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.

Shashi Kapoor: Handsome star, modern lover, he sought to be different
Sun, Mar 18, 2018

On Shashi Kapoor's birth anniversary, let's take a look at the career of an actor who belonged to a gentler, kinder era. He wore his looks, and his understated acting ability lightly, sometimes so lightly that you often overlooked his skills.

Raid movie review: The Ajay Devgn and Saurabh Shukla starrer is overlong and tepid
Sat, Mar 17, 2018

Raid review: In all this to-ing and fro-ing, background music blaring to make up for the lack of real drama, even a terrific actor like Saurabh Shukla is left floundering.

Dil Juunglee movie review: The Taapsee Pannu and Saqib Saleem starrer is a slog
Sat, Mar 10, 2018

Dil Juunglee review: Taapsee Pannu, who could have saved this creaky thing, is buried under a bad hairdo in the first half. By the time she gets all chic, post interval, it’s much too late. For her, and the film.

Hate Story 4 movie review: Acting, what’s that?
Sat, Mar 10, 2018

Hate Story IV review: The plot of Urvashi Rautela, Karan Wahi, Vivan Bhatena and Ihana Dhillon starrer Hate Story 4 is a steady stream of hot bods. And acting, what’s that? The film has no ambitions that-a-way, so there.

3 Storeys movie review: Sharman Joshi and Renuka Shahane shine in uneven drama
Sat, Mar 10, 2018

3 Storeys review: Everyone plays it quite competently, despite the predictable beats. Nice to see Renuka Shahane, who aims for naturalness despite some stodginess in the way her part is written.

Pari movie review: The Anushka Sharma starrer fails to rise above its silliness
Sat, Mar 03, 2018

Pari review: Anushka Sharma plays Rukhsana with a great deal of bloody enthusiasm. You cannot accuse her of not trying hard, but the film is so poorly-written, and so scatter-brained that nothing can rescue it.

Sridevi: Unforgettable leading lady and Bollywood’s first female superstar
Wed, Feb 28, 2018

Sridevi typified that rare creature, the Bollywood actor who didn’t want to go slowly into the night, and was determined to do something about it.

What makes the Berlin International Film Festival tick year after year?
Sun, Feb 25, 2018

Berlin International Film Festival is not a grafted, hot-house delegates-only soiree; it is an organic part of Berlin’s cultural calendar, and it is proudly, flagrantly, refreshingly political.

Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety movie review: The Kartik Aaryan starrer provides some laughs
Sat, Feb 24, 2018

Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety movie review: Kartik Aaryan, Nushrat Bharucha and Sunny Singh starrer Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety is breezy enough, and provides some laughs, some of which escape involuntarily.

Raakshas movie review: The Sharad Kelkar starrer keeps you engaged
Sat, Feb 24, 2018

The melding of the myth and the real is not as effective, though, and the film becomes repetitive in places. But overall, ‘Raakshas’ holds, and is a welcome step in the direction of making non-Hindi contemporary, inventive cinema accessible to all.

Welcome To New York movie review: This Sonakshi Sinha starrer is a lame tribute to Bollywood
Sat, Feb 24, 2018

Welcome To New York movie review: You wish there was more savagery and skewering all round, but Welcome To New York, starring Diljit Dosanjh, Sonakshi Sinha, Karan Johar and Riteish Deshmukh, turns out to be a limp, lame tribute to Bollywood.

Fact of the Fiction
Tue, Feb 20, 2018

Two compelling docufeatures screened at the Berlinale urge you to ask some hard questions.

Express at Berlinale, Day 5: Utoya22.juli and 3 Tage in Quiberon stretch the definition of a documentary
Tue, Feb 20, 2018

What makes people to do the things they do? Underneath the skin and bones, who really, are we? Like all good films, 3 Days, a feature based on fact, compels you to ask the hard questions, and leads you to think.

Why Everything is Garbage
Tue, Feb 20, 2018

Q’s latest film Garbage received a warm reception at the Berlinale film festival.

Express at Berlinale, Day 4
Mon, Feb 19, 2018

Garbage, the only official Indian entry at the Berlin festival is sometimes too in your face in the way it takes two young women and a man, flings them into terrible situations, and observes them, pitilessly, trying to negotiate those tough tangles.

Express At Berlinale: ‘Eva’ has interesting first act, but is not terribly compelling
Mon, Feb 19, 2018

His 1945 ‘Eve’, all about a slimy handsome fellow working his way up the rungs in post-war Hollywood, turns up as the freshly minted Eva directed by Benoit Jacquot, in the Competition section.

Express at Berlinale, Day 3
Sun, Feb 18, 2018

James Hadley Chase's 1945 novel Eve turns up as the freshly minted Eva directed by Benoit Jacquot in the Competition section. Meanwhile, the Indian delegation, led by Karan Johar, has been busy talking up the Indian film industry in the European Film Market (EFM).

Express At Berlinale, Day 2
Sun, Feb 18, 2018

The Silent Revolution by Lars Kraume is set in the Berlin of 1956, when the cold war was setting in, and the division between those who thought that the West was evil decadence, and themselves, the champions of socialism, was cementing rapidly.

Express At Berlinale, Day One
Fri, Feb 16, 2018

Isle Of Dogs reunites Anderson with the stop-motion technology which he used so well in his previous top-notch animation Fantastic Mr Fox.

PadMan movie review: The Akshay Kumar and Sonam Kapoor starrer isn’t a particularly good film
Sat, Feb 10, 2018

PadMan movie review: PadMan isn’t a particularly good film. It has tonal problems, swinging between commonplace-ness and flat-out filmi-ness, because it is trying to appeal to many constituencies at the same time.