Life Of Navin

Random Musings, Random Bullshit.


Writing your first eBPF program!

Extended Berkeley Packet Filters (eBPF) is probably the most exciting additions to the Linux Kernel in recent times. To put it simply, eBPF is designed as a very nice middle-ground between native kernel changes, which have traditionally been very slow (arguably rightfully) to come into mainline, and kernel modules, which have become a popular footgun for anyone working at the kernel level.

My introduction to eBPF was through Pyroscope, which uses eBPF to provide continuous profiling (And anyone who's worked with code long enough knows the pain that it takes to profile a system running in Prod WITHOUT having a significant impact on performance), and over time, I've been playing around with more tools in the eBPF space, whether it's on the networking front (a la Caretta), or on the security/observability front (a la Cilium / Falco), to wilder shots like load balancing (a la Katran). But while I've grokked the "what" and "why" of eBPF, the "how" was something that was always a mystery to me.

So I dug a little to see how you can write your own eBPF-enabled program, and it turned out to be much easier than I assumed it would be... So let's see how we do it!

For this sample app, we'll write a simple Python program that will act as the userspace application and have it communicate with an eBPF program written in C (which the eBPF compiler will compile to bytecode and run at the kernel level). So let's get started.

First, let's install the bpfcc-tools and linux-headers package, which has what we need(*)

 $ sudo apt-get install bpfcc-tools linux-headers-$(uname -r)

And now we can write our code:

$ cat

from bcc import BPF

ebpf_program = r"""
int process_start(void *ctx) {
   bpf_trace_printk("A new process was started!");
   return 0;
prog = BPF(text=ebpf_program)
execve_syscall = prog.get_syscall_fnname("execve")
prog.attach_kprobe(event=execve_syscall, fn_name="process_start")

And that's it! Our eBPF hello-worldis now ready for action. To run it, simply run the file in the terminal

$ sudo python3
# Depending on your package version, you may see some warnings here

In another terminal, you can kick off some processes by running commands like ls, echo, cat etc. and every time a new process starts (which internally uses the execve syscall), you'll see a message printed in the running python application.

b'       bash-3713    [000] d...1 12276.629282: bpf_trace_printk: A new process was started!'
b'       bash-3714    [000] d...1 12278.088251: bpf_trace_printk: A new process was started!'
b'       python3-3715    [000] d...1 12278.244559: bpf_trace_printk: A new process was started!'

So, how does this work? Well, the code should be quite self-explanatory, but the important bit is the prog.attach_kprobe(event=execve_syscall, fn_name="process_start") line. What this does is create and attach a kprobe to each call to execve and runs a hook defined in process_start method, which is what is compiled to eBPF bytecode. 

You can probably appreciate how this makes writing applications that can access kernel level data so much easier, and allow access at an incredibly detailed level. Want to know when a file is accessed? eBPF allows that. Want to know when a process talks to another? No problemo. Want to know when a network socket request is made? Easy, peasy!(^) eBPF's relatively straightforward interface means that even with so much fine-grained access to syscalls, picking, filtering, slicing, and dicing kernel calls is straightforward, without needing as much low-level kernel knowledge. Best of all, since eBPF is compiled to bytecode by the eBPF compiler and executed within the kernel rather than in userspace, the performance impact of these listeners is EXTREMELY low. This allows real-world applications like continuous profiling, network security, and load balancing to be driven through eBPF without worrying too much about real-world performance.

I've been playing with eBPF over the last year or so and would definitely recommend folks to look into this incredible kernel technology. Who knows, it may just be the system-level observability "silver bullet" you've been looking for.


(*) I'm running this on Ubuntu 22.04. Instructions may be a bit different depending on your distro. But as long as you have a fairly modern kernel version (4.1+) you should be able to get this up and running.

(^) If there's interest, I may just make this a multi-part series diving deeper into how to write these applications as well.


"The more you know, the more you realize you know nothing."

