Archive for the ‘Oz’ Tag

People who make life worth living: A Wizard called Oz!!

I first discovered Oz around 2005-2006. And I discovered Desi Train the blog before I discovered the blogger. He used to simply go by the name Oz.  Desi Train to me, remains the best desi blog ever. If you have never heard of Desi Blog, don’t try looking for it. The site doesn’t exist anymore. For reasons only known to him, Oz stopped writing and took Desi Train off the web. I guess I understand some of the reasons, he probably gut too busy with his other ventures. Even jogis have limited time.

Yes, jogi is how I would define Oz, a ramta jogi. But before we get to the jogi himself, a few more words about Desi Train. I don’t exactly remember how I discovered Desi Train, but I do remember I got hooked immediately. The writing style was unique and very fresh, a whacky sense of humor combined with unique earthy metaphors entirely his own, gave Oz complete control over his narrative. If the writing style was superb, the content was always too close to my heart. That’s probably because Oz belonged to the same generation of Indians that I did, grew up with similar sensibilities, had similar insecurities and some of the same frustrations. This is the generation that was born in seventies, a decade which saw the evaporation of all the false hope that generation prior to us carried in its hearts, hopes of newly minted independent nation. If seventies were bad, eighties were simply the bottom. It was very depressing to be an Indian in eighties, with mediocrity all around you, reflected in big bold letters in Bollywood, which in a tragic way does seem to mirror the Indian society in general. Oz and I and the rest of our generation grew up with the worst period in Bollywood and yet we were all fascinated with this rotten masala style of film making. Oz particularly seemed to have eaten, drank, smoked and digested these films. And that’s what he expressed in his blog which was at its finest when he wrote about cine related topics. Not just the frustration with 80’s cinema but Oz also expressed the sheer joy and satisfaction that 70s cinema brought to our lives. Oz expressed in words, what our entire generation felt about stalwarts like Gulzar, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Salim Javed, Amitabh Bachchan, Sholay and Sanjeev Kumar etc. If Oz’s writing about 80’s torture cinema (his phrase, not mine) was hilarious and laugh riot, his poignant take on the golden period of Hindi cinema could give you goose pimples.

Week after week, I would come back to Desi Train, first reading through the entire archive and then waiting for weekly or bi-weekly updates. Every once in a while, Oz’s posts would provide tidbits about his personal life. Oz shared everything except his name. He remained, simply Oz. He did introduce his readers to t!, his Caucasian, Hindi understanding, cinema loving girlfriend of those days, later wife, that he fondly calls biwiji. Not sure if t! was the way she was and therefore was with Oz, or she became that way because she met Oz. But, overall, what a ram milayee Jodi!! Some of his personal posts about “surviving as an independent consultant”, “Review of iPhone”, his takes on 26/11 tragedy in Mumbai, in the last few days of Desi train, would be forever etched in my memory.

I slowly started discovering that Oz has moved on to another initiatives. Passionforcinema started appearing in big and bold, on his blog, he would frequently write about Anurag Kashyap, a man he would be highly inspired by and who helped him create Passionforcinema, which started as a blog and became a movement. With PFC, Oz’s influences on my life and many lives like me became much broader. Through PFC, Oz opened a whole new world for people like me, a world where we could read opinions about cinema from many Ozs, not just one. Not only that, PFC represented an opportunity for anyone with an opinion to get out there and express it and develop a writing style, all in real time. This post today is possible solely because of PFC.

I got an opportunity to meet the great man, along with biwiji t!. He met me like a friend and put his arms around me like an older brother, but I was simply awed by his presence. In my mind he remained that superb blog writer who inspired and moved me and I remained a fanboy. 3 hours were too little to spend in Oz’s company, he had so much to give. His constant take on torture cinema alone can last for days, it’s amazing how well each and every scene from these god forsaken films are in his mind, films many of which I haven’t even heard the names of. But the best description of Oz himself in my mind is that of a Jogi. He seems like a ramta jogi was born to freely roam around the earth. The fact that he is married says a lot about how wonderful and what miracle worker t is. Oz invited me to go visit him in San Diego, at his abode. But for ordinary mortals like me, who are stuck in the daily rut of life, visits to jogis only happen by luck. His world is different from mine. Plus, I have to bring the jogi inside me to go meet a real jogi like him. And, I have to keep the jogi inside me suppressed to meet my responsibilities of a normal family person.

And that brings me to Dingora, the reason, I started writing this post. Great people don’t rest on laurels. PFC was humming and was full of buzz. Leading personalities from film world were writing on PFC. Cine houses in Mumbai knew who Oz was. Yet, Oz was still searching..His head was full of millions of ideas and he wanted to move forward with all of them. But finally the world of Venture Capital did listen to him and Dingora became a reality.

I experienced my first film on Dingora, the long awaited Urf Professor, a film that was on top of Oz’s mind when I met him and without any surprise the first film to go up on Dingora, he used to get so many requests from people about the film, which he considers in the same league as Jane Bhi Do Yaro and I fully agree with him. Urf Professor never released in theatres. That’s where Dingora came into the scene.  Dingora makes films like Urf Professor reach its audience like me, sitting right in our homes on our laptops.

Dingora just worked perfect. The quality of the streaming was perfect, the initialization was quick and smooth and somehow in my heart of hearts, I got a sense that history is being made. I understand in this fast changing world of technology, everything gets copied. But as of now, I don’t think there is anything out there. Dingora was waiting to happen. Dingora had to happen. There had to be a better way, particularly for people like me, the non-jogies, who cannot go to film festivals to experience our slice of this alternate universe of art cinema. But Dingora is not just for people like me. Its audience is a huge universe, as large as the mainstream cinema, but there are not always found at one single place in a large enough number. That’s the conundrum that Dingora solves. Dingora is off to a rocking start and it won’t be before long that the mainstream studios wake up to it and want a piece of what Dingora represents. Hope that day comes soon, the day when the wizard called Oz gets his due.  I would simply pray for that because I want him to be done with his entrepreneurial stints and return to what he is born for – i.e. writing. Long live the wizard!!

Check out Passion for cinema at

Check out Dingora at

The site is under beta. You may need a code to activate your account. Check out Oz’s last post about Dingora on Passion for cinema here