Friday, Feb 27, 2015

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.

Under the Covers
Sun, Feb 22, 2015

The film, 'Fifty Shades of Grey' by all accounts, is a little funnier and smarter than the books.

Qissa movie review: Irrfan Khan film is lambent, lovely and seductive
Fri, Feb 20, 2015

'Qissa' review: The Irffan Khan, Tillotama Shome film is lambent, lovely, and completely seductive.

Badlapur review: You are hooked by the beginning, the rest of the tale is choppy
Sat, Feb 21, 2015

Badlapur review: This Varun Dhawan and Nawauddin Siddiqui starrer is so riveting you don't even want to blink.

Roy review: What is Ranbir Kapoor doing in a movie like this?
Sat, Feb 14, 2015

Roy movie review; I haven’t seen something as fuzzy and dreary as ‘Roy’ in a long time : just what is Ranbir Kapoor doing in a movie like this?

‘MSG’ review – The ‘film’ is excruciatingly awful only for non-believers
Sat, Feb 14, 2015

MSG: The Messenger Of God - The 'film' is long and excruciatingly awful only for non-believers. For his adoring followers, each scene is a super-hit.

Just for Laughs
Sun, Feb 08, 2015

Everybody should have the freedom to watch comedy, participate in it or do it

‘Shamitabh’ movie review: Amitabh Bachchan’s voice powers the movie
Mon, Feb 09, 2015

'Shamitabh' has a few moments which sparkle, and we laugh in acknowledgement. But the rest of it is overpowered by unabashed reverence.

Rahasya movie review: It has only a couple of dark moments
Sat, Jan 31, 2015

Its is an attempted mish-mash of a crime-of-coiled-passion- cum-police procedural, the confusion only serving to confound.

Khamoshiyan movie review: It does exactly what you expect
Sun, Feb 01, 2015

A lonely cottage, a beautiful girl, a fresh-faced fellow wrapped in a bunch of sufi-suffused songs which have already captured the airwaves.

Hawaizaada movie review: This could have been an imaginative flight of fancy, but it is anything but
Sat, Jan 31, 2015

For a film that is about the joy of flying, ‘Hawaizaada’ fails to take off from frame one, failing to sprout any wings.

Sacrificed at the Altar
Sun, Jan 25, 2015

There are few Hindi films that deal with the real pain of marital estrangement.

Dolly Ki Doli review: Sonam Kapoor film starts off well, but falls into a familiar trap
Sat, Jan 24, 2015

Sonam Kapoor is in almost every frame, and should have filled them all. But the treatment of the character shows up her limitations.

‘Baby’ movie review: This Akshay Kumar film is as simplistic as its title
Sat, Jan 24, 2015

Baby movie review: This is Akshay’s most credible performance in a long time, and reminds us the actor he can be.

How Can We Allow This?
Wed, Jan 21, 2015

...should not be the question. The CBFC needs to — has so far failed to — bring certification, not censorship, to the fore

Movie review: Paddington
Sat, Jan 17, 2015

A movie based on a childhood favourite book can usually never measure up.

Crazy Cukkad Family movie review
Fri, Jan 16, 2015

'Crazy Cukkad Family' promises a lot of fun cock-a-doodle-do, but delivers much too much cockamamie, instead.

‘Alone’ Movie review: There’s not much anyone can do
Mon, Jan 19, 2015

Bipasha Basu starrer quickly becomes a tussle between the scenes that want you to be scared and the sequences where you are supposed to slurp at all the eye candy.

We Don’t Need No Intermission
Sun, Jan 11, 2015

For a Hindi cinema familiar, The Interval is a sacred space, arriving bang in the middle of the film.

Tevar review: Arjun Kapoor does a backslide to his ‘Gunday-Ishaqzaade’ mode
Sun, Jan 11, 2015

Tevar review: It makes you a couple of promises : that it will be violent, vicious and crude; and that it will do nothing new.

Take It Easy movie review: Loud background music, loud melodrama and loud dialogues
Fri, Jan 02, 2015

Joy Sengupta is one of those dads who is never satisfied. His son comes second in class and in a race, and his world comes crashing down.

Frames, 2014
Tue, Dec 30, 2014

The year’s best movies were about people who moved and grew.

Since you’ve been gone: Nothing prepares you for the passing of a mother
Sun, Dec 28, 2014

When she who gives you breath has no breath, the world changes. It stops, keels over, and see-saws between teetering and straightening.

Ugly movie review: Anurag Kashyap takes darkness to an extreme, much more than Paanch
Sat, Dec 27, 2014

'Ugly' film review: It takes that darkness to an extreme, even more so that his first, unreleased 'Paanch': a little girl goes missing, and what happens subsequently (and consequently) does not just flow from the fear and anguish.

Life on the go
Sun, Dec 21, 2014

Road movies can make you travel across the globe without going anywhere.

PK review: Aamir Khan plays ‘PK’ to his strengths
Mon, Dec 22, 2014

PK review: Aamir Khan plays PK not only to his strengths, but adds something new: we’ve seen his earnestness several times before, but not artlessness.

Lingaa review: It is basically three hours of Rajinikanth doing his thing
Fri, Dec 12, 2014

Lingaa movie review: Like all his films, it is basically three hours of Rajini Saar doing his thing. And it is three hours of full-on 'masti' and 'mazaa'.

Badlapur Boys review: Suddenly, ‘kabaddi’, that old fusty thing, is sexy
Fri, Dec 12, 2014

A father gives up his life, a son is left moping, and a mother constantly crying. The ‘kabaddi boys’ are more ‘men’, and the treatment makes it banal and dull.

Main Aur Mr Riight review: Barun Sobti gets the hungry-actor look right, but Shenaz Treasurywala needed to be deeper
Fri, Dec 12, 2014

Main Aur Mr Riight Review: Varun Sobti gets the hungry-actor look right, but the smiley Shenaz Treasurywala needed to be deeper.

Sulemani Keeda review: Gives us a couple of struggling script-writers that makes us smile
Fri, Dec 05, 2014

'Sulemani Keeda' gives us a couple of struggling script-writers that makes us smile. But the film takes the 'slacker' part of its title (slacker comedy) a bit too seriously.

Bhopal: A Prayer For Rain movie review
Sun, Dec 07, 2014

‘Bhopal : A Prayer For Rain’ plays out like a much-delayed requiem for the thousands that were killed and maimed that night.

Action Jackson movie review: A straight-up disgusting fare
Sun, Dec 07, 2014

Action Jackson movie review: Ajay Devgn doesn’t need to stoop this low: so what if he can't dance, he can keep a straight face while delivering a joke.

What Filmmakers Actually Want
Sun, Nov 30, 2014

This year, big Bollywood names flocked to the NFDC-run Film Bazaar looking for the right project.

Movie review – Zed Plus
Fri, Nov 28, 2014

Zed Plus turns out to be a mildly engaging but overall patchy attempt at political satire from the man who gave us the memorable Doordarshan serial Chanakya.

Ungli review: Where to point the finger?
Sun, Nov 30, 2014

Ungli is empty, and left me collecting my jaw from the floor, where it lay through the film.

Movie review: Happy Ending – A series of been-here, seen-this moments and a wasted opportunity
Fri, Nov 21, 2014

'Happy Ending' piles up many more as it goes along, making the film a series of been-here, seen-this moments, and a wasted opportunity.

Marriage, movies and the meaning of ‘spousality’
Sun, Nov 16, 2014

Those who have heard us use it suggest we patent it because it says so much in so little. It resonates instantly with people who are or have been spouses, or have been in relationships which are akin to being spousal.