Movies of 2022

Well, it's that time of the year again isn't it? After a year that's brought us some incredible movies, it's time for the much awaited (or so I've been told) list of my favorite movies of 2022. I genuinely felt that this year was the first year since COVID began when movies really kicked back into high gear. So many great movies across the year that picking a single "Best Of" list really doesn't do justice. But let me try my best to put across my opinion nonetheless. Here we go!:

13. Rosaline

The story of Romeo and Juliet has been hashed and rehashed over and over for centuries at this point. But have you ever heard the story from the perspective of Romeo's ex-girlfriend, Rosaline? That's the one-line pitch for this quirky movie, which pretty much went under the radar this year. This genre of modern-day takes on classics is a guilty pleasure of mine, and if you add in some great comic timing, paired with a really fun jilted-girlfriend performance by Kaitlyn Dever, then you have yourself a very enjoyable watch!

12. Happening

Annie Ernaux, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature this year, wrote the book that this movie is based on, which deals with the topic of an unwanted pregnancy in a country where abortions are illegal (1960s France). What should, in any decent democratic state, be a simple, straightforward process to give someone authority over their own body is unfortunately rarely the case. In a landmark year where the gReaTEsT DEmOCRaCY has taken away the rights of half their population's to choose, it really goes to show how history can be cyclic.

Three other movies that deal with the theme of women dealing with a system stacked against them from this year that I enjoyed were Saani Kaayidham, Gargi and Qala. In each of these, the central themes couldn't be more different from each other, nor could the director's vision. But all three movies tell stories of resiliency in the face of sheer adversity, led by excellent leading actors.

11. Triangle of Sadness

No annual "best of" list is complete without a dark satirical comedy cementing it's place in it, and boy oh boy, is Triangle of Sadness the most juicy satire you'll see all year! Since Force Majeure, Ruben Östlund has carved out a name for himself as a director to watch out for, and Triangle of Sadness really does deliver on that promise. The story, which starts off on a cruise-liner for the super-rich, deals with the class divide in a delightful way, and will leave you in splits when you watch it, but then kicks off an eternity thinking of the layers below the surface.  And while the movie does leave you with a bit of an open ending, it's been interesting to discuss with friend how they interpret the ending, because it's a glimpse into their rationalization rather than the movie itself.

If you are a fan of quirky, satirical movies, then another fun movie from this year was Official Competition

10. Bullet Train

Cinema is all about escape, and no genre of cinema promises more escape than the action thriller/comedy. And you've got to admit, in recent years, the bar for action movies has been quite high. And for me, the movie that defined the genre this year was Bullet Train. The John Wick series is such a guilty pleasure for me, so when the new David Leitch movie came out, it was a must-watch! Set almost entirely on a single train (Snowpiercer vibes anyone?), the movie tracks a bunch of zany characters, connected to each other in one way or another, culminating in action set pieces that are oh-so-beautiful interspersed with a tonne of out-and-out comedy, and callbacks that'll give you major whiplash in all the best ways!

I maintain a list of movies that I enjoyed watching through the year, and the first movie that made it on was Ambulance which is in the similar genre, and truly Michael Bay doing what Michael Bay does best. And of course, Top Gun Maverick is another movie in the same genre from this year that deserves a watch! Monica, O My Darling and Knives Out: Glass Onion are other Action comedies I enjoyed this year

9. The Fabelmans

I'm an absolute sucker for movies that tell stories that are very personal to the director, and who better to tell a story about his own life then the king himself, Steven Spielberg. The Fabelmans is a story of a fictional family, but is based closely on the director's own childhood and details the coming-of-age story of a kid who loves movies and the extents he'll go to in order to be able to do what his heart tells him to do. Like classics like Cinema Paradiso, this movie is a love-letter to movie-making as much as it is the story of a cinema-obsessed child in a dysfunctional family in 1960s USA. As someone obsesses with movies, watching The Fabelmans was a throwback to the freedom and obsession that only young adulthood can provide.

