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Zelenskyys, Putins and Xis - The Good, the Bad, the Ugly of 2022

Updated: Dec 31

Has it really been 3 years since this unwelcome guest called Covid-19 entered our lives and took over our collective consciousness? Ah, those innocent days when the lockdowns were going to be just for 14 days, and then magically the virus would disappear with the bang of a thali and the hypnotic chant of "Go Corona go !" by hip-hop artist DJ Lil' Ramdas Athawale. Unfortunately, it's making a roaring comeback in its birthplace, where the ego and iron grip of its leader has supplanted common sense and science. Similarly we thought we would be done with another malevolent virus after the election of November 2020, and surely after the violent insurrection of January 6, 2021 and the attempted coup to stop the peaceful transfer of power for the first time in 245 years. But that one is unfortunately alive and well too, and raring to make an equally unwelcome comeback. Then in February this year, a megalomaniac in the land of the sar pe laal topi, initiated a war, sorry "special military operation", of choice for the purpose of conquest, and he shows no signs of stopping till millions of innocents pay the ultimate price. Personality cults anywhere, be they in one's own country or afar, are a recipe for disaster. As a final tadka on this turd taco, the stock market is set to have its worst year since the crash of 2008. 2022 has been too much of a deja vu year to the annus horribilis of 2020.


Thank God (and I definitely don't mean the movie of that name starring Ajay Devgn and Siddharth Malhotra) then for movies and shows and series. In a world dominated by bad news and the dictum, "If it bleeds, it leads", good entertainment has the power to transport one to a different world, even if it is just for a few hours. The technology available at our fingertips has continued to evolve giving us a plethora of choices in any format, language and duration. The sheer number of streaming channels is growing exponentially bringing with it choice but also fragmentation and a sense of FOMO. So much to see, so little time !


The new buzzword in India is pan-India content. Movies in regional languages, especially in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam, have taken the box office crown bringing much needed audiences back to the theaters across the country, with even the Hindi dubbed versions ruling the roost, while Hindi language movies and so called known and bankable stars have bitten the dust. Art doesn't have to be a zero sum game though. There's enough of a market domestic and worldwide for all parties to flourish.


So as we close out this year. as is required by law of all critics and reviewers in order to maintain our license, here's my list of the good (the Zelenskyys), the bad (the Putins) and the ugly (the Xis), along with where to find them. (The thin-skinned, orange-tanned resident of Mar-a-Lago is so far beyond bad and ugly, that he doesn't even merit getting counted). My list is not rank-ordered. It's just what I felt was good, smart entertainment versus the chalta hai /strictly one time watch versus mind-numbing drivel versus the disastrously brain dead. It's all subjective of course, because one person's sushi is another person's cold, raw fish. I have obviously not seen all there is to see, so this list comprises only what I saw. I would be glad to hear from you in the Comments section any suggestions on what I should have watched and may have missed, or any other howlers I should have absolutely missed. Those that I have reviewed on this site are hyperlinked.


Best of 2022 - The Good


Kaun Pravin Tambe? (Hulu (US) / Disney+ Hotstar (India))

Rocket Boys (Sony Liv)

Kimi (HBO Max)

WWII in Color : Road to Victory (Netflix)

Downfall : The Case Against Boeing (Netflix)

Operation Mincemeat (Netflix)

Top Gun : Maverick (Paramount+ (US) / Amazon Prime (India)

Laal Singh Chaddha (Netflix)

The Sound of 007 (Amazon Prime)

Monica, O My Darling (Netflix)

Ponniyin Selvan : I (Amazon Prime)

Khakee : The Bihar Chapter (Netflix)

Avatar : The Way of Water (in theaters)

Glass Onion : A Knives Out Mystery (Netflix)

Doctor G (Netflix)

Sharmaji Namkeen (Amazon Prime)

Gangubai Kathiawadi (Netflix)

Jalsa (Amazon Prime)

Badhaai Do (Netflix)

The Crown Season 5 (Netflix)

Trevor Noah : I Wish You Would (Netflix)

Delhi Crime Season 2 (Netflix)

Panchayat Season 2 (Amazon Prime)

Vikram (Hulu)

Jana Gana Mana (Netflix)

Bullet Train (Netflix)

Everything Everywhere All At Once (Amazon Prime)


Dhobi ke kuttey (Neither here nor there) - The Meh


Kantara (Netflix)

RRR (Netflix)

Goodbye (Netflix)

Shabaash Mithu (Netflix)

Darlings (Netflix)

Jayeshbhai Jordaar (Amazon Prime)


Worst of 2022 - The Bad


Satyameva Jayate 2 (Amazon Prime, released theatrically in 2021)

Ye Kaali Kaali Aankhen (Netflix)

Gehraiyaan (Amazon Prime)

Thar (Netflix)

Blonde (Netflix)

Maja Ma (Amazon Prime)

Brahmastra (Hulu (US) / Disney+ Hotstar (India))

K.G.F. : Chapter 2 (Amazon Prime)

Jug Jugg Jeeyo (Amazon Prime)


In a category all of its own - The Ugly


Cirkus (in theaters, hopefully not for long)


Wishing all my readers a very Happy New Year. May all your wishes be Avatar and may no Cirkus darken your days. Looking forward to a much better 2023. See you at the movies.


December 30, 2022




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