. All have been in the original screenplay category. He is also the category's top winner, with three trophies (Annie Hall, Hannah and Her Sisters, Midnight in Paris).

3. Bruce Dern's Best Actor nomination, at the age of 77, makes him the second-oldest nominee in that category, behind 79-year-old Richard Farnsworth (The Straight Story)

4. Megan Ellison received two nominations for Best Picture (American Hustle and Her), making her the first woman and the third person overall (after Francis Ford Coppola in 1975 and Scott Rudin in 2011) to be nominated twice in the same year in this category

5. With three nominations for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, the Middle-earth franchise collected its 36th Oscar nomination, the most for any film series in history

6. At 23, Jennifer Lawrence is the youngest person ever to earn a trio of Oscar nominations: for Winter's Bone, Silver Linings Playbook (she won best actress) and American Hustle.

7. June Squibb's Best Supporting Actress nomination (Nebraska), at the age of 84, makes her the third-oldest nominee in that category, behind 87-year-old Gloria Stuart (Titanic) and 85-year-old Ruby Dee (American Gangster)

8. Meryl Streep adds another notch to her belt as Oscar's most-nominated performer ever. Her best actress nod for August: Osage County marks the 18th time she's up for an Academy Award (her three actual wins came for The Iron Lady, Sophie's Choice and Kramer vs. Kramer).

9. Though he didn't snag a best-director nod for Dallas Buyers Club, Canadian filmmaker Jean-Marc Vallée is still an Oscar contender. He shares in the movie's film-editing nomination under the pseudonym John Mac McMurphy.

10. Hollywood icon Robert Redford may have won a directing Oscar (for Ordinary People) and a lifetime achievement honour (in 2002), but he's never earned a trophy for acting (he was nominated once, for The Sting). Some have cited his lack of a nomination for the seafaring drama All is Lost a snub.

11. David O. Russell and his recent acting collaborators are on a roll. For two years in a row now, his films (Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle) have earned nods in each of the four acting categories.

12. 2013 Oscar nominees Amy Adams (The Master, supporting actress), Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook, lead actor) and Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook, lead actress winner) are all back again in 2014 for their work in American Hustle, but they've all swapped categories (lead actress for Adams and supporting turns for Cooper and Lawrence).

13. When you factor in The Fighter, David O. Russell has nabbed three best director nominations in just four years. It puts him in the company of Hollywood heavyweights such as Frank Capra, John Huston, Billy Wilder and Clint Eastwood.

14. Some actors (or perhaps their advisors) are really good at choosing roles: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks and George Clooney have each starred in more than four best-picture contenders.

15. Jackass Presents: Bad Grampa and The Lone Ranger can now forever be described as Oscar nominees (both earned nods in the makeup and hairstyle category).

16. John Williams received his 44th nomination for Best Original Score, passing the late Alfred Newman to become the category's record holder. The composer – who has won five times – has 49 overall nominations, the most for a living person and second only to Walt Disney

17. Nearly every film receiving acting nominations garnered at least two such nominations; only Captain Philips, Gravity, and Philomena received just one acting nomination each. In addition, August: Osage County was the only film to receive acting nominations to not get a nomination in any other field.

And now the shocks, snubs & surprises:

1. "Lee Daniels' The Butler," which was at one time thought to be a sure-fire Academy favorite, didn’t get a single nomination.

2. Another upset was “Saving Mr. Banks,” which at one point had been tipped by some not just as a surefire Best Picture nominee, but even a possible winner.

3. “Inside Llewyn Davis” - Not getting any major category nomination; At least it got two nominations, for Cinematography and Sound Mixing, although that’s the same number as critical and commercial disaster “The Lone Ranger.”

4. Paul Greengrass & Spike Jonze not getting the Best Director nominations - strange, sad but true!

5. Tom Hanks - There was a point at which it seemed that, Hanks would come away with two Oscar nominations this year, with both his performances in “Captain Phillips” and “Saving Mr Banks” but he missed out on both!

6. Emma Thompson - Another shock when she didn't get the "expected" nod for “Saving Mr Banks”

7. Daniel Brühl & James Gandolfini - Both missed out on getting the "Best Supporting Actor" nods for "Rush" and "Enough Said" respectively which was the most unfair decision IMHO...

