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.

Sachin A Billion Dreams movie review: The fulsome tribute will force you to hold back those tears and go ‘Sachin, Sachin’
Sat, May 27, 2017

Sachin A Billion Dreams movie review: Sachin Tendulkar's biopic makes you smile and makes you teary too. But does it really tell you anything about the cricketing legend that you didn't already know?

Half Girlfriend movie review: We half liked Half Girlfriend
Fri, May 19, 2017

Half Girlfriend movie review: What exactly is Half Girlfriend? Arjun Kapoor's Bihari boy Madhav Jha and Shraddha Kapoor's Delhi girl Riya Somani are as clueless as us.

Hindi Medium movie review: Watch it for the glorious Irrfan Khan
Fri, May 19, 2017

Hindi Medium movie review: Irrfan Khan delivers a fine performance in this film which puts the difference between Bharat and India in sharp focus. Pakistani actor Saba Qamar gets some moments too.

Meri Pyaari Bindu movie review: Ayushmann Khurrana, Parineeti Chopra try but can’t make us feel
Fri, May 12, 2017

Meri Pyaari Bindu movie review: Parineeti Chopra's Bindu is bubbly and cute but stays on the surface. Ayushmann Khurrana's Abhi gets more to play with. But will their romance make us sing Abhi Na jao Chhod ke?

Sarkar 3 movie review: Despite Amitabh Bachchan trying his best, where’s the novelty?
Fri, May 12, 2017

Sarkar 3 movie review: The best thing you can say about Amitabh Bachchan and Ram Gopal Varma's Sarkar 3 is that it is not as ghastly as Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag.

Mantostaan movie review: A searing tale lost in translation
Fri, May 05, 2017

Mantostaan movie review: ‘Mantostaan’ is based on four Manto stories, and functions as a quartet, which cuts from one story to the other, the pace increasing as the film progresses.

A star, an actor
Fri, Apr 28, 2017

Vinod Khanna was an artist confident enough to play second fiddle.

Baahubali 2 movie review: Only if Kattappa had killed Baahubali earlier
Sat, Apr 29, 2017

Baahubali 2 movie review: Baahubali The Beginning was enormously enjoyable. Baahubali The Conclusion comes to life only in bits and pieces and the credit for it should goes to Prabhas.

Look Back in Wonder
Sat, Apr 22, 2017

The early days of Indian cinema come alive in this edited compilation of notes from legendary archivist PK Nair’s diaries

Noor movie review: Sonakshi Sinha, your journalist needs a fact check
Sun, Apr 23, 2017

Noor movie review: It isn’t really Sonakshi Sinha’s fault that Noor Roy Choudhary comes off as a complete klutz as a crusading journo. She is simply practising the movie’ s notion of journalism, which is as fuzzy and unrealistic.

Sonata movie review: Shabana Azmi can sing and it’s the only takeaway from Sonata
Sat, Apr 22, 2017

Sonata movie review: Despite strong women characters played by Shabana Azmi, Aparna Sen and Lillete Dubey, Sonata stays only on surface.

Maatr movie review: This Raveena Tandon film is jaw-droppingly horrifying
Sat, Apr 22, 2017

Maatr movie review: Crass, cringe-inducing and downright sordid, this Raveena Tandon rape-and-revenge thriller makes you ask just one question -- who writes this stuff?

Begum Jaan movie review: Vidya Balan tries to invest some feeling into her role which soon turns clichéd
Fri, Apr 14, 2017

Begum Jaan movie review: The climax is full of fire and faux brimstone and lots of speechifying, as the ladies of easy virtue become a gun-toting ‘fauj’.

Kaatru Veliyidai review: This Mani Ratnam film flunks the test
Sat, Apr 08, 2017

Kaatru Veliyidai review: The film loosely translates as ‘breezy expanse’, checks all the Mani Ratnam boxes we’ve loved and obsessed over, over the years.

National Film Awards 2017: Did Akshay Kumar deserve best actor award for Rustom? The jury is still out
Fri, Apr 07, 2017

The announcement of the 64th National Awards sparked a familiar reaction – griping from the losers, cheers from the winners and much outrage. What it requires is transparency

Mirza Juuliet movie review: This is not a film, it is a travesty
Fri, Apr 07, 2017

Mirza Juuliet movie review: This film comes stuffed with the most abominable clichés which are clearly aligned to the power structures in place.

Mukti Bhawan movie review: A film to live and die by
Fri, Apr 07, 2017

Mukti Bhawan movie review: Other than a few faultlines, this is a superb film that shows us how it is entirely possible to die, irradiated by life.

A Regal Way Of Seeing
Sat, Apr 01, 2017

Grand single-screen would beat tinny multiplex — if it was around to tell the tale

Poorna movie review: An inspirational, goosebump-inducing story
Thu, Mar 30, 2017

Poorna movie review: Fairytales do come true and the story of Poorna Malavath is the proof. Her biopic, directed by Rahul bose, does justice to the extraordinary story of a 13-year-old tribal girl climbing Mt Everest.

Naam Shabana movie review: Taapsee Pannu film turns out to be a predictable flick
Sat, Apr 01, 2017

Naam Shabana movie review: Except for a few stray sequences in which the limber Taapsee Pannu faces up to the bad guys, and the ones in which co-star Akshay Kumar moves in to demonstrate how the big boys do it, there is nothing either novel or interesting about the film.

Phillauri movie review: Anushka Sharma, Diljit Dosanjh film suffers from languid pace
Sat, Mar 25, 2017

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: Swara Bhaskar film is a full-bodied, crackling watch
Fri, Mar 24, 2017

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 struggles to keep it together, so does the film
Fri, Mar 17, 2017

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: How to pass time in this drag? Play spot-the-movie game
Fri, Mar 17, 2017

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: Rajkummar Rao film asks if you can starve to death in a Mumbai highrise?
Fri, Mar 17, 2017

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: Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan film is the perfect Holi watch
Tue, Mar 14, 2017

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 flexes muscle for India but is it worth a watch?
Fri, Mar 03, 2017

Commando 2 movie review: Vidyut Jammwal is back as the capable Commando Karan but does the movie justify his jaw-droppingly agile moves?

As long as we are able to tell our stories the way we see it, we should be all right: Viceroy’s House director Gurinder Chadha
Sun, Feb 26, 2017

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: Kangana Ranaut delivers a standout performance in this patchy film
Sat, Feb 25, 2017

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: Kangana Ranaut gets her moment but film’s a patchy effort
Fri, Feb 24, 2017

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: Intention does not make for a persuasive costume drama
Fri, Feb 17, 2017

Silence movie review: The good looking film ends up becoming a repetitive costume drama.

Hidden Figures movie review: An entertaining tale of race and gender while keeping its science in the forefront
Fri, Feb 17, 2017

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: The story and setting is so universal, it’ll break your heart
Fri, Feb 17, 2017

Moonlight movie review: A beautiful search towards finding sexual identity, love and hope.

What’s in a Name: Berlinale closes with Call Me By Your Name, an intense love story that rises above gender barriers
Fri, Feb 17, 2017

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?

Black and White: ‘I Am Not Your Negro’ revisits conversation on racism through tale of slavery in US
Thu, Feb 16, 2017

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.

Healing Touch
Wed, Feb 15, 2017

A new Finnish film juxtaposes the global refugee crisis with being a stranger in your own country