I probably only have two hobbies in life – reading (ofcourse) and watching movies/series. While reading has also led me to blogging and making bookish friends on social media, binge watching has always been much of a personal thing for me. While I have talked about what I’ve been watching in some of my weekly update posts, I’ve been notoriously inconsistent with posting them. But 2022 is also the first year that I started tracking (not successfully) the movies and series I’ve been watching, so I thought why not make an year end post about all the non bookish media I really enjoyed this year. So, Here I am…. and I hope you enjoy reading this list.
I’ve also realized that I have too many things to talk about, so I’m gonna try to limit to mentioning only my absolute favorites.
I’m not someone who listens to a lot of music because I’ve only grown up on Indian movie songs and that’s what feels like my comfort zone. So my favorite music of the year is gonna be devoid of any Taylor Swift or BTS or Kpop in general.
But I do have to mention PSY and SUGA’s collab “That That” because I had so much fun watching that music video and I spent many days watching and listening to it repeatedly in the days after it’s release.
Another song that has taken America by storm is “Naatu Naatu” from director Rajamouli’s historical epic RRR, which I’m really hoping will get an Oscar nom for original song, after it recently garnered noms at both the Globes and Critics Choice.
There have been quite a few movies and dramas whose OSTs have thoroughly impressed me this year.
For movies, I was floored by the soundtracks of Monica O My Darling as well as Qala, which both transported me to the world of old Bollywood and I can’t choose which of the two movies had my favorite songs. (Click on the images for YT jukebox links.)
As for cdramas, my first loves will always be any songs sung by Liu Yuning. Even when I don’t understand the words, he brings such great emotion in his voice and I just love listening to him. So, he had some great songs this year in various dramas like Heroes, Who Rules the World, Love Between Fairy and Devil, A Dream of Splendor, and My Sassy Princess. (Click on the drama titles for the YT links to his songs).
And if I have to choose my favorite full soundtrack and BGM among cdramas, the two standouts ones are Love Between Fairy and Devil, and most recently Lighter and Princess. They have some beautiful songs, excellent score which keeps the emotional connect going, and ofcourse standout visuals to go with the songs. (Click on the drama images for the YT links).
The days when I’m not in the mood for an audiobook but need to listen to something while doing chores, I’ve gotten used to podcasts and they have been such a lovely new addition to my life.
Behind the Bastards is probably the one I’ve been listening to for the longest time now and while it’s about some of the worst people in history, the hosts bring a lot of fun to very harrowing stories.
I’m a huge Rachel Maddow fan, so there was no doubt I was gonna checkout Ultra. And she is brilliant at telling this WWII story of Nazism in America and one of the most significant but forgotten sedition trials of American history.
Stuff the British Stole is an old podcast which I only found a few months ago and I’ve been making my way through it still. But it’s fascinating to know about how far the tentacles of British empire reach.
If Books Could Kill is a very recently started podcast but I’ve been loving it, because not only is it book related, it’s about the kind of negative societal impacts certain books have had.
Desi Books is another one which I’ve been loving because I’m always looking for more South Asian literature and the host Jenny Bhatt really brings spotlight on authors I might not usually get to know about in the US.
I was also curious like many others about what Meghan Markle was gonna do next, so The Archetypes podcast didn’t come as a total surprise. I really liked the idea of this show and the interviews with women from across the world were very illuminating.
Downfall was the first documentary I watched this year and it really impacted me because I was so horrified at the actions of Boeing and then petrified when I had to travel from India to the US a couple of months later.
Harry & Meghan is the last documentary of the year, and I didn’t even realize until a week before release that it was coming. And it was quite eye opening to see how relentless the backlash against Meghan was, and it only made me like Harry more for standing by his wife and deciding to step out of a toxic environment.
The Great British Baking Show is an absolute favorite of mine and I loved following the latest season and was full of joy when Syabira won.
I’ve written about this before in my Nonfiction November post but I went from reading the book RISE about Asian American pop culture to watching 38 At the Garden, and then getting to know more about Jeremy Lin’s story in Linsanity.
I like seeing this picture because it’s web series in four different languages and various genres too. And this variety is what keeps me hooked onto my television and devices.
While I’ve loved my danmei novels and adaptations, Bad Buddy was the first explicitly gay Asian drama I’ve ever watched and it was such a wonderful experience. It’s cute as well as angsty and Ohm and Nanon lit up the screen with their adorable chemistry.
Lighter and Princess is one of the very few contemporary cdramas I’ve watched this year and while I didn’t have any expectations going in, it turned to be fun and tropey in the best way possible and I had such a good time. And it helps that both Chen Feiyu and Zhang Jingyi were so cute looking.
I’ve watched quite a few web series in various Indian languages this year and while some have left impressions on me, none has done it more than Guilty Minds. This turned out to be such a unique courtroom drama and I loved how realistic it felt, and the two leads were spectacular together.
I remember watching the documentary The Inventor a couple of years ago and being amazed at the kind of fraud Elizabeth Holmes was able to perpetuate with Theranos. I also read Bad Blood this year, so it was natural to want to watch the miniseries about her, The Dropout, excellently acted by Amanda Seyfried.
And this picture definitely represents some of my most favorite shows I’ve watched this year and ones I’m sure I’ll revisit later.