8. “Monsters University” - It missed out on the Best Animated Feature nod in a relatively weak year for the category

9. “Stories We Tell” & “Blackfish” - Both these documentary features definitely deserved nominations and were strong enough to make the cut but sadly didn't...

10. Christian Bale, Jonah Hill and Sally Hawkins getting the nods in their categories which seem so grossly over-rated and clearly undeserving IMHO...

And now all the nominations, my predictions and my choices! I have also posted some of my reviews as well…

                                              Best Picture
Just having some fun with this category....all these posters are fun/spoof posters of the original ones and inspired by the theme/story of the movies!

American Hustle

The 2014 Oscar Mania started with this and quite an auspicious start it was! I found all the superlative reviews a little too much after watching it and definitely would call it a bit "over-rated"! No doubt the acting performances are superb! Bale in his con-avatar, Lawrence in her mad-bitchy persona and Adams getting out of her routine comfort zone and giving an awesome performance! The only letdown for me was Cooper who couldn't match up to the other 3 leads except in that scene in which he copies his boss which was a breath-taking scene! It is a definitely a very well made movie and entertaining too but I didn't find it spectacular like all the reviews out there! Another special spectacle of the movie was the OST which is way too awesome and adds to the thrill element throughout with cleverly placed songs! And one thing is for sure, Jennifer Lawrence is definitely the Meryl Streep of this generation as she keeps setting new acting benchmarks! I loved her performance! I am damn sure this movie would be a frontrunner for many awards this season...My rating 3.5/5...

Captain Phillips

Wrote a BlogPost on this special movie which I was lucky enough to enjoy on the big screen -

Dallas Buyers Club

This one is a Biographical Drama Film about a true-life tale of Ron Woodroof, an AIDS patient who began smuggling unapproved pharmaceutical drugs into Texas when he found them effective at improving his symptoms and has one of my top favourite actors - Matthew McConaughey in the lead role! He has done such a brilliant job of playing the HIV-affected patient and running this supposedly illegal club challenging the FDA and Police head-on! He infact lost 23 kgs to play the role of a terminally ill patient! Jared Leto has also done a stupendous job of playing the transvestite AIDS patient and definitely deserves all the accolades he is receiving for his performance! The film moves at a brisk pace and you never get time to blink too! Matthew's performance is raw, rugged, funny, ferocious and so committed! And yes it has his signature swagger written all over it too! This just can't be missed! My rating 4.5/5...


Gravity is just not a mere's a phenomenal experience which is gonna last a lifetime! 90 minutes of sheer cinematic magic unfolds on the screen and the viewer never even blinks! It is so captivating, surreal, exciting and engaging all rolled into one! There is the fighter Sandra Bullock who is simply brilliant in her performance and to match her is the ever so awesome George Clooney whose motivational skills can match the best of the best! This is a movie which is well worth the extraordinary hype & buzz it has created and just can't be missed! It is an overwhelming experience with magnificent cinematography (All awards confirmed), engaging background score, restrained acting performances and incredible Direction! And yeah then there is the Sunrise on the River Ganges....HELL YEAH....Hope it releases in IMAX here and I would watch it rating 5/5....


Starring one of my favourite actors Joaquin Phoenix and the gorgeous Scarlett Johansson's husky voice this is a wonderful movie with an amazing concept! The film centers on a man who develops a relationship with an intelligent computer operating system (OS) with a female voice and personality...Joaquin in his unique and quirky acting style has done an amazing job as always and plays out the expressions and apprehensions of a man in love brilliantly! A very different sort of a love story and one which would be lapped up by all....this is a delightfully entertaining movie and highly rating 4.5/5...


