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.

Second Hand Husband review: Govinda’s daughter Tina Ahuja disappoints, yes there was another person in the theatre
Fri, Jul 03, 2015

Second Hand husband review: I was here to see if Govinda’s daughter, whose debut this is, had the same zany gene in her.

Guddu Rangeela review: While jauntiness is to the fore, the film is good fun
Fri, Jul 03, 2015

'Guddu Rangeela' review: Starring Arshad Warsi and Amit Sadh, the movie is fashioned as a jaunty ride through Jatland, a theme currently all the rage in Bollywood.

Forty years after the Emergency, filmmakers still lack the freedom to criticise the establishment
Sun, Jun 28, 2015

Forty years is a long time in the life of a nation. So much has changed radically. But what hasn’t changed is the lack of freedom filmmakers have to portray recent events and mention political personages

Miss Tanakpur Haazir Ho movie review: The promise of story is marred by execution
Sat, Jun 27, 2015

Miss Tanakpur movie review: This could have been a sharp black comedy with a strong sense of place.

Killa (Marathi) movie review
Sat, Jun 27, 2015

'Killa' is beautifully shot, the blues and greys of the monsoon drenching the screen, the high ocean waves dashing against the walls of the old fort (‘killa’) Chinmay and his friends spend so much time at.

Inside Out review: The film is aimed at children and adults both
Sat, Jun 27, 2015

Inside Out review: You want to be happy? You have to learn how to be sad, experience it, and work through it. It is a life lesson, for eleven year-olds-going –on-twelve. And for the rest of us, at whatever age we may be at.

Belaseshe movie review
Fri, Jun 26, 2015

'Belaseshe' is about a man who decides he wants a divorce from his wife in the autumn of his life. Their life.

ABCD 2 review: The beginning is the end for Varun Dhawan, Shraddha Kapoor’s film
Sat, Jun 20, 2015

ABCD 2 review: A dance movie needs to electrify. That’s missing in this Shraddha Kapoor, Varun Dhawan starrer.

Hamari Adhuri Kahani review: Not only is the Emraan Hashmi, Vidya Balan film half done, it’s also not well begun
Sun, Jun 14, 2015

Hamari Adhuri Kahani review: This is a shockingly empty film, with the entire cast desperately 'acting away', and not one sentiment that feels real.

Bollywood discovers its ‘Few Good Men’, who are not ‘heroes’ in conventional sense
Sun, Jun 07, 2015

Bollywood is slowly discovering heroes who are not manly in the conventional sense of the term.

Kaakkaa Muttai (Tamil) movie review
Fri, Jun 05, 2015

‘Kaakkaa muttai’ is a crow’s egg, and it is a favourite stolen-from-the-nest dietary add-on for the two little boys who are left to their devices when the mother is off working, making measly sums to keep the family going.

Dil Dhadakne Do movie review: Heart develops a big beat for Mr and Mrs Mehra
Sun, Jun 07, 2015

Dil Dhadakne Do movie review: Anil and Shefali bring a real sting to their interactions. Both Priyanka Chopra and Anushka Sharma are better than the parts written for them.

Ishqedarriyaan movie review: Mahaakshay returns in a badly-written romance
Fri, May 29, 2015

Ishqedarriyaan review: Mahakshay returns in a badly-written romance, which makes you wonder why anyone would want to repeat the same mistakes.

Welcome 2 Karachi review: Arshad Warsi, Jackky Bhagnani’s film is decidedly low-brow, low-rent, and refuses to take itself seriously
Sat, May 30, 2015

Welcome 2 Karachi review: Arshad Warsi and Jaccky Bhagnani movie manages to end on a hilarious note, sending us out laughing. For a comedy, that’s a win.

With ‘Tanu Weds Manu Returns’, Bollywood learns to live in small towns
Wed, May 27, 2015

Bollywood is learning to live in small-town India, not just visiting for local colour.

Same Old Story: When a great actor turns into a set of predictable mannerisms
Sun, May 24, 2015

What happens when an actor plays a character like a set of tics? You get just that, a set of tics.

Tanu Weds Manu Returns review: Buy a ticket for Kangana Ranaut
Sun, May 24, 2015

Tanu Weds Manu Returns movie review: Kangana Ranaut plays it beautifully, mixing up the familiar with the new.

