Tag Archives: lifestyle design

Film Credits On MySwar

Since MySwar launched 2011, we have steadfastly focused on crediting musicians making Hindi film music – music directors, lyricists, singers and when the information was available, arrangers, assistants, instrumentalists and so on. We believe that musician credits is a sadly overlooked aspect of music metadata in India. That is the reason you didn’t see any credits for the film cast and crew all this time. While we continue to hold that belief, we believe we have made a significant contribution in cataloguing comprehensive and accurate musician credits and it’s now time to start adding other film credits as well.

A few weeks ago we started showing credits for the film crew – specifically Director, Producer, Writer (Story, Dialogue, Screenplay), Cast and Studio. So far we have credits for over 1500 films and you should be able to find complete filmographies of the superstars – Dev Anand, Shammi Kapoor, Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan – and the major directors – Anurag Kashyap, Dibakar Banerjee, Gulzar, Guru Dutt, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Manmohan Desai, Nasir Hussain, Shakti Samanta, Subhash Ghai, Vishal Bhardwaj, Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Yash Chopra, among others. This remains a work in progress effort as we continue to add film credits for other films based on priority decided by the film’s significance and the significance of the film’s cast and crew.

This additional information is available on the website in the album page as well as in the app in the additional information screen for albums. On the website, this information is available in Hindi as well English.


One of the challenges we faced in this project is reconciling artists with same or similar names. For example, while Nasir Hussain (नासिर हुसैन) is the producer/director behind films like “Teesri Manzil” (1966), “Yaadon Ki Baarat” (1973) and “Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak” (1988); Nazir Hussain (नज़ीर हुसैन) is the actor known for his role in films like “Devdas” (1955), “Kashmir Ki Kali” (1964), “Jewel Thief” (1967) and “Amar Akbar Anthony” (1977). We have tried our best to ensure proper credits by using the primary source where we could – the credits in the film itself – as well as a number of other sources including the venerable Hindi Film Geet Kosh. If, however, you find mistakes, please do let us know and we’ll fix it.

In addition to regular search and display, you can also use Advanced Search to find songs that include actor/producer/director/writer/studio parameters. The results from these searches are indicative since – a) we don’t have all the films covered yet for these new credit attributes, b) the credits are at the film level, not the song level (relevant specially for actors).

I hope you like this new facet of MySwar and enjoy the delicious nuggets of information it offers.

Why we focus on money as a reason to work

  1. To fulfill our material aspirations
  2. To secure our future and our children’s future
  3. We do not find anything else in our job to motivate us
  4. We are too tired or too complacent to find out ways to make our work exciting and meaningful
  5. We are too afraid to quit and find work that offers more than just money
  6. We have forgotten that there is more to work than money
  7. We think all other reasons to work are for people who have already made money
  8. Everybody else focusses on money

This is a rejoinder to this Seth Godin post.

What does it mean to be an entrepreneur?

I saw The Social Network recently. It’s sharp, smart, funny and very entertaining. One fascinating scene in the movie got me thinking about what it means to be an entrepreneur. The scene involves Sean Parker, who is like the sidekick in this movie but could easily be the hero in another movie. Sean Parker is the co-founder of Napster and played a key role during the early days of Facebook. Vanity Fair ran this profile of him recently.

Coming back to the scene. Sean Parker is talking to a girl, Amy:

Amy: So what do you do?

Sean: I am an entrepreneur.

Amy: You are unemployed.

Sean: I wouldn’t say that.

Amy: What would you say?

Sean: That I’m an entrepreneur.

Amy: Well, what was your latest preneur?

A couple of observations:

  1. The scene nails the fact that there is a stigma of unemployment associated with entrepreneurship. I am not sure why that is. Is it because entrepreneurs don’t have typical 9 to 5 jobs? Or is it because many unemployed people find it easy to pass themselves off as entrepreneurs? Amy may just have been kidding, but in India, a lot of people think “Nothing better to do” when you tell them you are an entrepreneur.
  2. Some entrepreneurs tend to be self-deprecating, even insecure, till they have achieved some measure of success. They feel that calling themselves entrepreneurs would be cheating unless they have something to show for it. I went through that phase but finally decided that the textbook definition – “someone who organizes a business venture and assumes the risk for it” – works quite well.

So chill. And if you are wondering if you are an entrepreneur, you are. Don’t let a label hold you back.

[You can watch the scene here.]

6 questions for NRIs considering returning to India – The Decision

[Part 3 of a 3 part post. Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here.]

It’s not as if you call a family meeting and start discussing if returning to India is right for you. These questions need to be part of ongoing conversations in your family, regardless of how far out the eventual decision might be. When the time to make the decision comes, you will know what you need to do.

And when do you know the time to decide has come? A prospective disruptive change in your life is a good trigger. Moving to India is a big disruption. Choosing between two disruptions will give you a better chance of making a balanced and objective decision, as opposed to choosing between a disruption (moving to India) and status quo (n+1). That said, you probably should set some deadline. For me, the deadline was the year beyond which I would have to consider my eldest kids’ opinion about the matter. Based on the experience of friends and relatives, I felt that the decision-making becomes significantly more complicated when you need to consider your kids’ opinions as well.