This one is a comedy-drama film starring Bruce Dern, June Squibb and Will Forte and directed by the highly talented Alexander Payne who has made some real awesome movies in the past - About Schmidt, Sideways & The Descendants amongst others...and this one is an awesome road-trip movie about an old man who's convinced he's won a million dollar price and his son who grudgingly agrees to drive him to Nebraska to claim his winnings! They go to the Father's hometown and get back to his old friends & relatives and tackle their sudden interest in him due to the big prize! The movie is shot in Black & White and the landscapes featured are spectacularly awesome! It is a haunting, seemingly dark, desolate study about relationships and very entertaining & beautiful to boot! Bruce Dern is simply awesome in his role and June Squibb who plays his wife is wonderful as well...this is a must-watch movie and would be loved by rating 4/5...


One of the most critically acclaimed movies of 2013 and luckily I got to watch it on a big screen...this is about the true story of an old retired nun Philomena Lee's 50-year-long search for her son and her challenges and predicaments about her son conceived out of wedlock - something her Irish-Catholic community didn't have the highest opinion of - and given away for adoption in the United States 50 years earlier...She meets Sixsmith (Coogan), an ot of job BBC reporter with whom she decides to discover her long-lost son and travels to the US...This one is an heartbreaking, entertaining, engaging, fast-paced and a humbling watch which would compel you to relate to the sorrows of poor Philomena...Judi Dench is as always brilliant in her performance and Coogan (also the co-writer) has done a marvellous job as well...this is a must watch for all movie rating 4/5...

12 Years a Slave

Another Biographical Drama film based on the 12 years slavery life of Solomon Northup, a free negro who was kidnapped and then sold into slavery and about his grim challenges, mental-physical trauma & torture and how his life gets into an abyss where he struggles for 12 long years! This is directed by the brilliant Steve McQueen who has made 2 awesome movies in the past - Hunger & Shame and he has done a kick-ass job once again! The movie is devastating, tragic, overpowering, dark and yet shows the unlimited power of the human spirit and how it can survive against all odds! the movie isn't easy to watch in some of the torture scenes infact! One of the reviews nails it "The violence is starkly pictured by McQueen, lingering on black skin torn apart to reveal milky white flesh and, of course, red blood"! Chiwetel Ejiofor has been unanimously hailed for his superlative performance and no doubt it is great but for me the best performance is given by the young Kenyan girl Lupita Nyong'o who has made the best possible debut! She definitely deserves all the Best Supporting Actress awards this year without doubt! watch this for an intense and cinematic experience! Highly rating 4.5/5...

The Wolf of Wall Street

For me this was not a spectacular movie; it felt too stretched all the way through and just didn’t excite, entertained or wowed me the way other Scorsese movies have! LDC was also over-the-top at times! And inspite of all those F words it wasn’t an awesome movie for me!!!

And now my say:

Will win: 12 Years a Slave
Could win: American Hustle

MY CHOICE: Gravity

                                               Best Director

American Hustle (David O. Russell)
Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón)
Nebraska (Alexander Payne)
12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen)
The Wolf of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese)

Scorsese tried his best with his 3-hours long (very long) magnum opus TWOWS but Mcqueen wins the cake in my books with his superb tale about the dark years of Slavery...

Will win: Alfonso Cuaron for Gravity
Could win: Direct Fight between these two; don’t think there would be a party spoiler!

MY CHOICE: Steve McQueen for 12 Years a Slave

                              Best Actor in a Leading Role

Christian Bale (American Hustle)
Bruce Dern (Nebraska)
Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave)
Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)

Sorry folks...LDC not winning this year either!!!

Will win: Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club
Could win: Leonardo DiCaprio for The Wolf of Wall Street

MY CHOICE: Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club

                              Best Actress in a Leading Role

Amy Adams (American Hustle)
Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)
Sandra Bullock (Gravity)
Judi Dench (Philomena)
Meryl Streep (August: Osage County)

One might say I am biased towards Streep but her performance in OOC was par excellence and she is the winner in my books!

Will win: Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine
Could win: Judi Dench for Philomena

MY CHOICE: Meryl Streep for August: Osage County

                              Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips)
Bradley Cooper (American Hustle)
Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave)
Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)

This is one of those years where there is a clear winner in all the books available and Leto is the one! for his superb performance of a transvestite AIDS patient!

