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.

Kaun Kitne Paani Mein review: Saurabh Shukla is spot on, too bad the film is not
Fri, Aug 28, 2015

Kaun Kitne Paani Mein review: Good idea, faulty execution. Using water as a trade commodity is a powerful concept, especially given that there is so much drought and so little accessible clean drinking water in so many parts of India.

Phantom review: Kabir Khan’s thriller with Katrina Kaif, Saif Ali Khan has no crackle, only fizz
Sun, Aug 30, 2015

Phantom movie review: Kabir Khan's thriller, Phantom, starring Saif Ali Khan, Katrina Kaif is disappointing, there is no crackle, only fizz.

Acting Like A Boss: Tom Cruise continues to woo, stand and shoot
Sun, Aug 23, 2015

Amongst all the Hollywood heroes currently saving the world, one film at a time, Tom Cruise stands out. For having proudly embraced his 50-something status.

Book Review: Stephen King’s Finders Keepers
Sat, Aug 22, 2015

In his latest novel, Finders Keepers, Stephen King returns to one of his most compelling scenarios, one that he laid out for us in his much older Misery.

All Is Well review: Abhishek, Asin, Rishi Kapoor film is ‘terrible’
Tue, Aug 25, 2015

All is Well movie review: Whoever named this film must have a great sense of black humour, because the only thing ‘well’ about the film is its title.

‘Manjhi – The Mountain Man’ review: Any film helmed by Nawazuddin Siddiqui is worthy of being watched
Sun, Aug 23, 2015

Manjhi review: Nawazuddin Siddiqui strains every sinew, and remains consistently watchable despite the shifts in tone. But even he cannot make the film soar.

Gour Hari Dastaan review: The film is listless and lacks in drama
Fri, Aug 14, 2015

Gour Hari Dastaan review: Based on the quest of a real-life character, it has all the elements that could have made it all this and more, but it comes off flat and dull.

Brothers movie review: Akshay Kumar, Sidharth Malhotra’s film gets dragged down by its over-wrought mawkishness
Sun, Aug 16, 2015

Brothers review: Akshay Kumar, Sidharth Malhotra's film uses a form of kinetic martial arts to foreground its story of two warring siblings, but it stays, at heart, a Karan Johar film.

Sholay: The desi spaghetti western with a 40-year shelf life
Thu, Aug 13, 2015

Four decades on, Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra starrer ‘Sholay’ continues to entertain, making us laugh and cry and clap.

The Patels of Pali Hill
Sun, Aug 09, 2015

A new book traces the story of the people behind one of the earliest film journals in India

Jaanisaar movie review: Watch ‘Umrao Jaan’ or ‘Gaman’ instead, Muzaffar Ali’s timeless triumphs
Fri, Aug 07, 2015

Jaanisaar movie review: The only upside is the wonderful costumes.

Bangistan review: Riteish Deshmukh is a bit too grim, Pulkit Samrat a tad too chirpy
Sat, Aug 08, 2015

Bangistan movie review: The film finds its laughs in the odd moment, but comes off, over all, flat and tepid.

Drishyam review: This Ajay Devgn film could have been better if it had been tighter
Sat, Aug 01, 2015

Drishyam review: Drishyam could have been better if it had been tighter. And if Ajay Devgn had someone other than Shriya Saran.

Salman Khan’s ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ reaffirms that real hero of the movie is ‘Story’
Sun, Jul 26, 2015

Salman Khan’s latest film is an affirmation that a good plot can do wonders.

Aisa Yeh Jahan movie review
Fri, Jul 24, 2015

Aisa Yeh Jahan movie review: It has a nice premise. But its execution is amateurish.

Masaan review: There is a tussle between what has always been, and what can be
Sat, Jul 25, 2015

Masaan review: It announces the arrival of new talents in its writer and director: Grover’s story is eminently worth telling, and Ghaywan tells it beautifully.

Has the definition of friendship changed thanks to Facebook?
Sun, Jul 19, 2015

Has the definition of friendship changed in the Age Of Facebook? And has it changed the way we communicate and, even more crucially, feel?

Salman Khan’s ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ review: The real film only starts post-interval
Sun, Jul 19, 2015

Salman Khan's 'Bajrangi Bhaijaan' presses many red-hot buttons, even if the treatment is strictly in-the-clouds 'filmi'.

Why one should refuse to give in to PR machinery and watch movie trailers
Sun, Jul 12, 2015

The desperation to get the film noticed is clear in the way the airwaves are carpet-bagged. How else does one break through the clutter?

Baahubali review: S S Rajamouli’s film holds out many promises
Sun, Jul 12, 2015

'Baahubali’ review: SS Rajamouli's film holds out many promises: of adventure and romance, love and betrayal, valour and weakness. And delivers magnificently on each of them.

Second Hand Husband review: Govinda’s daughter Tina Ahuja disappoints
Sat, Jul 04, 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 Arshad Warsi film is good fun
Sat, Jul 04, 2015

'Guddu Rangeela' review: Arshad Warsi and Amit Sadh 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.