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.

A Flying Jatt movie review: Tiger Shroff’s superhero needed a plot to fly all the way
Thu, Aug 25, 2016

A Flying Jatt movie review: Tiger Shroff plays the bumbling, fumbling superhero with panache. What could have been a rollicking film falls prey to too much song and dance.

UnIndian film review: This side, that side
Sat, Aug 20, 2016

Brett Lee, surprisingly, isn’t bad at all, and manages the emotional bits quite well, though he does flatten in bits.

Happy Bhag Jayegi movie review: A comedy that loses the plot
Sat, Aug 20, 2016

Happy Bhag Jayegi movie review: Diana Penty, Abhay Deol film begins well but soon the laughs are few and far between. A weak script fails this film and its cast.

Sakshi Malik bronze: Let’s dump ‘ma-behen-beti’ discourse and celebrate her feat for what it is
Thu, Aug 18, 2016

Sakshi Malik is a sportsperson first and foremost. Do you have any notion of what it takes to get where she has?

Mohenjo Daro movie review: Hrithik Roshan, Ashutosh Gowariker ditch old for seriously antique
Sat, Aug 13, 2016

Mohenjo Daro movie review: Hrithik Roshan and Ashutosh Gowariker excavate the past but can't dig up a proper comeback for both of them. Pooja Hegde sparkles but is failed by Mohenjo Daro.

Rustom movie review: Akshay Kumar tries hard but the film is a dreary piece of work
Sat, Aug 13, 2016

Rustom movie review: Akshay Kumar plays a betrayed husband in a film inspired by the Nanavati murder case. Spicy enough, right? Only Rustom attempts to spice it further, resulting in actually diluting the plot.

‘He may have been a bookseller, but what he spread more was knowledge’
Thu, Aug 11, 2016

A tribute to Anil Arora, owner of Bookworm, who passed away on Tuesday.

The Legend Of Michael Mishra review: What were they thinking?
Fri, Aug 05, 2016

The Legend Of Michael Mishra review: This comedy will make you cry for the wasted talent of Arshad Warsi, Boman Irani and Aditi Rao Hydari. And all the missing 'h' in the film.

Budhia Singh Born to Run review: Can the film pull the real Budhia Singh back on track?
Fri, Aug 05, 2016

Budhia Singh Born To Run review: Manoj Bajpayee plays coach Biranchi Das with just the right mixture of truculence and affection. Mayur Patole plays Budhia without an ounce of artifice in this zesty film.

Chauthi Koot movie review: You’ll watch this marvelous film with your heart in your mouth
Fri, Aug 05, 2016

Chauthi Koot movie review: The narrative of this Gurvinder Singh film unfolds unhurriedly and still you do not stir from your seats. You watch with a growing sense of dread, praying for safety of innocents in the frame, both two and four-legged.

Dishoom movie review: This John, Varun film fails to zip-zap-zoom
Sun, Jul 31, 2016

Dishoom movie review: John Abraham and Varun Dhawan's movie is designed like a fast-paced caper but lacks impact. It shines in bits and pieces but the rest is a stretch.

Kabali movie review: This Rajinikanth starrer is a drag
Sun, Jul 24, 2016

Kabali movie review: This was the time when Rajinikanth should have reinvented himself for his directors have long stopped bothering about plot and characterisation. For when Rajinikant is on and at it, who cares?

Madaari movie review: Even Irrfan Khan can’t rescue this patchy film
Mon, Jul 25, 2016

Irrfan Khan is happy to be ‘ruled’ till one day when the rule of law is destroyed. He sees injustice and anarchy around him and decides to extract revenge.

Great Grand Masti movie review: This offensively unfunny, grating thing’s not a film
Sun, Jul 17, 2016

Great Grand Masti movie review: To spice up the by now wrung-out-to-dry formula of sex-starved husbands and stand-offish wives, Great Grand Masti script has added on a female ghost who died a virgin.

Sultan review: Salman Khan cracks and bleeds in his most real performance
Thu, Jul 21, 2016

Sultan review: With Sultan, Salman Khan has given his most human performance. He breaks free from the bondage of Bhai-giri and is ably supported by Anushka Sharma.

Fireflies in the Abyss movie review: A sombre look at the lives of Nepali miners struggling to get somewhere
Fri, Jul 01, 2016

Fireflies in the Abyss, out in a limited release this week, gives us a window into the people who spend their lives in darkness, to eke a living.

Shorgul movie review: A toothless, clichéd melodrama with bloody clashes
Fri, Jul 01, 2016

Shorgul review: Jimmy Shergill and Ashutosh Rana starrer is a kind of film that sadly requires political intervention for it to release.