Will win: Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club
Could win: Barkhad Abdi for Captain Phillips – The Dark Horse Debutant 

MY CHOICE: Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club

                       Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine)
Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)
Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years a Slave)
Julia Roberts (August: Osage County)
June Squibb (Nebraska)

The Campus Placement Girl from Yale's debut performance was by far the best performance of the year; I hope she gets that trophy and not JeLaw for her over-rated average performance!

Will win: Lupita Nyong'o for 12 Years a Slave
Could win: Jennifer Lawrence for American Hustle

MY CHOICE: Lupita Nyong'o for 12 Years a Slave

                                     Best Animated Feature

The Croods
Despicable Me 2
Ernest & Celestine
The Wind Rises

Frozen was a big screen 3D spectacle and is a clear winner in all the books!

Will win: Frozen
Could win: No Competition!


                          Best Foreign Language Film

The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium)
The Great Beauty (Italy)
The Hunt (Denmark)
The Missing Picture (Cambodia)
Omar (Palestine)

The clear favourite this year is TGB but my sureshot favourite is the Hunt for it's intensity, brutal portrayal of the truth and superb acting performances!

Will win: The Great Beauty
Could win: The Broken Circle Breakdown


                        Best Documentary – Feature

The Act of Killing
20 Feet from Stardom
Cutie and the Boxer
Dirty Wars
The Square

A documentary should document the events and present it in a real yet not too boring manner and The Square clearly did all this and more! it portrays and documents of the January 2011 Egypt uprising in the best possible and very informative way and is my winner for this category!

Will win: The Act of Killing
Could win: 20 Feet from Stardom  

MY CHOICE: The Square

                              Best Original Screenplay

American Hustle (Eric Warren Singer, David O. Russell)
Blue Jasmine (Woody Allen)
Dallas Buyers Club (Craig Borten, Melisa Wallack)
Her (Spike Jonze)
Nebraska (Bob Nelson)

Mr. Jonze...take a bow...your innovative and interesting screenplay is the clear winner for me! such a simple story and yet to poignant and captivating!

Will win: Spike Jonze for Her
Could win: Woody Allen for Blue Jasmine

MY CHOICE: Spike Jonze for Her

And now for the most endearing Video of this made on the Oscar Theme; this one is so damn funny, cute and entertaining that everybody got to watch this and get wowed by these super-talented wonder kids! Loved every bit of it!

2014 so far has been a slow year wrt movies due to the arrival of our son Abhay but hopefully I would be manage to catch up once he grows up a bit! These days the most important & critical priority for me is spending time with him than watching movies but then the passion takes over at times!

Thanks to Wikipedia for providing me with almost all the inputs for this Blog Post; just can’t thank Wiki enough – it is almost a lifeline!

It was great discussing movies with my biggest inspiration Rohit Sharma; my 2 new FB friends – Mohaneesh Thapar & Nafees Ahmed who clearly possess much more knowledge than me and it is always a pleasure discussing movies with the 3 of them!

And yeah 1MinuteMovieReview – our Movie Community on Facebook which is a brilliant place to discuss movies across languages and genres! You can join it at

And last but not the least to my partner-in-rhyme Bandita Thakur who watched all these brilliant movies with me on the big screen & at home and discussed all of them with me! It is such a pleasure to have those Movie Discussions with her!

So till the time we meet again……..

Cheers to life…

Till then ride safe and have safe sex…

Hasta la Victoria Siempre…

Jai BoP!

Monday, February 24, 2014

2013…On the Road and Off it…

2009 by far has been the best year of my life so far ( and 2013 for sure comes a close second! It started with a high & quite literally too…we did a SkyDive together in Dubai in February and ended the year with another high…of waiting for our baby to arrive! Even though these 2 highs can’t be compared in the literal sense but surely the levels of excitement were almost equal! And through the entire year we had so many memorable experiences that the excitement and enjoyment levels never went down! Thanks to God, Bandita and my job here in Kuwait we managed to finish another fantastic year and hope 2014 takes the same route if not a better one! It has already started brilliantly with arrival of our son – Abhay into this world! Talk about auspicious & memorable starts!

I made some new friends, watched so many movies (an insane number for some), read loads of books, travelled to 3 new countries, visited India thrice, ran the first competitive race of my life (so what it was just 10 kms long?), explored & sampled many new cuisines and made some amazing new recipes! 

