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.

X : Past Is Present movie review
Fri, Nov 20, 2015

X : Past Is Present movie review: Except for one segment, right at the end, which has Swara Bhaskar and the young Jha, and a sense of time and place, the rest have practically no weight, nor heft.

From playing Nawab to a paanwala: Saeed Jaffrey straddled roles onscreen with ease
Tue, Nov 17, 2015

Saeed Jaffrey’s passing is yet another stalwart gone, a multi-faceted performer who straddled eras, the stage, cinema and television, who made a home in the West and, so to speak, the East.

Gone With the Wind
Sun, Nov 15, 2015

In Galibeeja (Wind Seed), artist Babu Eshwar Prasad holds out his captivating take on the landscapes he has traversed, inviting us to journey along.

‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’ review: Salman Khan is still shining
Mon, Nov 16, 2015

Prem Ratan Dhan Payo review: This Salman Khan film draws heavily from Sooraj Barjatya’s previous work, with one glaring cosmetic difference : he sets it not in homes that people like you and me live in, or relate to, but in a grand palace.

Yaara Silly Silly movie review: The premise has promise, but nothing in the film delivers on it
Fri, Nov 06, 2015

A foul-mouthed whore and a gentle-voiced young fellow are thrown together for a night, and the time they spend together impacts both strongly: the premise has promise, but nothing in the film 'Yaara Silly Silly' delivers on it.

Charlie Ke Chakkar Mein movie review: ‘Kahaani Kya Hai?’
Fri, Nov 06, 2015

Drugs. Cops. Gangsters. Youngsters. Mix ‘em up, and you get ‘Charlie Ke Chakkar Mein’. Or at least that’s what the film sets out to do.

Shah Rukh Khan’s voice can carry and gain traction — if we let it
Fri, Nov 06, 2015

As we speak, Shah Rukh is being pilloried for speaking out on religious intolerance and how problematic that can be for creative people

Main Aur Charles movie review: Randeep Hooda needed a better film
Sat, Oct 31, 2015

Main Aur Charles movie review: The film should have been riveting. But it comes off as a slapdash, confused collage of scenes involving the famous jail break in which the real life Sobhraj broke free with several prisoners.

Titli review: It is harrowing but imperative viewing
Sat, Oct 31, 2015

Titli movie review: You end up feeling for Titli. You want him to break free, and fly away. He shines, and despite its darkness, so does the film.

Shaandaar review: Shahid Kapoor, Alia Bhatt starrer is a blinding mix of everything with nothing of its own to boast of
Sat, Oct 24, 2015

Shaandaar review: Costumery may work with other actors, but it's wrong for Alia Bhatt, while Shahid Kapoor suffers from a badly-written character.

Mark My Presence: Can Mumbai Film Festival hold its own?
Thu, Oct 29, 2015

All good film festivals have one thing in common — continuity. Can the Mumbai Film Festival get there and hold its own?

Wedding Pullav review: The film is more like an overcooked ‘khichdi’
Sat, Oct 17, 2015

Wedding Pullav movie review: Rishi Kapoor, who can be relied upon to save sinking ships, has not one ounce of spark or novelty. Everything is predictable in the movie.

Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2 review: The prequel had some punch, this part is flat and unfunny
Sat, Oct 17, 2015

Pyaar Ka Punchanama 2 review: In the sequel to Pyaar Ka Punchnama, all we get is more of the same, minus the freshness and the age-appropriate smart lines.

Jazbaa review: Aishwarya Rai Bachchan has over played in this convoluted, over-plotted crime-drama
Sat, Oct 10, 2015

Jazbaa review: It’s not as if Aishwarya Rai Bachchan gets Anuradha Verma, the anguished legal eagle who takes up cudgels for people whose guilt is beyond doubt, all wrong.

The Walk movie review: The film and Joesph Gordon-Levitt shine in the final act
Fri, Oct 09, 2015

The Walk review: The film, and Gordon-Levitt, shines in this final act, as we watch, with our hearts in our mouths breath suspended, waiting for him to come back safely to the other side.

Talvar movie review: The Irrfan-Konkona starrer make us question our precepts about crime and punishment
Mon, Oct 05, 2015

Talvar movie review: The film is as real as a constructed-for-the-camera document can be, with its portrayal of the professional rivalries between the investigating teams, and insatiable media persons.

Puli review: After the spectacular ‘Baahubali’, the Vijay starrer is a crashing bore
Mon, Oct 05, 2015

'Puli' review: After the spectacular ‘Baahubali’, we were all set for an encore with ‘Puli’, yet another period fantasy from the South. But this one is a crashing bore.

Singh Is Bliing movie review: Akshay Kumar starrer is a low rent comedy
Sat, Oct 03, 2015

Singh Is Bliing review: The only thing which saves it is that it wears its silliness proudly on its hero’s `pug’ ( turban), said hero smartly reworking his good-hearted simpleton who loves his mother and respects his father, and rescues his girl.

Kis Kisko Pyaar Karoon review: Managed to find some laughs in this Kapil Sharma film
Sat, Sep 26, 2015

Kis Kisko Pyaar Karoon review: The only reason not to run out of the theatre, screaming, is that Sharma displays a surprising flair for underplaying.

Timeout movie review
Fri, Sep 25, 2015

‘Timeout’ review: The movie raises a subject that is usually not tackled with any seriousness in our movies, places it at the heart of the story. For that alone it deserves props.

Calendar Girls review: Madhur Bhandarkar’s movie is an outdated lesson on morality
Sat, Sep 26, 2015

Calendar Girls review: An after-thought, which talks of how these girls are 'proud achievers’, comes in the end. The rest of the Madhur Bhandarkar's movie exploits young women being exploited.

A question one should never ask a film critic
Mon, Sep 21, 2015

The one question that always trips up the film critic is the one you shouldn’t ask.

Katti Batti review: Kangana Ranaut, Imran Khan’s movie wastes our time most comprehensively and completely
Sun, Sep 20, 2015

Katti Batti review: Few minutes into Kangana Ranaut, Imran Khan's movie, and the question would be, 'What IS this?'

Meeruthiya Gangsters review: It leaves you stranded, wondering just what is going on
Fri, Sep 18, 2015

Meeruthiya Gangsters review: The movie is so far from being the zippy crime caper it presumably set out to be that it leaves you stranded, wondering just what is going on.

Hero review: Sooraj Pancholi, Athiya Shetty’s film is a zero
Sun, Sep 13, 2015

Hero review: The end of Sooraj Pancholi, Athiya Shetty film brings relief, with Sallu Bhai working the end credits, exuding more star power in two minutes than we’ve seen in two hours. This 'Hero' is a zero.

Film certification: A, U, A/U and everything in between
Fri, Sep 11, 2015

The question of censorship vs certification, in a vibrant democracy, and in an age where everything is a download away, needs to be addressed with a great deal more thought than it has been till now.

Welcome Back review: In John Abraham, Shruti Haasan starrer we are looking for the laughs
Sat, Sep 05, 2015

Welcome Back movie review: With John Abraham and Shruti Haasan the movie clomps about, looking for the laughs. And failing, mostly, to find them.

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.