Two other movies in a similar vein I enjoyed watching in 2022 were Licorice Pizza and Chello Show (Though the latter is a bit too "inspired" by Cinema Paradiso for my liking)

8. Love Today

Modern relationships are rarely captured well in Indian rom-coms, with most movies being written quite obviously by middle-aged teams trying to capture what modern relationships look like. And this means just randomly throwing in some Millenial/Gen Z lingo for brownie points and calling it a day. But out of the blue, a movie like Love Today comes out and shows you how it's done. The premise is simple: A girl's father asks the couple to exchange their mobile phones with each other for a day as a precondition to accept their alliance, and all hell breaks loose. But the execution is where this movie shines! Fron the creative editing and jumpcuts, to the quirky background score, to the incorporation of tech in the movie, to storypoints that'll have you laughing out loud, Love Today manages to craft an interpretation of a RomCom that I hope more folks try to emulate. Hattip to Pradeep Ranganathan, who both directs the movie and plays the main doofus protagonist of the movie

7. The Batman

This was finally the year when it happened. "Peak Superhero" was finally reached, and specifically with the MCU, it felt like I'm officially too old to see more CGI-heavy rehashes of the same story from the Russos. But like The Joker from a few years back, a new, refreshing take on the caped crusader was just what the doctor ordered! The Batman was by far the best superhero movie of the year IMO. I loved Matt Reeves' take on the hero, and returning him back to the detective roots was such a great creative decision (from whatever it is that the awful Justice League batman was). While I did initially have reservations about the choice of Pattinson as Batman, the screenplay of this entire movie played very well into his strengths as an actor. Not to mention Paul Dano in a very unique interpretation of The Riddler that was the cherry on the cake!

6. A Hero

From a superhero to a movie where performing a heroic act creates the central tension in the film. A Hero is another installment of the "slice of Iranian life presented in the form of a story" series of films by Asghar Farhadi (of The Salesman and A Seperation fame) that deals with the ramifications of a "heroic act" that a prisoner performs while out on parole. There's few directors who manage to meld in distinct cultural markers of their cultures into their movie-making (Panahi being the obvious other name for Iranian cinema, and Zhangke for Chinese cinema), and with A Hero, Farhadi shows how he has perfected the balancing act of telling a story while offering a glimpse into society that it's based in.

5. Kantara

If you are from India, then you should just skip the next two movies on the list because you've probably heard enough about these movies for the better half of the last 3-4 months. But heck, the praise for both is extremely well deserved. Kantara by Rishab Shetty, who's also lead actor in the movie, is a movie that takes the much-explored "bad-landlord good-villagers" trope and blends together with elements from local mythology/folklore into a spectacle that's been causing waves across the country for months. Having grown up being part of the Dakshin Kannada culture and having experienced events like Bhuta-kola and others personally, seeing a action fantasy that incorporates these into it's story with arguably the best cinematography and sound design that Kannada cinema has ever seen was absolutely surreal. The movies I most closely compare Kantara to are Jallikattu and Tumbbad, both of which have made it onto my yearly lists in the past for many of the same reasons that I loved Kantara!

Kantara does have it's fair share of elements of horror, but this has been a great year for horror fans nonetheless with movies like Hatching, Nope, and Smile providing plenty of spooks.

4. Vikram 

If Kannada cinema delivered us Kantara, then Tamil cinema was not one to be left behind with Vikram. Yes, I know all the problems this movie has. Yes, it may not have a deep social message behind it. Yes, it's "massy" in the most massy way possible. But I'll fight anyone who'll say Vikram wasn't an absolute blast of a movie. Kamal Hassan + Fahadh Faasil + Vijay Sethupati (+ Suriya being a tease) in a movie directed by Lokesh Kanagaraj and music by Anirudh Ravichander. What more can a Tamil movie fan ask for? Heck, I walked out of this movie and hummed "Plata o plomo" for a week. If there's one cinematic universe I'm in for for 2023, it has to be the Lokiverse (and yes, I know how ridiculous that sounds as well... bite me! 😆)

