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.

Phillauri movie review: Anushka Sharma, Diljit Dosanjh film suffers from languid pace
Sat, Mar 25, 2017

Phillauri movie review: Shashi (Anushka Sharma) is an obedient younger sister of a man who is a martinet. He keeps her under strict watch, unaware that she writes poetry, and is slowly being charmed by a local ‘gawaiyaa’ (Diljit Dosanjh).

Anaarkali of Aarah movie review: Swara Bhaskar film is a full-bodied, crackling watch
Fri, Mar 24, 2017

Anaarkali of Aarah movie review: With Anar, Swara Bhaskar gets a role worthy of her. The film uses lines and situations involving crudity but never turns vulgar. Nowhere does Anaarkali of Aarah makes you cringe, and that’s a real achievement.

Mantra movie review: Rajat Kapoor struggles to keep it together, so does the film
Fri, Mar 17, 2017

Mantra movie review: Rajat Kapoor delivers a stand-out performance as a man struggling in the changing economic scenario but is failed by the uneven film.

Machine movie review: How to pass time in this drag? Play spot-the-movie game
Fri, Mar 17, 2017

Machine movie review: Abbas-Mustan cherrypick from their hits Soldier, Baazigar and Race to launch Mustafa Burmawala, son of Abbas. But this squelchy plot needed acting chops and charisma which the film's leads lack.

Trapped movie review: Rajkummar Rao film asks if you can starve to death in a Mumbai highrise?
Fri, Mar 17, 2017

Trapped movie review: Despite some heart-in-the-mouth moments, Rajkummar Rao's Trapped stays uneven as his despair stays on the surface when we want to see the soul.

Badrinath ki Dulhania movie review: Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan film is the perfect Holi watch
Tue, Mar 14, 2017

Badrinath Ki Dulhania movie review: This Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan-starrer is the kind of mainstream film which shifts how ‘heroes’ and heroines’ are constructed and presented, without being too radical. Given that it is a festive release and produced by Dharma, does so while being extremely entertaining.

Commando 2 movie review: Vidyut Jammwal flexes muscle for India but is it worth a watch?
Fri, Mar 03, 2017

Commando 2 movie review: Vidyut Jammwal is back as the capable Commando Karan but does the movie justify his jaw-droppingly agile moves?

As long as we are able to tell our stories the way we see it, we should be all right: Viceroy’s House director Gurinder Chadha
Sun, Feb 26, 2017

Filmmaker Gurinder Chadha on her upcoming film on Partition, the perks and perils of being part of a diaspora and why she would love to make a film set in India.

Rangoon movie review: Kangana Ranaut delivers a standout performance in this patchy film
Sat, Feb 25, 2017

Rangoon movie review: The Kangana Ranaut, Shahid Kapoor film gets tangled in superimposing a love triangle on the time and place. While the second half improves the pace, it is a disappointingly patchy and disjointed effort.

Rangoon movie review: Kangana Ranaut gets her moment but film’s a patchy effort
Fri, Feb 24, 2017

Rangoon movie review: Vishal Bharadwaj ambitiously mounts Rangoon but the execution of this Kangana Ranaut, Saif Ali Khan and Shahid Kapoor film never manages to match its intentions.

Silence movie review: Intention does not make for a persuasive costume drama
Fri, Feb 17, 2017

Silence movie review: The good looking film ends up becoming a repetitive costume drama.

Hidden Figures movie review: An entertaining tale of race and gender while keeping its science in the forefront
Fri, Feb 17, 2017

Hidden Figures movie review: Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughan are as geeky and nerdy as the men, but they are treated as the ones who will clear the trash and offer clerical services, when asked.

Moonlight movie review: The story and setting is so universal, it’ll break your heart
Fri, Feb 17, 2017

Moonlight movie review: A beautiful search towards finding sexual identity, love and hope.

What’s in a Name: Berlinale closes with Call Me By Your Name, an intense love story that rises above gender barriers
Fri, Feb 17, 2017

Based on a book by the same name, the film comes riding on raves from Sundance, and has been acquired by Sony Pictures Classics for worldwide distribution: will India be on the slate?

Black and White: ‘I Am Not Your Negro’ revisits conversation on racism through tale of slavery in US
Thu, Feb 16, 2017

I Am Not Your Negro, nominated for a Best Documentary at the Academy Awards, is a terrific collage of archival material and a voice-over based on Baldwin’s words.

Healing Touch
Wed, Feb 15, 2017

A new Finnish film juxtaposes the global refugee crisis with being a stranger in your own country

It’s Spring for India’s Indies
Tue, Feb 14, 2017

Smaller, edgier films from India are in the limelight at global film festivals like the Berlinale

Viceroy’s House Premiere: Gurinder Chadha film trains lens on ‘shadow of partition’
Mon, Feb 13, 2017

The film is being released in the time of Donald Trump, of rising factionalism and of the rampant right around the world.

