[ poet + music producer + awokenword founder ]
Anuj Rastogi is a Toronto-based writer, spoken word poet and music composer. Anuj has cultivated his worldly sensibilities and uses elements of word play and storyline that thread together broad narratives about social, political, personal and human insights. His works "Breaking News" and "I Wanna Know", and "While You Were Sleeping" have featured extensively. His latest work, "Baby Girl", is a heartfelt love letter in admiration of his daughter, and a dream for the world our daughters may one day grow up in.
As a musician, he has composed and produced music for film scores, studio albums, and has performed with a number of diverse artists across Canada, the US, the UK and India. Anuj has also composed the original theme music track, "Cosmos", for the AwokenWord podcast.
Anuj founded the AwokenWord Podcast in 2018 out of a deep desire to surface nuanced, meaningful long-form conversation that can help us reconnect with our shared humanity. The world needs this now more than ever!
November 3rd, 2018 | Season 1 | 2 hrs 18 mins
art, education, history, humanity, inspiration, love, masculinity, music, poetry, politics, racism
In this episode of the AwokenWord podcast, Anuj Rastogi talks to Ian French, popularly known as "IF The Poet" and finalist in the 2015 World Slam Poetry championship in Paris. Ian has been the subject of a CBC documentary, and is a respected performer whose work spans the breadth of our collective, and individual human experiences. Anuj and Ian talk at length about the state of the world today, poetry, the journey of creativity, masculinity in today's world, being honest, the nuances of identity politics and political correctness, self-love and the importance of knowing your own story.
[*NOTE: Though planned at the time of this recording, Ian ultimately pulled out of present at the 2018 "Men and Masculinity Summit" in Toronto, for specific concerns of his own regarding a decision for this year's sumit. He's continued to be a supporter of the summit, and the cause.]
November 2nd, 2018 | Season 1 | 2 hrs 36 mins
alien, film, george lucas, hollywood, humanity, light saber, love, oscar, science fiction, star wars
In this episode of the AwokenWord podcast, Anuj Rastogi speaks with legendary, Academy award-winning Art Director and Filmmaker, Roger Christian. Roger walks through his incredible life's journey from childhood in the UK, to learning the craft of set direction to the day he was hired personally by George Lucas to lead set design on "Star Wars: A New Hope". Roger explains the process he went through in inventing and designing the light-saber, R2D2, and the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon, among many elements in the enduring look of the Star Wars universe.
Anuj and Roger discuss the evolution of cinema, Roger's inspirations and experiences with some of the greats of Hollywood, today's changing political and social landscape, what it means to be a man today, and the future of his newly resurrected feature film project, "Black Angel".
November 1st, 2018 | Season 1 | 1 hr 28 mins
culture, feminism, humanity, islam, love, multiculturalism, muslim, pakistan, politics, raheel, raza, religion, tolerance, youth
In this episode of the AwokenWord podcast, Anuj Rastogi speaks with Raheel Raza, author, speaker, and incredibly fierce activist and advocate for reform within the Muslim world. Raheel talks about her experience as a muslim, and a woman pushing for reformation within the community, and for open, honest dialogue. Raheel speaks about her work with youth, with the UN Human Rights Commission, and the crisis of an increasingly polarized world, and how difficult it can be to call a "spade a spade" in a climate where both sides of the political spectrum take issue with one's views without engaging in that dialogue.
October 31st, 2018 | Season 1 | 1 hr 9 mins
brexit, home, humanity, immigration, law, lawyer, love, migrants, politics, raj sharma, refugees, society
In this episode of the AwokenWord podcast, Anuj Rastogi talks to Raj Sharma, one of Canada's leading refugee lawyers. Raj talks about his experience as a refugee protection officer, as a refugee and immigration lawyer in the context of the current migrant crisis in the US, and potential impact on Canada. Anuj and Raj discuss the concept of home itself, what it means to leave home, and what it means to find a new place to call home. The conversation makes timely reference in the context of a rise in political polarization, brexit, far-right fears and increasing globalization.
October 30th, 2018 | Season 1 | 18 mins 38 secs
awoken, determinism, free will, history, host, human experience, introduction, love, omnesia, podcast
In this episode of the AwokenWord podcast, Anuj Rastogi introduces himself, the podcast and the reasons behind launching this podcast. Anuj also introduces his hypothesis on free-will, entitled the "Theory of Encumbered Will".