Speaking of massy, two other mainstream movies I enjoyed this year were 83 (which I still can't believe flopped quite badly), and Sita Ramam (which is a great example of romantic dramas done right)

3. Boiling Point

Folks who know me know my relationship with cooking that has developed over the years into a skill I want to master, and an escape I need to have. And as such, movies and documentaries based around cooking always pique my interest. Boiling Point is just that. The movie is a one-shot movie set in a restaurant over a single night, moving from person to person, between the head chef, the sous, the managers, the servers, the dishwashers, and the guests. I have a few friends working in the food industry, and their anecdotes of working in a professional restaurant aligned with this movie quite a bit while making me feel extra-cushy about my "sit in shorts and work with code" career. Boiling Point hammers in the stresses that hover below the surface of most restaurants. I promise you'll not complain about tardy waiters or food taking too long for a few weeks after watching this movie!

Another excellent movie based on the theme of food is The Menu, which features Ralph Fiennes as as mysterious chef at an exclusive luxury restaurant where a select group of people get invited for dinner.

2. Everything Everywhere All At Once 

There was one movie about multiverses that was heavily publicized this year, and another one that was actually a great movie. The latter was Everything Everywhere All At Once. I really don't know how to even explain this movie to someone to get them interested in it, so I won't even try. Just know two things: 1) That this is a movie about a middle aged woman who discovers she can jump between multiverses and 2) That when you will walk out from this movie, you'll come out with a wide smile, a blown mind, and a full heart! Michelle Yeoh puts forth an incredible performance as the protagonist, but is supported equally well by Ke Huy Quan who playes her husband. The Daniels' are slowly proving their mettle as the Absurdist duo (their previous feature was the whimsical Swiss Army Man). As an addon, you have to see this WIRED feature on how they've mastered the art of building CGI on a budget in an age where Bollywood struggles even today with basic CGI.

1. Tár

A movie that I keep debating about with Arch is the 2014 movie Whiplash, which is one of my all time favorite movies. And the debate is always the same. Do the results justify the methods when we're talking about the process of learning? Tár deals with the same subject but modifies the question a little to ask: Does brilliance justify the behaviour that it comes from? We've heard all the stories of Steve Jobs being an A-hole which many folks justify would justify with some variant of "He deeply cares about the product hence...". Or everytime you see The Shining, and knowing that Kubrick pretty much psychologically tortured Duvall, which translated into one of the best pieces of acting. And of course the eternal question of "Can you seperate the art from the artist?". Tár attempts to explore some of these questions through the story of the titular Lydia Tár, who's a world famous orchestra conductor. Cate Blanchett pulls a powerhouse performance in this (I'll be surprised if she doesn't win the Oscar for this role). Long after the credits roll, you'll be left pondering about the questions this movie raises!

Honorable Mentions: Gehraiyaan, After Yang, Jalsa, The Northman, Kaun Pravin Tambe?, 7 Days, Chup, Prey, The Banshees of Inisherin, All Quiet On The Western Front, Fresh, Pleasure, Jana Gana Mana

All in all, 2022 was a momentous year in terms of the world returning to a semblance of normalcy after a couple of crazy years. And it looks like 2023 is only going to get bigger and better! So as always, here's hoping that 2023 brings with it more great experiences for everyone and I hope to see you all the movies!

Movies of 2021

Well, it's that time of the year again... Another year in the pandemic, though to be honest, this year felt less surreal than the last. Or maybe we've just learnt to find traces of meaning in this kakfkaesque world, with lifestyle adjustments, both big and small, defining the year for us. Thanks to this constant sense of dread (which got triggered even more with the second wave which hit many of my direct gaggle of friends and family), 2021 was the first year in a long time when I didn't visit a movie theater even once over the course of the entire year. 