Here are some of the moments from 2013…

Sky Dive

We went to Dubai in February 2013 for a 7 days trip and the most critical agenda item was the Sky Diving Adventure and it was one helluva ride! By far the most exhilarating adventure I have ever indulged in…yes I had my fair share of “fear” moments but somehow I escaped them and finally managed to take that momentous dive! One which would always remain etched in our memories forever…Wrote a BlogPost about the same too….

Campus Hiring

In 2013 I made 4 International Trips for Campus Hiring events across various Institutes! Amazing learning experiences, meeting new people, exploring new cities and recruiting the best talent for my organization!

  1. The First one was in March 2013 when I went to IIM Calcutta to hire Finance & IT Candidates for my organization! And it was a real special one indeed…my first trip to any IIM and that too for recruiting! Recruited 2 awesome candidates who are now very good friends too! Met my College & MBA Senior Abhijit Paul after 11 years! Also met 2 of my closest friends from my MBA Batch – my roomie Aditya Shah and my Bengali Dada – Soumik Roy Choudhury after many years! Met their families as well and had a whale of time with them reminiscing the good old days of Goa! And it wasn’t over like this! Met my school friend Ruchika Katyal after 15 long years! I hadn’t met her after we passed out from school in 1998 and it was so amazing meeting her after all these years! The Kolkata Trip was a grand success for so many reasons….hope I can make a similar trip again! 

  1. In March 2013 itself went for the CA Campus Event in Delhi and then again in September 2013 for another such event…recruited 7 fresh Chartered Accountants from these 2 events! And also had a great time with friends and family during these 2 Delhi/Gurgaon Trips!  Full utilization of time and money you see!

  1. And then the Lebanon Trip to hire Finance Graduates from American University of Beirut! Which was another awesome trip in itself and for so many different reasons…it is a beautiful country with lip smacking food and yeah gorgeous ladies too! The only sad part was that it was just a 3 days trip; would love to make a longer trip with Bandita and Abhay before we leave Kuwait for good in the future…
Wrote a BlogPost about the same too….


We got one of the most amazing news of our lives back in May 2013 that we were expecting our first child! It was such an awesome feeling and one for which I had been waiting for a very long time! Even though I wanted a Baby Girl and had finalized Ananya as her name but then all dreams don’t come true or do they? We had a wonderful time all throughout Bandita’s pregnancy – researching, reading, shopping and making all those Hospital Trips! Abhay finally arrived on Saturday 11th January 2014 into this world! And our lives have become even more beautiful now!

Here is the BlogPost I wrote when Abhay reached his first milestone! 

MTV India Coke Studio

This year’s CS was simply amazing and much better than the 2012 season! I closely followed all the episodes and downloaded all the music too! The season kicked off with the ever-so-magical AR Rahman and kept getting better with the episodes featuring Ram Sampath, Clinton Cerejo, Salim-Sulaiman, Papon, Amit Trivedi, Hitesh Sonik and ending with a multi-Producer episode (which was by far the weakest amongst all episodes from this season).

The season was filled with amazing songs laced with fantastic lyrics and was so tough picking the favourites! But still my Top 5 (in no particular order): 

Pir Jalani - Clinton Cerejo & Mangey 'Manga' Khan (Barmer Boys)

Bismillah - Salim Sulaiman, Kailesh Kher & Munawar Masoom

Jhumoor - Papon, Dulal Manki & Simanta Shekhar

Rabba - Amit Trivedi, Tochi Raina & Jaggi

Ghar - Piyush Mishra

The Cyprus Trip

This was definitely one of the best highlight of 2013! Our 8-days long Cyprus Trip…had a wonderful time in this amazing country…everything about Cyprus was brilliant – the people, food, terrain, roads, infrastructure and the weather! Wrote a BlogPost about our trip as well…here it goes…


This was another first of my life! Participating in a race and that too 10 kms long! The occasion was the Annual Q8 Run which is scheduled every year in November/December and is hugely popular here! I somehow Ran/Jogged/Walked/Panted/Huffed/Puffed those long 10 kms in some 83 minutes and felt really happy and relieved when I crossed the finishing line! And thanks to the race & the preparations before I lost some weight & also built some much-needed stamina too! All in all it was fun event and very well organized too…I would love to participate again in 2014!


