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: 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: 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 delivers a stand-out performance as a man struggling in the changing economic scenario but is failed by the uneven film.
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: 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: 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 is back as the capable Commando Karan but does the movie justify his jaw-droppingly agile moves?
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: 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: 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: The good looking film ends up becoming a repetitive costume drama.
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: A beautiful search towards finding sexual identity, love and hope.
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?
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.
A new Finnish film juxtaposes the global refugee crisis with being a stranger in your own country
Smaller, edgier films from India are in the limelight at global film festivals like the Berlinale
The film is being released in the time of Donald Trump, of rising factionalism and of the rampant right around the world.
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 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.
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 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 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 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: 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: 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: 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.
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.
Aamir, Salman and Shah Rukh have powered Bollywood for two decades. But their popularity is now conditional
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.
Indian Express film critic Shubhra Gupta compiles her list of Top 10 films of 2016 which impressed with their heft and performances.
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: 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.
Succumbing to the warmth and rich tradition of Tehran and Yazd.
The casino capital’s first international film festival is a mixed bag
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.