Yet, the ever-growing number of OTT platforms (along with our friends at the bay of pirates 😉) ensured that noone could complain about being bored at least. 2021 was a fun year at the movies, so without saying much else, here's some movies I enjoyed watching this year:

13. Lamb (trailer)


Nordic cinema has seen a revival of sorts over the last few years with their movies getting distributed much more widely, both by OTT platforms and traditional media houses. And what I love about a lot of Nordic movies are the whimsical horror movies that come out of there (I still tell everyone I know to watch Dead Snow). Lamb falls bang within this genre. The movie centers around a couple in Iceland who discover an unnatural birth in their sheep pen, and then raise the creature as their own child. A really fun mashup between folklore, fantasy, horror and drama!

If you enjoy Lamb, this year also had Malignant, which was a fun James Wan directed horror flick (which also extensively uses an excellent cover of one of my fave songs), and Titane, which is an excellent entrant to the school of French body-horror!

12. The Mauritanian (trailer)

The Mauritanian is based on the true story of Mohamedou Ould Slahi, who was arrested and held at Guantanamo Bay for 14 years with no charges filed against him, simply because the army claimed he was part of Al Qaeda. "Innocent until proven guilty" is simply a phrase unless it is actively practised. And in an age where the government in India seems to be inching closer and closer to using draconian laws as a catch-all against all dissent, this movie hit much harder.

The Mauritanian stars the always charming Bumberdit Clunderbash as the army prosecutor prosecuting Slahi. If you enjoy his movies, you should also check out The Courier which came out this year, which is based on another true story of espionage during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

11. Mandela (trailer)


South Indian cinema is an absolute beast that's just grown leaps and bounds over the last decade. And Mandela was one of the finest political satires I've seen in a long time. A village where 2 fighting upper-caste factions realise that the deciding vote in the village election will be that of the low caste village barber is such a great premise, and executed to near perfection. Yogi Babu truly shines in every frame of this movie!

Some other really good South Indian movies at the interesection of politics, religion and caste that came out this year were Nayattu, and Kuruthi (end of the day, we're all Prithviraj Sukumaran stans, aren't we?)

10. The Trip (trailer)


Another entrant from Scandinavia in the list, The Trip is the story of a couple that plan a trip to a remote lodge, but unknown to them, each is planning to kill the other on the trip. The movie is a laugh out loud riot, and reminded me quite a bit of Papa, sdokhni, which was on the list last year.

Some other comedies focussed on couples at odds with each other that came out this year which you'd also enjoy are Together and Ikkat, both of which focus on couples cooped-in together during the covid lockdown, the former in the UK, and the latter in Namma Bengaluru!

9. Shiva Baby (trailer)

Ever been at a family function where you feel like you are the only person that doesn't belong there? Well, that's the foundation that Shiva Baby builds itself on. What do you think would happen if a young, confused, bisexual, jewish lady attends to a family function where other invitees include her lesbian ex-lover, her ex-sugardaddy who's just had a kid with his new wife, and a never-ending slew of relatives who want to know what's new in her life and just want "to help her out"? So much to unpack here, yet done so beautifully over the course of this movie, shot almost entirely in the house where the function is taking place. And to think this was the director's debut is just a cherry on the cake!

Another movie which, like Shiva Baby, centered around a single location was Malcolm and Marie, which focuses on a couple in a house over one night (who said you can't make movies in a pandemic?), and stars the incredible John David Washington and Zendaya going through waves of equally intense love and hate.

8. Lapsis (trailer) 

Lapsis was a movie I went into without knowing what to expect at all. But it's stunning how Noah Hutton takes elements that we are familiar with, such as the gig economy, robotics, and high speed internet, and pushes it in quirky directions. In an age where Sci-fi is more and more about movies made on a grand scale, movies like Lapsis (and Cargo and Android Kunjappan from last year) truly show that storytelling can shine brightly in a landscape filled with expensive CGI.

Other Sci-fi movies I enjoyed this year include Dune (though tbh I thought it was quite overrated... or maybe it was just the lack of a theater experience), Churuli (whose ending I'm still trying to wrap my head around), and  I’m Your Man (which was another relatively small budget German movie, which was quite reminiscent of the 2013 film, Her).