Food is one of the most important parts of my life and this year I added some more masala to it by experimenting with cooking and trying lots of new recipes! All thanks to the inspiration from the FB Food Pages I am a part of – Chef at Large & Sikandalous Cuisine being the 2 most important amongst them! As always Bandita was my partner-in-rhyme in all these rendezvous while assisting me in the kitchen and sampling those risky-first time recipes the first! Once I became a bit more comfortable I started inviting friends to my place too for meals to let them enjoy my cooking extravaganzas! 

My favourite Recipes of 2013 and their BlogPosts: 

UP ke Dahi ke Aloo...Che Style:
Mutton Curry...Che Style:
Pallipalayam Chicken:
Kabuli Chana Biryani:
Methi Matar Malai Murgh:


My big achievement of this year was reading a total of 44 books/novels in 2013! Yeah that’s a total of 10,991 Pages! Thanks to Goodreads I could track all those books and even wrote all my reviews there too! And big thanks to Flipkart and my 3 India Trips for letting me get hold of all these books! My mother is also a big reading fan and she also read majority of these books! And the best part is that our reading tastes and choices match so she reads the books first and then I get them along with me to Kuwait & then gobble them up!


How could Movies stay behind in my 2013 look back! They have been a very important part of my life since I moved to Kuwait in 2010…and here is the summary of my Movie Extravaganza 2013:

Total Movies Watched: 340
Hindi : 39
Non-Hindi : 301
In the Theaters : 40
At Home : 300

Yeah we watched 340 movies together! I am sure many of you would call us mad and yes we are mad indeed! What’s life without madness! Both of us love this crazy life indeed!

Favourite Hindi Movie : Fukrey
Favourite English Movie : Django Unchained
Favourite Non-English/Hindi Movie : The Past

Some of the Movie BlogPosts from 2013:
Captain Phillips ||| My Review:
World Cinema Moviethon - July 2013:
Lootera...My Review:
My 2013 Oscar Selections:
Django Unchained ||| My Review:

No Bike Ride

Last but not the least, the only dampener from this otherwise brilliant year! I wasn’t able to go on a single Bike Ride this year and this was the saddest part of my 2013 experience…all those India trips were very short and I could not manage anytime to plan a bike ride for myself! Hopefully this doesn’t repeat in 2014 and I can go on atleast one Bike Ride…

With that hope I end this note and as always am hopeful that 2014 is going to be another kick-ass year for me! And this would be a very different one for me! I won’t be watching so many movies; I won’t be reading so many books and sadly won’t be able to travel to so many new places…due to various reasons & most important of them being Abhay! But be rest assured that I am gonna have a blast throughout and enjoy each day as it comes!

Thanks to God, my family - Mummy, Papa, Bhai, Bhabhi and my 2 lifelines - Nandini & Samyukta, Bandita, all my friends and Kuwait for making 2013 one of the best years of my life! who says "thirteen" is an unlucky number! 

Till the time we meet again…  

Cheers to life…  

Till then ride safe and have safe sex…  

Hasta la Victoria Siempre…

Jai BoP…

Monday, February 10, 2014

Abhay Jha is 1-month New!

As far as I remember, I have always been fond of babies and have been equally loved by them too (as far as my understanding goes!)! I am sure you know of those guys who tend to play/interact with any young baby; yeah I am one of those categories! I enjoy every opportunity I get when I get to spend time with babies and have been doing that for so many years!

And thanks to my 2 lovely nieces – Nandini & Samyukta I also got somewhat experienced in first-hand handling of babies! They are my lifelines and have a very special place in my heart; and yeah that space is booked forever by them!

