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Monday, March 30, 2020

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.

Roberto Benigni: We will always need a fairy tale
Fri, Mar 27, 2020

The Italian actor-director on the relevance of Pinocchio even today, and how life, as incomprehensible as it may be, is still beautiful

Maska review: Manisha Koirala can’t save this bland film
Sat, Mar 28, 2020

Maska review: The best parts of Maska are filled with food, the cooking and eating of it: the textures of baking fresh bread, the buttery ooze of the maska, the other classic dishes you may find in an Irani establishment, and the golden lights that fill up the kitchen.

Inimitable Irrfan
Sun, Mar 22, 2020

As his new film Angrezi Medium releases, a look at how Irrfan has time and again stepped into his characters like a chameleon, wearing them like second skin, to play a thief and an addict, good cop and bad, a lout, a Casanova, a killer, a gangster and by far the most layered lover

Les Miserables movie review: The misery still exists
Sat, Mar 14, 2020

Les Miserables movie review: This Ladj Ly directorial's subjects may be removed from Victor Hugo’s 19th century novel of the same name by more than two hundred years, but the misery still exists.

‘Salinger wanted success as a writer but he didn’t want celebrityhood’
Fri, Mar 13, 2020

Joana Rakoff on director Phillipe Falardeu’s new film on her book My Salinger Year, working at the literary agency that represented JD Salinger, and how she discovered the reclusive writer

Angrezi Medium review: Irrfan Returns
Sat, Mar 14, 2020

Angrezi Medium review: Angrezi Medium could just as well have been called Irrfan Returns. Watching this terrific actor lighting up the screen, of knowing about his medical struggles, and the fact that he did this film while still in treatment, gives it a special bittersweet flavour.

Kaamyaab movie review: Sanjay Mishra is faultless
Sat, Mar 07, 2020

Kaamyaab movie review: Kaamyaab is a moving, consistently engaging portrait of an artiste as a weathering, weathered man. And Sanjay Mishra is faultless as the lead character - always the bridesmaid, never the bride; an insider but always on the outside.

Baaghi 3 movie review: Logic is not the strongest suit of this flick
Sat, Mar 07, 2020

Baaghi 3 movie review: The last time Tiger Shroff got into an actioner, he had to play second fiddle with the very sexy, equally fit Hrithik Roshan. This time around, no such risks are taken.

The whole idea of borders is redundant: Laila Aur Satt Geet director Pushpendra Singh
Thu, Mar 05, 2020

Filmmaker Pushpendra Singh on Laila Aur Satt Geet, his new film that reflects the current times, setting it in Jammu and Kashmir, and how stories and spaces shape us

Berlin International Film Festival: In Between Conversations
Wed, Feb 26, 2020

Hong Sangsoo’s The Woman Who Ran shows that dystopia is not the only thing South Korean cinema does well

Thappad movie review: Anubhav Sinha film is important
Sat, Feb 29, 2020

Thappad bears its message, more essential than ever, on its chin: Women are not property. Wives are not owned. Dreams have no gender, and everyone is allowed to realise them. And how all it takes, from a woman who just wants self-respect, is a decision to say no, Not Even One Slap.

Express at Berlinale 2020 – Day 6: From The Woman Who Ran to Bad Tales
Wed, Feb 26, 2020

Hong Sangsoo’s delightful The Woman Who Ran is a slender wisp of a film, only 77 minutes, and extremely minimalistic in its execution. But the depths that it mines is quite astonishing.

Berlin Internatinal Film Festival: An Indian Journey
Wed, Feb 26, 2020

Prateek Vyas’s Eeb Allay Ooo! and Akshay Indikar’s Sthalpuran may be rooted in India but resonate with global audiences

Express at Berlinale 2020 – Day 5: Eeb Allay Ooo! is a bitingly sharp satire
Thu, Feb 27, 2020

Eeb Allay Ooo! taps into many things: the waves of unending migration from nearby states in search of a better future, the potent mix of poverty, illiteracy and unemployment, and the daily humiliations of people on the margins.

Express at Berlinale 2020 – Day 4: From Matteo Garrone’s Pinocchio to Christian Petzold’s Undine
Mon, Feb 24, 2020

The Pinocchio legend, immortalized in the sweet Disney 1940 version, gets an update in Matteo Garrone’s live-action fantasy, starring Roberto Benigni as Geppetto the carpenter who brings to life a little boy carved from wood. Yes, the one with the pointy nose.

Express at Berlinale 2020 – Day 3: Pacy thriller Time To Hunt and First Cow, the Western with a difference
Mon, Feb 24, 2020

Part heist, part chase, Yoon Sung-hyun's Time To Hunt has shades of the Terminator movies.

Express at Berlinale – Day 2: Onward is about coming to terms with loss and grief
Sun, Feb 23, 2020

Onward cannot be more clear about where it wants to go, and the place it nudges us towards - to let go of the past, make peace with ourselves, and go on.

Express at Berlinale 2020 – Day 1: My Salinger Year is turgid and inert
Sun, Feb 23, 2020

Margaret Qualley, criminally, comes off flat. Sigourney Weaver is better, just a shade, just by the fact that she’s done this for so long. How can a movie about wonderful writing, and writers, be written with so little flair?

Love Aaj Kal movie review: Sara Ali Khan-Kartik Aaryan film is an incoherent mess
Sat, Feb 15, 2020

Love Aaj Kal 2 movie review: Kartik desperately tries to act as a lover in back-then-Udaipur-and-right-now-Delhi, but the effort doesn’t translate into anything true. Sara is perky and alive.

Parasite is Best Picture: Subtitles finally speak truth to Hollywood
Tue, Feb 11, 2020

Bong Joon-ho won not one, but four of those, creating history at the 92nd Oscars.