7. The Novice (trailer) 


The Novice is a movie about a freshman who joins her university rowing team. But more than that, it is a movie about what happens when you try to make "excellence" part of your identity, especially in a world where that word means something different to everyone. It's about the sacrifices made to be the best, and the absolute lows felt when your best is still not enough. It's about the process of trial by fire, anguish, self-flaggellation, and near-insanity. If you resonate with movies like Whiplash and The Social Network, you'd like this movie as well. 

Two other movies from a similarly focus on people blurring the line between focus and insanity are The Disciple, which is probably my second-favorite Chaitanya Tamhane movie after Court, and The Alpinist, which is a Free-Solo like documentary about Marc-André Leclerc.

6. Nine Days (trailer)

Some movies make you laugh, some movies make you cry. But some movies just make you sit back and think. About love. About life. About what it means be alive. Nine Days is one of these movies. Set in a fantasy land where souls are "interviewed" before being selected to be sent to earth to live is such a surreal concept in itself (though quite parallel to Pixar's Soul), but what makes this movie click is completely down to Winston Duke's incredible performance as the arbitrator. This movie captures the essence of life, with all of its complexities oh so poignantly.

5. Tick, Tick... Boom! (trailer) 


I'll be the first person to admit that I had no clue who Jonathan Larson was. Heck, my knowledge of Broadway itself is pretty much limited to a handful of names crumpled somewhere at the back of my mind. So I went into Tick, Tick... Boom! expecting it to be a nice, light musical but boy was I wrong. Massive credit to both Lin-Manuel Miranda for directing this and Andrew Garfield for his portrayal of Larson, and the trials and tribulations he goes through while trying to get the eponymous play onto Broadway for a decade, while life seems to move on from him. 

The multi-talented Garfield (Holland can dance, Garfield can sing, the ball is in Tobey's court now) is incredible as Larson, and manages to capture so much of the constant struggle Larson went through, and the single-mindedness with which he approached things. One of the funniest scenes in the movie is when Larson is arguing with his girlfriend while simultaneously thinking if he could write a musical number about the fight. This movie sent me down a multi-week rabbithole of reading all I could about Larson and his work, as any good biographical movie should!

Two other biographies that came out this year that I thought were incredible were King Richard, which is about Richard Williams, and his "plan" to make his daughters the world's best tennis players, and Spencer which follows Princess Diana over Christmas with the Royal Family. Will Smith and Kristen Stewart, respectively, deserve massive praise for their roles in these movies.

4. The Father (trailer) 


Dementia is such a saddening condition, and unfortunately, way too many of us end up encountering people who suffer from it, in some form or the other, during our lifetimes. The worst part about the disability is that you are constantly second-guessing yourself, never quite certain if your brain is playing tricks with you or not. And like so many other diseases, the condition is hard on both the victim as well as the family. The Father is a movie that focuses on this condition, and Sir Anthony Hopkins plays the titular father in the movie. 

The director chooses to tell the story from the titular character's frame of reference, so you are constantly disoriented by the dementia he faces and the effects it has on him. It's a movie that'll break you (especially that final scene), and leave you shattered when the credits roll. Don't watch this if you are already feeling low, because this movie will ruin your day.

Along the similar lines of memory lapse is the Greek film, Apples, which takes place in world where a world-wide pandemic causes people to have sudden amnesia. Another great story-led film, that deals with memories, and how they impact the people that carry them.

3. Minari (trailer) 

Stories about immigrant families have become a bit of a trope at this point, but every now and then, a movie like Minari comes along, and reminds you why the trope exists in the first place. Minari is about a Korean immigrant family in Rural USA, trying to build a life, and live the so-called American Dream

I think the reason Minari really works is because there is so much of the director's own lived childhood experiences that come through in this movie, so the movie never really has to make massive moments, but clicks throughout simply showing the work that goes into assimilating into a foreign land without losing one's own identity. 