Newton World Premiere: At Berlin fest, Indian satire on Naxals opens to cheers
Sun, Feb 12, 2017

After the screening of Newton, director Amit Masurkar and actors Rajkummar Rao, were surrounded by viewers who’ve probably never heard of the “Naxal problem” in their lives.

Jolly LLB 2 movie review : Akshay Kumar, Saurabh Shukla make this an unalloyed delight
Wed, Feb 15, 2017

Jolly LLB 2 movie review: Akshay Kumar film is such a cracking watch because it goes bravely where few films go these days: send across a message which doesn't feel forced about gender equality, religious amity and probity in legal profession.

Not Much of a Fight
Sat, Feb 04, 2017

A bit of the film is set in Dubai only to give us a car chase which features an unexpected back seat guest for Chan. Roars and crashes ensue, but it’s all a big yawn.

Kung Fu Yoga movie review: Jackie Chan, Sonu Sood film is a big yawn
Sat, Feb 04, 2017

Kung Fu Yoga movie review: Jackie Chan and Sonu Sood's promotions of this film was way better than anything that the movie has to offer.

Raees movie review: Shah Rukh Khan film is a mish-mash of things we’ve seen before
Thu, Jan 26, 2017

Raees movie review: Shah Rukh Khan breaks through in some moments but is stymied by florid, seen-too-many-times flourishes in Raees. It is Nawazuddin Siddiqui who really shines through.

Kaabil movie review: Hrithik Roshan’s film revives rape-and-revenge cliches
Fri, Feb 03, 2017

Kaabil movie review: Hrithik Roshan tries hard and offers us a great performance but the film plays strictly by numbers and you can see everything coming from a mile.

Coffee With D movie review: The film is beyond awful
Fri, Jan 20, 2017

Coffee With D movie review: When the film is about Don Dawood and an Arnab Goswami doppelganger, you expect jokes galore. What you get instead is this craving to run as far away from theatre as possible.

OK Jaanu movie review: Why do our young lovers sound so juvenile?
Tue, Jan 17, 2017

Ok Jaanu movie review: This Aditya Roy Kapur, Shraddha Kapoor film proves Bollywood needs to get more adept at depicting young love. Why do our lovers, so much quicker off the mark when it comes to locking lips, sound so juvenile?

Haraamkhor movie review: This Nawazuddin Siddiqui-starrer is a sordid tale told sensitively
Fri, Jan 13, 2017

Haraamkhor movie review: Shweta Tripathi and Nawazuddin Siddiqui front a film about a topic we barely acknowledge, forget showing it in our films. Director Shlok Sharma shows talent.

We will never hear Meryl Streep’s mantra at a Bollywood show
Tue, Jan 10, 2017

Bollywood award shows are geared towards a heavily-sponsored TV broadcast, a few weeks after the actual event, and a fickle TV audience with little patience.

Khan do — until when?
Mon, Jan 09, 2017

Aamir, Salman and Shah Rukh have powered Bollywood for two decades. But their popularity is now conditional

Om Puri passes away: His was a face made to put on other faces, become the story
Sat, Jan 07, 2017

But if you managed to hold Om Puri's gaze — amused, aware, warm — you would know instantly that this was a face made to put on other faces. And become the story.

Best of 2016: Shubhra Gupta lists the top 10 films of 2016
Sun, Dec 25, 2016

Indian Express film critic Shubhra Gupta compiles her list of Top 10 films of 2016 which impressed with their heft and performances.

Three films with which 90s Bollywood came of age
Sat, Dec 24, 2016

In the Nineties, Hindi cinema boarded a Eurail carriage and made itself over as Bollywood. Three films from that decade signpost a changing country and its new heroes.

Dangal movie review: Aamir Khan, his Phogat girls show how blood, sweat, tears make champions
Sat, Dec 24, 2016

Dangal movie review: If Aamir Khan hadn't green-lit it, Dangal would never have been made. Aamir imbues the film with a sincerity of purpose that makes it so much more than a starry vehicle.

Old World Charm
Sun, Dec 18, 2016

Succumbing to the warmth and rich tradition of Tehran and Yazd.

Movies in Macau
Sat, Dec 17, 2016

The casino capital’s first international film festival is a mixed bag

Shor Se Shuruaat movie review: Of sound and silence
Fri, Dec 16, 2016

Shor Se Shuruaat movie review: The thematic thread running through the films gives us a useful connector. And there’s a certain quality to the production in almost all the films.