We came to know that we are going to be parents in May 2013 and since then the excitement, countdown and the hooplah started! I just could not wait for our baby to arrive…being the hyper impatient person I am, 9 months were too long a wait for me! But the ever so patient, calm, collected Bandita was the calming force for the full duration of 9 months! No wonder we complement each other so perfectly…

Bandita was so chilled out during the 9 months…I had heard horror stories from my friends about how their wives transformed during this period but Bandita never threw any tantrums or over-reacted! We even travelled to Cyprus for 8 days in August 2013 when she was 4 months pregnant and even better – we also went for a 6 kms mountain trek! I had also heard about all those food cravings of expecting mothers but the only craving she had was of the ever-so-humble Vada Pao and that too in the 8th month! It was so easy for me to fulfil this particular craving as the shop which serves real awesome VPs here is right next door to our Flat building! Big Thanks to Bandita for being such a sport all the way through! I couldn’t have asked for anything more!

It was around 1:30 AM and I had just finished watching the brilliant movie “Shahid” and Bandita told me “we need to go to the hospital, looks like the TIME has come”! And all of us got really excited! We had already got our Baby and Mother bags ready so within 10 minutes we were ready to leave for the Hospital! I, Bandita and her sister Madhumita reached there Hospital in no time and she got admitted and then the endless wait started! Our baby was in no mood to arrive quickly and kept us on the tenterhooks for the next 12 hours! Yes full 12 hours! Bandita got really exhausted and frustrated by the end of it and our Doctor decided to hit the OT for the C-Section delivery!

But wait…the fun, excitement and anxiety didn’t end here! Madhu’s flight to Australia via Abu Dhabi was scheduled at 4:30 PM and she had to leave for the airport to avoid missing her flight! So amidst all the excitement she left....I felt so sad for her as the timing got mixed up so perfectly or should I say imperfectly…so while she was on her way to the Airport, our baby was getting ready to hit the World!

And after all the waiting, travelling, shopping, making all the Hospital visits and the excitement since May 2013, Bandita delivered our baby boy “Abhay Jha” on Saturday 11-Jan-2014 at 2:15 PM in the afternoon at the Al Seef Hospital here in Kuwait! See even Abhay loves the weekends that he wanted to make his grand entry on a Saturday! Like father like son you see!

The first emotion/feeling which came to my mind when I saw him coming out of the OT in that crib was of extreme excitement and that strange feeling “he can’t be my baby”; now don’t over-react and read why before making any sort of conclusions! When he was born he was so fair I got confused for obvious reasons! I thought maybe the nurses handed me the wrong baby! But it couldn’t have happened as there was only one operation happening in the OT when Abhay was born! And then I held him in my arms and he looked at me with his drooping eyes! That peace my friends just can’t be described in words!

My friends who are Fathers already had told me the same thing in the past but this feeling can be best experienced oneself and just cant be compared to words I have heard! After all Abhay is the only creation I have (yeah yeah a co-creation with Bandita, but you get the hang right!)…I haven’t created, designed or made anything from scratch so far in my life so I can safely claim Abhay to be my first (and hopefully not the last) creation!

Abhay means Fearless in English and hope he can live up to his name meaning! His dad that is me was been one of the most afraid kids of all time! When I was young our washroom was outside our house and going to the loo in the nights was the most harrowing experience for me and almost all the times I had to beg my brother to accompany me & he always used to act pricey! Many more incidents of me being so fearful have happened in the past and I am sincerely hoping that Abhay would reverse this trend for me!

Loads of our friends came to visit us in the Hospital and got us a lot of gifts too! Lovely memories of those fun moments!

And this last one month has been one of the most amazing experiences for us and I have had a fair share of amazing experiences in my life so this really means much more than just special for me!

Just the joy of holding Abhay in my arms, soothing & calming him when he is crying, talking to him when he is cranky, changing his diapers, cleaning him and reading all those articles on the internet to make myself a well-equipped father…this one month has taught me a lot and I have learnt so many new things…damn exciting all of them!

Bandita & Abhay got discharged from the Hospital on the 15th of January and he was welcomed to our Kuwait Home with a short welcome ceremony by Bandita’s mother and then the tryst started…

He has been sleeping his way to glory since then…occasionally waking up for Milk and when he dumps! And during those moments giving us enough time to have fun with him! He hasn’t given many sleep less nights (as we were adequately forewarned) so far and we are hoping he keep repeating his good work in the future too!

