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.

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.

Teraa Surroor review: This Himesh Reshammiya starrer is a mess
Sat, Mar 12, 2016

Teraa Surroor review: The focus stays firmly on Himesh Reshammiya, who remains blank-faced through it all, never cracking a single smile, not even when he is with his girl.

Zubaan movie review: Vicky Kaushal doesn’t come off as striking as he was in Masaan
Fri, Mar 04, 2016

Zubban movie review: The writing is patchy, with Kaushal not coming off as striking as he was in ‘Masaan’ : he’s good yes, he makes us watch, yes, but is already familiar.

Jai Gangaajal movie review: Priyanka Chopra’s too-sophisticated unmade-up-make-up is very distracting
Sun, Mar 06, 2016

Jai Gangaajal movie review: Priyanka Chopra’s too-sophisticated unmade-up-make-up is very distracting, even in her few convincing moments. And the film goes on for far too long, even when we know how all of it will end.

The Dream Of Diversity
Wed, Mar 02, 2016

All-White Hollywood to all-savarna Bollywood, the fight still needs to be fought.

Tere Bin Laden Dead Or Alive movie review: Problem of repetition persists in the sequel
Fri, Feb 26, 2016

Tere Bin Laden Dead or Alive review - There’s more packed into the script this time around, and a little more energy and pace. But the problem of repetition persists.

Aligarh review: It is a pleasure to see Manoj Bajpayee and Rajkummar Rao interact
Sat, Feb 27, 2016

Aligarh review: Manoj Bajpayee makes of Siras a man whose bewildered fragility is up for examination, and whose gentleness demands understanding and compassion.

Fire At Sea
Wed, Feb 24, 2016

How diversity and dissent played at the Berlin Film Festival.

Neerja movie review: Sonam Kapoor makes us believe she is, was, Neerja
Mon, Feb 22, 2016

Neerja review: The question was always going to be, can Sonam Kapoor, carry off that demanding role? Answer is yes.

Berlin, the perfect city for taking a ‘movie-spotting’ tour
Thu, Feb 18, 2016

We finish at the brightly coloured remnants of the Berlin Wall, right next to the underground station at Potsdamer Platz, preparatory to our “crossing over” into the Berlinale venues.

Berlinale Film Festival: Recounting the horrors and scars left by wars
Wed, Feb 17, 2016

In Germany, it is not just any war. It is the second world war. The Holocaust. And how the hubris of one man led to death and devastation on an unimaginable scale, and how the world changed.

Berlinale Film Festival: Migrant crisis, other real-life tragedies showcased
Mon, Feb 15, 2016

Rosi doesn’t underline anything. And that makes everything so much more harrowing: the men, women, and children in the boats, becalmed in the sea, being asked that dreaded question via loudhailers: how many in the boat?

Berlinale kicks off: Clooney, refugees take centrestage
Fri, Feb 12, 2016

Clooney has been fielding all kinds of questions — the admiring fan kinds where the questioner gushes before actually asking something, and the slightly spikier ones.

Sanam Teri Kasam review: Mawra Hocane shows us how effervescence can light up the screen
Sun, Feb 07, 2016

Sanam Teri Kasam review: Mawra Hocane rises above it all, and shows us how effervescence can light up the screen. Someone give her another movie, quick.

Ghayal Once Again movie review: Sunny Deol is still a lethal weapon
Sun, Feb 07, 2016

Ghayal Once Again review: Sunny Deol is still a lethal weapon and can blow his opponent all the way across the room. Sunny the director should just get out his way.

Saala Khadoos review: You can pretty much predict what’s going to happen next in Madhavan’s film
Sat, Jan 30, 2016

Saala Khadoos review: Madhavan is revved up much more than is needed. Ritika Singh is full tilt at all times, screwing up her face, her body, anger coursing through her veins.

Mastizaade review: There are barely two-and-a-half laughs in Sunny Leone’s film
Mon, Feb 01, 2016

Mastizaade review: Sunny Leone's comfort with her body beautiful is presumably the sole reason for this film to exist. She is gorgeous, this woman.

A Wishlist for 2016: Salman, SRK, Akshay freshness is the only way forward
Wed, Jan 27, 2016

Give us change, and we will happily give you money, and that precious commodity of all, our time.

Kya Kool Hain Hum 3 review: Or Kya Fool Hain Hum?
Mon, Jan 25, 2016

Kya Kool Hain Hum 3 review: All those limp jokes don’t add up to a comedy, either. False pretences. Can I please call it a falsie? I know, groan again. Given the previous two flicks, did we really think this would be a bag of laughs? More fool hain hum.

Airlift review: Akshay’s film is well executed and well-acted
Sat, Jan 23, 2016

Airlift movie review: Overall, Akshay Kumar's ‘Airlift’ is a good film, solidly plotted, well executed and well-acted. Just lose the songs, and the occasional underlined background music the next time, okay?

Jugni movie review, two and a half stars
Fri, Jan 22, 2016

Jugni movie review: Shefali Bhushan’s debut feature has a documentary feel to it, which is natural, given her experience with being a collator and collector of folk sounds around the country.