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.

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 review: Sunny Deol is still a lethal weapon
Sat, Feb 06, 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.

Chalk N’ Duster review: Nothing rescues this Juhi Chawla, Shabana Azmi film
Fri, Jan 15, 2016

Chalk N’ Duster review: It is a subject that deserves a great deal of attention, but not in the way this Juhi Chawla, Shabana Azmi film does it.

Chauranga movie review: What’s missing in the film is a fluid narrative
Fri, Jan 08, 2016

The trouble with ‘Chauranga’, despite its crucial subject, is that treads familiar ground without taking the tale too far.

Year Of The Regional
Fri, Jan 01, 2016

Filmmakers are realising that language is not a limit.

Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Court, Dum Laga Ke Haisha: Indian Express’ Shubhra Gupta’s Top 12 films of 2015
Mon, Dec 28, 2015

Indian Express critic Shubra Gupta's top 12 movies of 2015 includes Qissa, Dum laga Ke Haisha, Piku, Bajrangi Bhaijaan and more.

Sadhana: The actor with the timeless elegance, the fringe and that outfit
Sat, Dec 26, 2015

Sadhana passed away this morning and with her has gone yet another leading lady who personified timeless elegance and grace.

‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ movie review – The Force is back with us
Sat, Dec 26, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens review: ‘The Force Awakens’ is a bona-fide film, referencing the original pop-culture behemoth, and renewing it, with some energy and vim.

Bombay Velvet was like a child you wanted, and it was stillborn: Anurag Kashyap
Mon, Dec 28, 2015

Anurag Kashyap on what the failure of Bombay Velvet has meant to him, the lessons he has learnt, and his next film with Nawazuddin Siddiqui.

Dilwale review: Shah Rukh Khan is the only thing worth watch watching, Kajol shines too
Mon, Dec 21, 2015

Dilwale review: In this rigmarole, Shah Rukh khan is the only thing worth watching when he switches on the wattage ( Kajol can shine, too, when she chooses to)

Bajirao Mastani review, one and half stars: Deepika Padukone movie ends up being a costume drama
Mon, Dec 21, 2015

Bajirao Mastani review: Deepika Padukone is lovely, and creates sizzle with Ranveer Singh, but hasn’t melded with the part. It is hard to imagine anyone else as Bajirao after Ranveer Singh finishes chewing up the part.

Hate Story 3 review: Zareen, Daisy, slithering lingerie… still more horror than erotica
Sun, Dec 06, 2015

Hate Story 3 review: There are bed bits with generous displays of slithering lingerie on chest-and-thigh, and surprisingly for a time when 'boldness' is being dealt with by archaic moral standards, lots of open mouth-and-tongue action.

Angry Indian Goddesses movie review: These are flesh-and-blood women, the film is delightful till they stay that way
Sat, Dec 05, 2015

Angry Indian Goddesses movie review: The women turn into the 'angry Indians' of the title, and the film plummets.

A Healthy Growth Rate
Sun, Nov 29, 2015

The NFDC’s Film Bazaar has emerged as the best platform for those involved in India’s independent film movement.

Tamasha review: Ranbir gets more space, Deepika is luminous
Mon, Nov 30, 2015

Tamasha review: Deepika Padukone is luminous, and she is much more sure-footed in her part. Even though Ranbir Kapoor gets more space, Tara is drawn with welcome depth.

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, Dec 04, 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
Fri, Dec 25, 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
Fri, Dec 25, 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.