We have used some new techniques contrary to what our parents & other elders have told us’ we have done them to ensure he sleeps well …more details here:

  1. White Noise  -
    1. We have downloaded an MP3 File in our iPad and play it on loop through the entire night – I can’t say if that’s the only reason he sleeps well with full surety but it has definitely helped since we started playing it!
  2. Swaddling -
    1. We have stopped doing it now as it restricts his leg movements now! But when we did it definitely relieved him!
  3. Separate Bed for him -,8599,1904288,00.html
    1. We wanted to give it a try and so far it has worked well for us! And yeah with Che’s Blessings!

He wakes up 2-3 times in the night; Bandita feeds him and I change his diaper and then he is back to his own sleep world! And thanks to his somewhat regular sleeping patterns we have even watched some movies together since his birth! Big thanks to Abhay for allowing us such small mercies!

We had a special infant photo shoot with Abhay on 20th January 2014 which was taken by Kimberly Glass and the set of pics which she has sent are way too awesome! I can’t share all those pics right now as they are yet to be edited and we have been asked not to do so by Kimberly and I got to respect her request! You can see some of her work at . Plus the first and topmost photo of this BlogPost is one of the pics from that shoot!

The photo shoot went for 3 hours & Abhay was quiet all the way through! That is incredible considering he was just 10 days new that day! Yes, he didn’t cry even once! Yeah he dumped twice and soiled 2 of her carpets but except those 2 dumping adventures he was camera friendly throughout! And I must complement Kimberly for her impeccable preparations and the way she handled Abhay! Just like a thorough professional! Waiting to see the final results so badly! Just can’t wait now….

The biggest learning or rather I should say change of a behavioural pattern for me has been my sleeping habit! Before he was born if I used to wake up in the middle of the night it used to take me atleast 20-30 minutes before I used to go back to sleep and this has been the same since the last 20-25 years! But since he was born I can go off & on between waking up and sleeping such seamlessly it has surprised me a lot! And it is such a nice & welcome change for me! No more tossing & turning in the bed for me anymore!

My duties also include making the Formula Milk for him; that is a very short process though so I have never felt any pinch! Plus warming the bottle in the night is also a task I undertake many a times except when Bandita doesn’t disturb me and does that on her own in the night! See even she shows some mercy on me! Hail the merciful Bandita!

Abhay has already made 3 trips outside! Once to an Indian restaurant here named “Swad”, once to the Marina Beachside in the day and once to a Lebanese Restaurant named “Palm Palace”! And as always he has slept his way through and deciding not to disturb us and letting us enjoy our food and time thoroughly! As the weather here gets a bit warmer, we would be taking him out more regularly and exposing him to the outside world more so that he can get adjusted to it pretty quickly!

His first international travel trip is already planned! We would be gong to Kenya for a week in July, by that time he would be almost 7 months young and hopefully he stays fit & fine for that week…

Bandita’s parents were here for a month and they were such a big help for us! Her mother used to massage him everyday and that daily ritual has surely made him stronger and more agile! And her dad used to keep cooing him and walking with him in his arms across our home! Abhay used to enjoy those walks a lot! Plus their priceless knowledge was a big boon for us too…

Now my parents are here for a month and we are again gonna have a blast with this set of Grandparents! I am sure my Father (who is fond of kids just like me) is gonna spend his entire 30 days holding Abhay in his arms and talking to him endlessly! The way Abhay was staring at him yesterday when he first held him in his arms was so funny! He was like “who the hell is this old guy with a white beard”!

Our new life has just begun and we are damn excited for this new ride with our comrade Abhay! We would ensure this ride is smooth for him and has some bumps too which would make him a more resolute young boy and not the one who is used to luxuries just like his parents were brought up!

Thanks to God for making the journey such smooth so far and hope he continues blessing us & Abhay forever!

Big thanks to our families for making us what we are today and making us ready to become parents and hopefully good parents!

I also want to thank all my friends who wished and prayed for us; I must say that all those wishes made a big difference and helped us sail through! 

Till the time we meet again… 

Cheers to life… 

Till then ride safe and have safe sex… 

Hasta la Victoria Siempre…

Jai BoP…