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.

Coffee With D movie review: The film is beyond awful
Fri, Jan 20, 2017

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: Why do our young lovers sound so juvenile?
Tue, Jan 17, 2017

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: This Nawazuddin Siddiqui-starrer is a sordid tale told sensitively
Fri, Jan 13, 2017

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.

We will never hear Meryl Streep’s mantra at a Bollywood show
Tue, Jan 10, 2017

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.

Khan do — until when?
Mon, Jan 09, 2017

Aamir, Salman and Shah Rukh have powered Bollywood for two decades. But their popularity is now conditional

Om Puri passes away: His was a face made to put on other faces, become the story
Sat, Jan 07, 2017

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.

Best of 2016: Shubhra Gupta lists the top 10 films of 2016
Sun, Dec 25, 2016

Indian Express film critic Shubhra Gupta compiles her list of Top 10 films of 2016 which impressed with their heft and performances.

Three films with which 90s Bollywood came of age
Sat, Dec 24, 2016

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: Aamir Khan, his Phogat girls show how blood, sweat, tears make champions
Sat, Dec 24, 2016

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.

Old World Charm
Sun, Dec 18, 2016

Succumbing to the warmth and rich tradition of Tehran and Yazd.

Movies in Macau
Sat, Dec 17, 2016

The casino capital’s first international film festival is a mixed bag

Shor Se Shuruaat movie review: Of sound and silence
Fri, Dec 16, 2016

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.

Rogue One A Star Wars Story movie review: The Force is back
Sat, Dec 17, 2016

Rogue One A Star Wars Story movie review: Yes, it’s grid is predictable: in its beginning is its end. But, and this is the strength of the film, it moves past a leaden start, revs it up, and becomes quite entertaining as it goes along.

Befikre movie review: Ranveer Singh, Vaani Kapoor film fails to rise above its shiny surface
Sat, Dec 10, 2016

Befikre movie review: Ranveer Singh is the life and soul of Befikre, Vaani Kapoor is spunky if stymied and yet this Aditya Chopra film lacks depth, feeling and a solid plot.

Last Tango in Paris: A rape by any name or for any reason, is still a rape
Mon, Dec 05, 2016

Last Tango in Paris: That graphic rape sequence in the Bernardo Bertolucci-directed multiple-award-winning film is horribly disturbing.

A Different Education
Sat, Dec 03, 2016

This modern day cowboy and me, we had a good thing going.

Open for Business
Sat, Dec 03, 2016

As NFDC’s Film Bazaar completes a decade, a look at the bustling platform that brings together passionate filmmakers and new, exciting cinematic voices.

Kahaani 2 movie review: Vidya Balan’s performance is the saving grace of this predictable thriller
Sat, Dec 03, 2016

Kahaani 2 movie review: Despite a taut first half and a well-rounded performance by Vidya Balan, the film fails the audience when it does away with subtlety and starts telegraphing its punches.

In a Rich Man’s World
Sun, Nov 27, 2016

Once upon a time in Bollywood, wealth was derided, until liberalisation embraced it. With demonetisation, what will be the latest cultural currency?

Moh Maya Money movie review: An apt film in these times of demonetisation
Fri, Nov 25, 2016

Moh Maya Money movie review: Munish Bhardwaj’s debut film nails a certain sector of the national capital with an unerring eye, and gives us two very Delhi creatures.

Dear Zindagi movie review: Alia Bhatt, Shah Rukh Khan film offers bumper-sticker self-help
Sat, Nov 26, 2016

Dear Zindagi movie review: Shah Rukh Khan and Alia Bhatt film could have been a solid drama with emotional heft but despite great performances by the two stars, the feature remains strictly boiler-plate.

Tum Bin 2 movie review: It’s an instant throwback to the first film with similar plot-lines
Sat, Nov 19, 2016

Tum Bin 2 movie review: Neha Sharma and Aditya Seal star in a love story which is an instant throwback to the first film. But unlike Tum Bin, it fails to mix the elements wisely despite delivering some well executed moments.

Force 2 movie review: John Abraham, Sonakshi Sinha film is overlong and overstretched
Sat, Nov 19, 2016

Force 2 movie review: Neither John Abraham's hot bod nor Tahir Raj Bhasin's interesting portrayal of the villain can force this film out of the 'obvious' territory. The long car chases will tire you out too.

This Star Should Abide
Sat, Nov 12, 2016

According to the grapevine, the film was made as a showcase for the leading lady; the hero was a struggler, and was meant to play second fiddle.

Mahayoddha Rama movie review: It is the same old story
Fri, Nov 04, 2016

Mahayoddha Rama movie review: If you are telling the story from Raavan's perspective, why would you call the film Mahayodha Rama?

Ae Dil Hai Mushkil movie review: Karan Johar needs to deliver a newer, sharper film
Sat, Oct 29, 2016

Ae Dil Hai Mushkil movie review: Anushka Sharma is familiar, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan catches the eye but it is Ranbir Kapoor who lifts the film. He is terrific as the fellow who crumbles, and cries and shoves his aching heart on his sleeve.

Oh, the Things You Can See
Fri, Oct 28, 2016

With back-to-back screenings at the Mumbai Film Festival, cinema itself emerged the winner

Shivaay movie review: Ajay Devgn is still in Singham mode
Sat, Oct 29, 2016

Shivaay movie review: Ajay Devgn does everything we have seen him do before in his south remakes. His Shivaay is grim and unsmiling, with no hint of the vulnerability or humour to give him depth.

Why MAMI? Because without cinema, you cannot see
Thu, Oct 27, 2016

I have returned from the latest edition of the Mumbai Film Festival all filmed out, but raring to get back again.

31st October movie review: It has nothing we didn’t know
Fri, Oct 21, 2016

31st October movie review: This Vir Das, Soha Ali Khan film has nothing – neither narrative nor engaging characters—on offer.

Beiimaan Love movie review: This Sunny Leone film is as C grade as it gets
Fri, Oct 14, 2016

Beiimaan Love movie review: With this cringe fest, wave bye bye to Sunny Leone. When a film sinks this low, it’s hard to climb back up again.

Tutak Tutak Tutiya movie review: There is no comedy here, only horror
Fri, Oct 07, 2016

Tutak Tutak Tutiya movie review: What happens when Prabhu Deva is not given enough dance numbers but is expected to act and Tamannah Bhatia is turned into a sari-clad frump? Horror!

Mirzya movie review: Harshavardhan Kapoor, Saiyami Kher come and go minus impact
Sun, Oct 09, 2016

Mirzya movie review: Harshvardhan Kapoor and Saiyami Kher's film brings together a highly talented team. The final result, however, is disappointing.

MS Dhoni The Untold Story movie review: Sushant Singh Rajput’s MSD is reduced to singing, romancing
Sat, Oct 01, 2016

MS Dhoni The Untold Story movie review: Despite Sushant Singh Rajput and rest of the cast's efforts, the film fails because it is not Mahendra Singh Dhoni's biography, it is his hagiography.

Parched movie review: A good end to a problematic journey
Fri, Sep 23, 2016

Parched movie review: Radhika Apte, Surveen Chawla and Tannishtha Chatterjee's film is failed by too much violence and unnecessary gloss. Some things are better left to the imagination.

Banjo review: Riteish Deshmukh, Nargis Fakhri film has no redeeming features
Fri, Sep 23, 2016

Banjo movie review: Riteish Deshmukh, Nargis Fakhri's film tries your patience and sanity. Full of shouty dialogues and expected situations, even most of the songs fail to live up to its theme.