Shubhra Gupta

Shubhra Gupta is film critic and senior columnist with the Indian Express. She watches world cinema for delectation, Hollywood for fun, and Bollywood for work. She has a huge capacity to sit through terrible Bollywood movies, but no patience at all with bad Hollywood. And world cinema has to be really cutting edge to grab her attention, and keep it. When she began reviewing, over 20 years ago, people would commiserate and say, “oh, you poor thing, you have to watch Hindi cinema”. But soon, Bollywood became cool, cool, cool. So now she hears this more often “oh my god, you watch Bollyood films, can you introduce me to Shah Rukh Khan”? No, she can’t, sorry, though she can vouch for the fact that he is really sharp and good fun in conversation. But what she can do, and has done week after week, month after month, year after year, without a break, is to lead you into the magical world of movies, and share her experiences of watching all those hundreds of films over the years. In her reviews and columns, she lets you into what she likes, and doesn’t, and invites you to be bewitched. And to know how to choose between the good ones and the turkeys, and how you can take away something from even the really ghastly ones. Because life is a movie, isn’t it? Bahut picture baaki hain, mere dost.

Kabali movie review: This Rajinikanth starrer is a drag
Sun, Jul 24, 2016

Kabali movie review: This was the time when Rajinikanth should have reinvented himself for his directors have long stopped bothering about plot and characterisation. For when Rajinikant is on and at it, who cares?

Madaari movie review: Even Irrfan Khan can’t rescue this patchy film
Mon, Jul 25, 2016

Irrfan Khan is happy to be ‘ruled’ till one day when the rule of law is destroyed. He sees injustice and anarchy around him and decides to extract revenge.

Great Grand Masti movie review: This offensively unfunny, grating thing’s not a film
Sun, Jul 17, 2016

Great Grand Masti movie review: To spice up the by now wrung-out-to-dry formula of sex-starved husbands and stand-offish wives, Great Grand Masti script has added on a female ghost who died a virgin.

Sultan review: Salman Khan cracks and bleeds in his most real performance
Thu, Jul 21, 2016

Sultan review: With Sultan, Salman Khan has given his most human performance. He breaks free from the bondage of Bhai-giri and is ably supported by Anushka Sharma.

Fireflies in the Abyss movie review: A sombre look at the lives of Nepali miners struggling to get somewhere
Fri, Jul 01, 2016

Fireflies in the Abyss, out in a limited release this week, gives us a window into the people who spend their lives in darkness, to eke a living.

Shorgul movie review: A toothless, clichéd melodrama with bloody clashes
Fri, Jul 01, 2016

Shorgul review: Jimmy Shergill and Ashutosh Rana starrer is a kind of film that sadly requires political intervention for it to release.

Raman Raghav 2.0 movie review: With few mesmeric bits, Anurag Kashyap’s film is atmospheric yet hollow
Sat, Jun 25, 2016

Raman Raghav 2.0 movie review: There are some mesmeric bits in here, which belong to Siddiqui. But those are not enough. Without those crucial elements, the film is rendered atmospheric yet hollow, and we are turned into cringing voyeurs, into reluctant participants, without redemption.

High on reality
Wed, Jun 22, 2016

‘Udta Punjab’ in the theatres is a victory for those whose job it is to create, provoke

Finding Dory movie review: What happened to throwing your head back and laughing?
Fri, Jun 17, 2016

Finding Dory movie review: This one is touchy-feely-weepy, underlining the movie's big theme — home is where the heart is.

Dhanak movie review: Two winsome kids in ‘exotic Rajasthan’ make for a pleasant watch
Fri, Jun 17, 2016

Dhanak movie review: It’s hard not to be moved by the two kids — Krish Chhabria and Hetal Gadda — and their heart-warming story, directed by Nagesh Kukunoor.

Udta Punjab review: Shahid, Alia starrer has flaws, but makes a strong point
Sun, Jun 19, 2016

Udta Punjab movie review: This is the kind of film which has something to say, and it says it with both flair and conviction.

Do Lafzon Ki Kahani movie review: The plot of this Randeep Hooda, Kajal Aggarwal starrer is a string of drippy sequences
Sun, Jun 12, 2016

Do Lafzon Ki Kahani movie review: The only point of interest in this Randeep Hooda, Kajal Aggarwal starrer is that it is set in Kuala Lumpur, a city Bollywood doesn’t much get around to.

TE3N review: The plot of this Big B, Nawazuddin starrer has too much fuzz
Sun, Jun 12, 2016

TE3N movie review: Amitabh Bachchan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Vidya Balan starrer TE3N is a dark story with vicious undertones.

Udta Punjab row: Why ‘Censor Board’ must stick only to certification
Fri, Jun 10, 2016

It is time now to ask that question, and to keep asking it till some clarity emerges: Is there any need for censorship in an age when everything is available on the Internet?

Udta, baitha, what’s in a name?
Thu, Jun 09, 2016

The chief problem with the Central Board Of Film Certification (CBFC) is that it has never really embraced the change in its name, from `censorship’ to `certification’, with any seriousness.

Thithi movie review: Most of the cast is non-professional, and the plot originates from the soil
Sun, Jun 05, 2016

Thithi is set in Mandya, a village in Karnataka.