The Justice of Bunny King and Eeb Aalley Ooo are two other movies from this year that tackled similar topics, about how we treat those who are less fortunate than the average joe, and how societies treat those different to the status quo.

2. Bo Burnham: Inside (trailer)


Remember those two years when you were locked in at home, constantly on edge, unsure of what the future held, and whether "normalcy" itself was a concept that we would have to redefine? How did you spend your pandemic years? Well, Bo Burnham sure as hell found a way to create art in the middle of the pandemic. And not just any art, the dude managed to sit alone in a room and pretty much capture the entire essence of what the pandemic felt like to most of us, in all of it's whimsy, depression, excitement, rage, and agony.

Bo is one of those artists I have so much respect for, because whenever I feel like I've achieved something in life, I find myself going back to see what Bo is up to, and constantly being in awe of the stuff that he's putting out, and I feel like he's one of the few master artists that have managed to capture the voice of my generation so well, imbibed of course with his own whimsical style. Special shout-out for the scene where he celebrates his 30th birthday during the pandemic (hard relate there), and for giving us the song that automatically plays in my head everytime Bezos shows up somewhere.

As an aside, another movie that again made fine use of pandemic-induced filming restrictions like Inside and Malcolm and Marie was Language Lessons. The movie is basically just conversations between two people learning Spanish on Zoom, but is a very sweet movie.

1. The Great Indian Kitchen (trailer) 

If there's one movie that truly, truly needs to be watched by every single man in India, it's The Great Indian Kitchen. As someone living in a country where the patriarchy rears it's head ever so often, it's quite easy to forget how a lot of privileges I enjoy are only thanks to, in large part, my gender. And post-marriage, it's also been quite surprising to have even so-called educated folks (including, amazingly, a lot of women) say silly, openly misogynistic things, quite matter-of-factly to me and (more often) my wife.

The Great Indian Kitchen makes incredible use of repetition, and slow shots to drive home the point of how life differs for men and women, how societal expectations shape lived experiences, and how monotony, routine, and sacrifice is just another expectation from a woman after marriage. I was constantly squirming in my seat through this movie, since I could point out countless similar incidents in my own extended families where these expectations hold even today. So while it was a fictional movie, it hit a bit too close for comfort. Feminism, as a concept itself, has so many definitions, but movies like this show us that while a certain segment of folks may feel more empowered today, we have a long way to go in the journey to equality.

Two other movies that deal with similar stories are Biriyaani, which talks about the life of an married muslim woman in Kerala, and Sabaya, which is a chilling documentary about Yazidi women kidnapped by ISIS to be used as slaves.

Honorable Mentions:

I Care a Lot (Rosamund Pike + Peter Dinklage. What's not to like?), Cinema Bandi (A heartwarming movie about movie making), Kala (For the excellent fight sequences), The Suicide Squad (For the fresh breath of air from DC after all the dark, brooding movies), Coda (A movie about a deaf family and a daughter that love singing), Dead Pigs (A Jia Zhangke-esq movie about rural and modern China colliding), Luca (Just Pixar doing Pixar things), This is the Year (For a feel-good YA rom-com), Love Hard (For a feel-good adult rom-com), French Dispatch (Because it's Wes Anderson... duh!)

On the whole, 2021 was a fine year at the movies, and I'm glad that the world seems to be finding it's footing again while that microscopic maniac mutates along. Of course there'll be missteps along the way, and I'm sure that 2022 will have just as much, if not more, in store for all of us. But as the saying goes, here's hoping that everyone expects the best, prepares for the worst, and cherishes every moment in the year ahead. Happy New Year!


Footnote: Never realised that these random yearly movie reccos are something that some folks actually look forward to. So a tip of the hat to the folks who pinged me over last few days asking where this year's reccos are 🤠


Finally after all these years, here's to the beginning of what was there, what is there and hopefully what will remain!! So here are my thoughts & words -Online!!

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