Raman Raghav 2.0 movie review: With few mesmeric bits, Anurag Kashyap’s film is atmospheric yet hollow
Sat, Jun 25, 2016

Raman Raghav 2.0 movie review: There are some mesmeric bits in here, which belong to Siddiqui. But those are not enough. Without those crucial elements, the film is rendered atmospheric yet hollow, and we are turned into cringing voyeurs, into reluctant participants, without redemption.

High on reality
Wed, Jun 22, 2016

‘Udta Punjab’ in the theatres is a victory for those whose job it is to create, provoke

Finding Dory movie review: What happened to throwing your head back and laughing?
Fri, Jun 17, 2016

Finding Dory movie review: This one is touchy-feely-weepy, underlining the movie's big theme — home is where the heart is.

Dhanak movie review: Two winsome kids in ‘exotic Rajasthan’ make for a pleasant watch
Fri, Jun 17, 2016

Dhanak movie review: It’s hard not to be moved by the two kids — Krish Chhabria and Hetal Gadda — and their heart-warming story, directed by Nagesh Kukunoor.

Udta Punjab review: Shahid, Alia starrer has flaws, but makes a strong point
Sun, Jun 19, 2016

Udta Punjab movie review: This is the kind of film which has something to say, and it says it with both flair and conviction.

Do Lafzon Ki Kahani movie review: The plot of this Randeep Hooda, Kajal Aggarwal starrer is a string of drippy sequences
Sun, Jun 12, 2016

Do Lafzon Ki Kahani movie review: The only point of interest in this Randeep Hooda, Kajal Aggarwal starrer is that it is set in Kuala Lumpur, a city Bollywood doesn’t much get around to.

TE3N review: The plot of this Big B, Nawazuddin starrer has too much fuzz
Sun, Jun 12, 2016

TE3N movie review: Amitabh Bachchan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Vidya Balan starrer TE3N is a dark story with vicious undertones.

Udta Punjab row: Why ‘Censor Board’ must stick only to certification
Fri, Jun 10, 2016

It is time now to ask that question, and to keep asking it till some clarity emerges: Is there any need for censorship in an age when everything is available on the Internet?

Udta, baitha, what’s in a name?
Thu, Jun 09, 2016

The chief problem with the Central Board Of Film Certification (CBFC) is that it has never really embraced the change in its name, from `censorship’ to `certification’, with any seriousness.

Thithi movie review: Most of the cast is non-professional, and the plot originates from the soil
Sun, Jun 05, 2016

Thithi is set in Mandya, a village in Karnataka.

Housefull 3 movie review: Me to Brain, ‘leaving you behind for a bit, don’t mind’
Sun, Jun 05, 2016

Housefull 3 movie review: Jacqueline, Lisa and Nargis playing lassies in short skirts going by the name Ganga, Jamuna and Saraswati.

Phobia movie review: Radhika Apte doesn’t put a foot wrong
Sat, May 28, 2016

Phobia movie review: The Radhika Apte starrer is a genuine frightener, so far away from those unintentionally comic monstrosities Bollywood keeps slinging out that you feel like cheering.

Veerappan movie review: Based on Ram Gopal Varma’s own Kannada ‘Killing Veerappan’, never becomes that film
Sat, May 28, 2016

Veerappan movie review: The dizzying camera angles which have marred so many of RGV’s recent outings may have mercifully gone missing but the ear-shattering background music is right there.

Waiting movie review: Both Naseeruddin Shah and Kalki Koechlin are good fits for their parts
Sat, May 28, 2016

Waiting movie review: Both Naseeruddin and Kalki Koechlin are good fits for their parts in a film which segues easily between English, Hindi and a smattering of Malayalam.

Sarbjit movie review: Randeep Hooda is the only thing worth watching in this Aishwarya Rai Bachchan starrer
Mon, May 23, 2016

Sarbjit movie review: Randeep Hooda nails the look and the accent, letting neither overpower him, and is the only reason to sit through this sagging saga.

Dear Dad movie review: It’s good to see Arvind Swamy back again
Fri, May 13, 2016

Dear Dad movie review: There are a few moments between father and son which feel as if something real is going on in this Arvind Swamy film.

Azhar movie review: Emraan Hashmi, usually so watchable, is buried under the inept script
Sun, May 15, 2016

Emraan Hashmi is earnest, and the only saving grace here. Prachi Desai is rouged and demure and distressed.

Through a different lens
Thu, May 12, 2016

In its second coming, socially-conscious cinema is demanding mainstream privileges.

Traffic movie review: Crispness and the sense of urgency is missing in this Manoj Bajpayee starrer
Sat, May 07, 2016

Traffic movie review: This enterprise, bloated by needless saccharine and background music, has its moments but stays, overall, strictly serviceable.