Start asking yourselves these questions today. Decide when you have the opportunity. And once you decide, stay committed to making your decision work.

6 questions for NRIs considering returning to India – The Questions

[Part 2 of a 3 part post. Part 1 is here.]

While the choice of returning to India or staying is personal and depends on each family’s unique circumstances, the answers to the following questions lead us to a decision we can live with.

  1. How important are your Indian roots to you? How important is assimilating in the US? Will you and your family members be able to assimilate in the US while retaining your Indian roots?
  2. Will you and your family be able to adjust in today’s India? The India you will live in is very different from the India you see during your vacations, so don’t answer this question based on your vacation experience. Instead, think of what living in India was before you moved to the US. Add more crowd, more chaos and more pollution (use a multiplication factor based on the number of years you have been away and depending on how sensitive a person you are). Now temper it with slightly better infrastructure and more consumer choice (we get avocado, peanut butter and our favorite breakfast cereal here). This is the India of today. Talk to friends and family to get more insights. A friend of mine stayed in India for a few months on a trial basis before he made his “go, no-go decision” (he stayed back in the US).
  3. Where do you think your children will have a better future, better upbringing, better education? If you have older kids, you will have to talk to them about what moving to India means to them and get their feedback. Don’t worry about younger kids – you’ll be surprised how adaptable they are.
  4. Where will you have a better social life? Which place gives you a better support structure from friends and/or extended family?
  5. Do you have any obligations/responsibilities in India/in US? Old/ailing parents, mortgage, children with special needs, etc. Which location gives you a better shot at fulfilling these obligations?
  6. Mother of all questions – Picture yourself and your family in each country when you are 40, 50, 60. Which pictures do you like more?


  1. I do not include career related questions in the list because I believe they are irrelevant in this context and only cloud the decision-making. First decide, then figure out how to align your career with the decision. In a recent TechCrunch post, Vivek Wadhwa says “Sadly for my Indian friends in Silicon Valley who are looking to return home, returnees—formerly in high demand and treated like rock stars—are out of vogue and now treated like rocks.” I do not quote this to discourage folks from returning but to illustrate that job markets are fickle and you cannot pin a big decision on something that’s transitory.
  2. Sorry, I cheated in the title. There are more than six questions but “question sets” does not sound half as good.]

6 questions for NRIs considering returning to India – The Dilemma

[This is first part of a 3-part post – The Dilemma, The Questions, The Decision.]

It is a well-known fact that all Indians in the US consider moving back to India at one point of time or the other. We discuss and debate about it, all the while putting off the final decision. The reason we do this is that most of us do not have a clear plan.

It all starts in the first few months of our first visit. During these months, if our experiences in the US are net positive, we tend to find justifications to extend our stay – better career prospects, better standard of living, more money, more fun, etc. Then, we get married and have kids in the US, so they can get citizenship (too good a deal for any Indian to resist!). “Our children will have all the opportunities that we never had.” In due course, we invest in the latest gizmos, cars and homes. “If we are going to be around, we might as well be comfortable”. Since visa processing is such a big hassle, we get ourselves green cards and eventually citizenships. “It’s really cool zipping through the short, US national immigration line while the other desis plod through the long visitor line!”

All this is mostly planned on-the-go, one year at a time. It is around this time, that many of us start thinking about returning to India. Some choose to return (like I did), some choose to settle down in the US permanently and the rest stay in what’s popularly called the n+1 mode (deferring decision by a year) till circumstances force them to decide. The n+1 folks are unfortunate since more likely than not, the ultimate decision will not be made on their terms.

The Big Leap

Till December 2009, I had a nice job in a big company. I had a beautiful home in a quiet Chicago suburb, two cars and was living the American dream. And one fine day I lost my head – I quit my job, sold my house, returned to India and bootstrapped a startup. Or so it seemed to some of my acquaintances. To many of my friends and relatives, the decision to change my career and home seemed abrupt. Some suggested (only half-jokingly) that I was going through a mid-life crisis. Here is what actually happened:

  • I took nine months to make up my mind. There was nothing abrupt about my decision.
  • A big part of my decision was to do with aligning life and career goals. Should we fit our life around our career or the other way round? Most of us end up doing the former. A lot of times, it is a matter of necessity – typically financial needs or personal constraints. Sometimes though, it’s because we lose sight of what we really want to do in life. It’s important to consider that as we grow as individuals, what we want from our lives change. A career that may have met our life aspirations five years ago may not align with our current aspirations.
  • I really did not have a choice. My decision practically made itself. I couldn’t express this point more eloquently than this post by Seth Godin.

Throughout the nine month period, I consumed an enormous amount of content related to life and career changes and startups. I had it easy because many had undertaken this exciting journey before me:

  • Movies – Clerks, High Fidelity, Notting Hill, Departures (a Japanese movie), Rocket Singh – Salesman of the Year

The long and deliberate process I went through is probably not right for everyone who is assessing a life/career change, but it held me in good stead. The day I finally put in my papers, I felt as if a huge weight had been lifted off me. For the first time in many years, I was the master of my destiny.