A Dream of Splendor was not on my radar at all because I didn’t know the lead couple but I kept reading amazing things about it across social media, so I couldn’t resist watching. Turned out to be such a beautiful drama with outstanding chemistry between Liu Yifei and Chen Xiao, and Liu Yuning’s stunning OST.
I’m a huge Yang Yang fan and Zhao Lusi is adorable, so how could I not watch a drama featuring both of them, that too a wuxia/palace drama. And Who Rules the World was fun. I loved the action bits, adored their scenes together, and while I probably liked the book more, the drama was very enjoyable too. I wrote a whole post about it if you wanna checkout here.
Cang Lan Jue or Love Between Fairy and Devil was another drama which I didn’t plan on watching, coz xianxia just doesn’t feel like my kind of genre. But everyone kept telling it’s exactly for xianxia skeptics like me, and wow were they absolutely right. CLJ is visually stunning, I’m still thinking of some of the most beautiful backdrops and costumes, and Dylan Wang, Esther Yu and Zhang Linghe were an awesome trio to follow along. And who can forget the songs and music which keeps haunting you long after you finish watching the drama.
I’m late to the party because Joy of Life seems to be everyone’s favorite but I didn’t wanna watch it because of the cliffhanger and unknown fate of season 2. But my husband decided he wanted to watch it, so I had to keep him company. And it was as fun and entertaining as I expected. Zhang Ruoyun really has a style of his own which I’m coming to appreciate and I really hope the second season gets made. Hoping for Xiao Zhan to return is probably too much wishful thinking though.
I’ve watched very few movies in the theatres this year, so my favorite theatrical releases is a short list.
PS-1 or Ponniyin Selvan-1 was a highly anticipated release for me and while I didn’t manage to read the books the movie is based on, I absolutely loved the movie. It has great production values, stunning sets and costumes, wonderful actors and an entertaining story. I’m very intrigued by the cliffhanger and can’t wait to see the conclusion next year.
I was looking forward to Wakanda Forever to see how they would handle the death of Chadwick Boseman and I loved how this superhero movie was also successful in being a meditation on loss and grief and family. It was heartbreaking but also healing at the same time and I commend the director and writer for deciding to make this story.
An Action Hero was an impulse watch in the theatre, because I kept hearing excellent critic reviews but abysmal box office numbers. And turns out, it really was an absolutely thrilling action movie while also being a meta commentary on Bollywood and the current media and fan culture in India. I hope it’s a better success on streaming and reaches out more to the audience.
Finally comes Brahmastra. This is a movie even I have been waiting for since it’s announcement years ago and I was just glad that it was coming out. And I was so happy that it turned out to be fun and entertaining, with an interesting new universe and excellent visual effects, while also promising a lot more for the sequel. My anticipation for the next is now at an all time high and I hope we get the amazing casting we are hoping for.
Naturally, I’ve watched more movies on my TV this year, so I decided to make a separate list for such favorites.
Badhaai Do is probably one of the earliest movies I watched in 2022 and I still can’t forget it. It’s a sensitive and heartwarming portrayal of a gay man and lesbian woman in India who get married to each other, so that they don’t have to come out, while also satisfying their families. It’s just so full of heart and I bawled towards the end, and I’m just glad it got made, with all the expected mainstream Bollywood elements.
Everything Everywhere All At Once is one movie I regret missing in the theatres but I am glad I atleast watched it. It’s stunning imagination had me on my toes from the first moment and then had me sobbing while watching two rocks – this is mad moviemaking at it’s best and I’ll riot if Michelle Yeoh doesn’t atleast get an Oscar nomination, and hopefully a win.
Alia Bhatt, Vijay Varma and Shefali Shah in one movie felt like such unique casting and they proved once more how good they are in Darlings. I’m still marveling at how a first time director managed to make a dark comedy about domestic violence without making it cringey, and I tip my hat off to her.
Monica O My Darling felt like it’ll be a lot of fun right from the trailer and it totally lived up to my expectations. It’s both a noir thriller and an ode to 70s Bollywood and I admire the director for managing to do it so well. And ofcourse you can’t go wrong with such stellar casting.
At a time when not many romcoms are being made or are being successful across Indian cinema came Sita Ramam, a historical romance movie which delighted me with it’s beauty and charm and lovable main couple.
Wow was this a long post. And I took a whole afternoon to type this thing lol… If you are still here, thank you so much for reading and I hope you had fun reading this. And I also hope we have some common favorites. Also, please feel free to share your favorite movies/dramas/music and podcasts that you think I am missing out on and should totally checkout.
Behind the bastards & what british stole both sounds interresting! Now i’m curious to if the second talk about the Acadian deportation of 1755 after they « won » us from their war with france 😅 which probably not. (To this day Canada is still under British’s monarchy.. though we don’t have any real link to them other than on our money..)
Definately been under a rock, PSY is back again?!
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I hope you check them both out. I’m sure any of us who come from previously British colonized countries will definitely find things to relate to in the Stuff British stole podcast..
Haha yes… PSY had a new album early this year and he did a couple of collabs in it.. one was with Suga from BTS and it was just so much fun 😊😊😊
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Oh! Id need to go on a psy train then and go give it a listen!
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Have fun !!!