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.

Articles By Shubhra Gupta

The Sky Is Pink movie review: The colour barely seeps into the film

The Sky Is Pink movie review: Occasionally, the combined charm of the star cast does lift the film, especially when they are goofing off in their fancy farmhouse-type home, keeping in sync with the family’s rise in fortunes.

Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy movie review (Hindi): Chiranjeevi fills the role completely

Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy movie review (Hindi): Here’s what we get, in plenty. Battle scenes upon massed battle scenes, with Indian braves fending off the marauding British overlords. And towering above them all, Chiranjeevi, who carries the film from beginning to end.

War movie review: Hrithik Roshan starrer is flashy but familiar

War movie review: The chief trouble with War is that all the space is divvied up between Hrithik Roshan and Tiger Shroff, that the poor baddies don’t really get a chance.

Gandhi Jayanti 2019: The ideas that Bapu stood for need a resurrection in our films

The first full-scale movie made on his momentous life and death was Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi (1982), a biopic with so much sweep and sway that you almost forgot that Gandhi, that most iconic of Indians, was being played by an Englishman, Ben Kingsley.

Bulbul Can Sing movie review: The actors win you over

I fell in love with Village Rockstars and its youthful characters who didn’t 'act' as much as just danced, pranced, splashed across the landscape. Bulbul Can Sing, which can be seen both as a companion piece and as its own film, is more ‘performed’.

Prassthanam review: The Sanjay Dutt film feels somewhat dated

Prassthanam movie review: Of the ensemble, in which Chunky Panday gets to wear a bad wig and vamp it up most enjoyably, Ali Fazal is the most impressive.

Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas review: Karan Deol leaves zero impact

Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas movie review: Sahher Bambba is just a tad better than Karan Deol, but just a tad, and at the end, all you feel is dispirited: is this really 2019, and this a here-and-now love story?

The Zoya Factor review: Dulquer Salmaan hits it out of the park

For a rom-com which needs to be light on its feet, hitting fours and sixes as it goes along, the writing is not as supple as it should have been. Too many slog overs here.

TIFF 2019: Her Seat at the Table

TIFF has been raising the bar on gender parity — from the films it showcases to initiating a female-inclusive facilitation programme

Section 375 movie review: A solid courtroom drama

Section 375 is a solid courtroom drama, with good performances all round, which keeps us engaged right through, even through some of the film’s hiccups.

Dream Girl movie review: Ayushmann Khurrana saves the day

Dream Girl movie review: You stay watching Dream Girl for Ayushmann Khurrana. He plays Karam/Pooja with grace and conviction, and makes this thing sing.

Express at TIFF 2019: This Is Not A Movie. Or is it?

A slew of films showcased at the festival explore the times we live in.

Express at TIFF 2019, Day 6: This Is Not a Movie. Or is it?

It’s not just journalists, especially print warhorses, who will enjoy This Is Not a Movie, but also others who have no idea what it takes to be a newsperson who has dedicated his or her life to the reporting of truth as they see it.

Express at TIFF 2019: Home truths

Noah Baumbach raises the bar with Marriage Story, which will resonate most with couples who have done the time.

Express at TIFF 2019, Day 5: Noah Baumbach raises the bar with Marriage Story

Marriage Story will resonate most with couples who have done the time and are aware just how things can unravel, how joy can leach out, and anger and frustration can become permanent companions.

Express at TIFF 2019: Tell-tale signs

Two standout Hollywood premieres on Day 4 talk about the devastation and possible restoration of the human spirit.

Express at TIFF 2019, Day 4: Tell-Tale Signs

Hustlers is as bawdy, lusty and in your face as A Beautiful Day In The Neighbourhood is quiet, decorous and tasteful, even though both reveal the devastation of the spirit when humanity leaves the room.

Express at TIFF 2019, Day 3: Trey Edward Shults’ Waves is truly a tour de force

While Waves gives us a long, hard look at the dynamics which can hopelessly skew families, The Father, directed by Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov, takes refuge in the absurd, and making us laugh through sheer exasperation.

Express at TIFF 2019, Day 2: Lijo Jose Pellissary’s Jallikattu wins the day

Jallikattu is exhilarating, and I am still all shook up, a few hours after the standing-ovation gala screening. The other Indian films at TIFF -- Shonali Bose’s The Sky Is Pink, Geetu Mohandas’s Moothon, and Gitanjali Rao’s Bombay Rose -- have a hard act to follow.

Express at TIFF 2019, Day 1: From the remarkable Parasite to demanding The Long Walk

The elements of subterranean horror that play out in Bong Joon-ho's Parasite is brought right up to the surface in another, very different film, The Long Walk by Mattie Do.