Housefull 3 movie review: Me to Brain, ‘leaving you behind for a bit, don’t mind’
Sun, Jun 05, 2016

Housefull 3 movie review: Jacqueline, Lisa and Nargis playing lassies in short skirts going by the name Ganga, Jamuna and Saraswati.

Phobia movie review: Radhika Apte doesn’t put a foot wrong
Sat, May 28, 2016

Phobia movie review: The Radhika Apte starrer is a genuine frightener, so far away from those unintentionally comic monstrosities Bollywood keeps slinging out that you feel like cheering.

Veerappan movie review: Based on Ram Gopal Varma’s own Kannada ‘Killing Veerappan’, never becomes that film
Sat, May 28, 2016

Veerappan movie review: The dizzying camera angles which have marred so many of RGV’s recent outings may have mercifully gone missing but the ear-shattering background music is right there.

Waiting movie review: Both Naseeruddin Shah and Kalki Koechlin are good fits for their parts
Sat, May 28, 2016

Waiting movie review: Both Naseeruddin and Kalki Koechlin are good fits for their parts in a film which segues easily between English, Hindi and a smattering of Malayalam.

Sarbjit movie review: Randeep Hooda is the only thing worth watching in this Aishwarya Rai Bachchan starrer
Mon, May 23, 2016

Sarbjit movie review: Randeep Hooda nails the look and the accent, letting neither overpower him, and is the only reason to sit through this sagging saga.

Dear Dad movie review: It’s good to see Arvind Swamy back again
Fri, May 13, 2016

Dear Dad movie review: There are a few moments between father and son which feel as if something real is going on in this Arvind Swamy film.

Azhar movie review: Emraan Hashmi, usually so watchable, is buried under the inept script
Sun, May 15, 2016

Emraan Hashmi is earnest, and the only saving grace here. Prachi Desai is rouged and demure and distressed.

Through a different lens
Thu, May 12, 2016

In its second coming, socially-conscious cinema is demanding mainstream privileges.

Traffic movie review: Crispness and the sense of urgency is missing in this Manoj Bajpayee starrer
Sat, May 07, 2016

Traffic movie review: This enterprise, bloated by needless saccharine and background music, has its moments but stays, overall, strictly serviceable.

One Night Stand movie review: The only person with any acting cred is Ninad Kamat in this Sunny Leone starrer
Sat, May 07, 2016

One Night Stand movie review: Right now, Sunny Leone is gorgeous to look at, but we know that already, and struggling to emote, which has been her bugbear in her last few outings as well.

Mothers’ Day movie review
Fri, Apr 29, 2016

That great American tradition of a Mother’s Day is around the corner and it gives a bunch of celebrated Hollywood names an excuse to get all weepy and sentimental.

Baaghi movie review: First half of Tiger, Shraddha film is enjoyable
Sat, Apr 30, 2016

Baaghi movie review: Why does a film with a new hero, who can reveal a beautifully muscled chest, and do such jaw-dropping stunts, not go for broke and create freshness all around?

Laal Rang movie review: Randeep Hooda is a true-blue Jat and can and does sound authentic
Fri, Apr 22, 2016

Laal Rang movie review: Randeep Hooda starrer is meant to be based on two `real life’ incidents, but it doesn’t tell us which.

Nil Battey Sannata movie review: The performances of this Swara Bhaskar starrer film are life-like
Sat, Apr 23, 2016

Nil Battey Sannata movie review: The film starring Swara Bhaskar has a strong message about how education can change your life.

Bollywood moms are finally getting real: Swaroop Sampat and Ratna Pathak Shah redefine rules
Sun, May 08, 2016

Bollywood moms are finally getting real: This year, two mothers have re-written the rules of the game. There’s Sampat. And then there is a real triumph in Kapoor and Sons, played again by Ratna Pathak Shah.

Fan movie review: SRK is played to all his strengths in the film
Mon, Apr 18, 2016

Fan movie review: Fan is an out-and-out SRK show, in which the star proves again that he can greenlight roles completely out of his comfort zone, and deliver.

Love Games review: All sorts of things crop up in this Vikram Bhatt film
Fri, Apr 08, 2016

Love Games movie review: The Bhatts’ long-standing promise of giving us fully adult men and women bursting with carnal desires and twisted motives used to be backed by storylines. This one gives up quickly.

Ki and Ka movie review: Kareena’s character is spot on, Arjun is victim of confusion
Sat, Apr 02, 2016

Ki and Ka movie review: The film starring Kareena Kapoor and Arjun Kapoor is fun when it is setting up the roles. But the execution, as it goes along, gets rocky.

Rocky Handsome movie review: Why are we watching this John Abraham film?
Sun, Mar 27, 2016

Rocky Handsome movie review: John Abraham ​only​ appears bad, see, he’s actually a good guy with a terrible past. The rest of the space is filled with an eight-year-old who’s made to talk like she’s double that.

Kapoor and Sons movie review: Sidharth brings an attractive vulnerability, Fawad doesn’t lift off the screen
Sun, Mar 20, 2016

Kapoor and Sons review: Sidharth brings to the table a loose-limbed pleasing vulnerability which he reveals slowly. Fawad plays his straight, and he doesn’t lift off the screen. Rishi gets some laughs in.