‘Bombay Velvet’ review: Ranbir, Anushka shine only occasionally
Sat, May 16, 2015

Bombay Velvet review: Ranbir Kapoor looks perfect for his Cagney-esque part, Anushka Sharma shines only occasionally.

Sunny Leone turns 34: Are we ready to accept a former porn star as Bollywood’s leading lady?
Wed, May 13, 2015

Can Sunny Leone become an A-list Bollywood leading lady Or will she be forever consigned to show-skin?

When the Mountains Call: In a homestead near Manali, the Himalayas are a blazing presence
Sun, May 10, 2015

The Himalayas are revealed in all their glory every morning, and the edge of the precipice leads down to the mighty Beas.

Salman Khan: The One And Only Bhaijaan
Tue, May 12, 2015

Does being a star allow you to buy into your own myth?

Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Irrfan Khan’s ‘Piku’ review: has delightful laugh-out-loud moments
Mon, May 11, 2015

'Piku' movie review: Big B, Deepika and Irrfan's movie sparks in moments. But the rest of it stays only mildly amusing.

‘Gabbar is Back’ review: Akshay Kumar does everything he has done before
Sun, May 03, 2015

‘Gabbar Is Back’ review: Akshay Kumar starrer shows up severe limitations all around, of the juiced-out South -'masala'-genre.

Movie review: ‘Kaagaz Ke Fools’ – Story is cut-rate, acting and sets shabby
Fri, Apr 24, 2015

You keep wanting 'Kaagaz Ke Fools' to ‘ho ja shuru’, but it doesn’t have the feet for it.

Movie review: ‘Jai Ho Democracy’ – The movie drowns in obviousness
Fri, Apr 24, 2015

'Jai Ho Democracy' criminally wastes an array of good actors: Kapoor, Puri, Hussain, Biswas, Bashir raise their decibel with zero impact.

‘Mr X’ review: Emraan Hashmi starrer turns out to be a disaster
Sat, Apr 18, 2015

A valiant officer who is part of an anti-terrorist squad transforms from a flesh-and-blood human to the mysterious Mr X.

‘Margarita With A Straw’ review: Kalki Koechlin pulls it off, and makes us believe in her Laila
Sat, Apr 18, 2015

Laila is not a 'bechari'-- that poor thing : she acknowledges her difficulties but doesn't let them overwhelm her.

Court movie review: It is a searing, unmissable film​, the best you will see this year
Fri, Apr 17, 2015

'Court' is a searing, unmissable film​, and is one of the best you will see this year​ . If you feel any other way, well, go ahead, sue me.

‘Ek Paheli Leela’ review: All the movie wants to do is exploit Sunny Leone
Sat, Apr 11, 2015

Ek Paheli Leela review - Why pretend towards a plot, when all this film wants to do is to exploit its leading lady?

Dharam Sankat Mein review
Fri, Apr 10, 2015

Dharam Sankat Mein review: It's much too long, saying the same thing over and over again.

Thank Your Stars
Sun, Apr 05, 2015

Do the messages that actors communicate through ads and campaigns get drowned by their popularity?

Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! movie review
Mon, Apr 06, 2015

Detective Byomkesh Bakshy's biggest weakness is its leading man: Sushant Singh Rajput.

Movie review: ‘Barkhaa’ – Mothballed plot and an even more mothballed treatment
Fri, Mar 27, 2015

Maybe the intention of 'Barkhaa' was to tell us that ladies who dance for a living also have the right to respectability but a mothballed plot and an even more mothballed treatment isn’t the way forward.

Lights! Camera! Bakwaas! – A film critic’s guide to enjoy the so-bad-it’s- good movies
Sun, Mar 22, 2015

A film critic’s guide to enjoy and survive the so-bad-it’s- good movies.

‘Hunterrr’ movie review: The film is about a guy who can’t keep it in his pants
Mon, Mar 23, 2015

‘Hunterr’ could have been a genuinely ‘adult’ comedy of manners, but it stays right where it begins, the phrase ‘coming-of-age’ functioning more as eliciting an embarrassed titter than reaching the goal-post.

In Their Shoes Review: Can’t Hang Those Boots
Fri, Mar 13, 2015

Atul Sabharwal diversifies his portfolio with an informative documentary on the shoe-making tradition of Agra, with ‘In Their Shoes’.