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.

Vada Chennai movie review: A gripping gangster drama
Fri, Oct 19, 2018

Vada Chennai movie review: The nearly 2.45 hours long film unspools an ambitious, roiling story about a place, North Chennai, and its people, over a period of time. It feels appropriate to call it a saga.

Namaste England movie review: The Arjun Kapoor and Parineeti Chopra film is cliched and charmless
Fri, Oct 19, 2018

Namaste England is just a plain bad film, in which the ‘desis’ who live in the UK are poor misguided souls, and the real ‘desis', especially those from good ‘ol Punjab, will rescue the world.

Badhaai Ho movie review: Watch it for Neena Gupta and Gajraj Rao
Thu, Oct 18, 2018

Badhaai Ho movie review: Badhaai Ho doesn’t quite know what it wants us to do more, laugh or cry. And parts of the film sink into sitcom flatness, especially when Sikri overdoes her grumpy 'saas' act, though some of her lines are laugh-out-loud.

Fryday movie review: The Govinda film fries your brain
Fri, Oct 12, 2018

Fryday movie review: No one seems to have the first idea of what to do, apart from going around in circles, and spouting dialogue which is meant to be funny but instead fries your brain.

Helicopter Eela movie review: Kajol starrer is saddled with banal story-telling
Fri, Oct 12, 2018

Helicopter Eela movie review: Helicopter Eela is so saddled with banal story-telling, stretched sub-plots and exaggerated performances, including and especially from the lead actress, that it never really takes off.

Tumbbad movie review: A gorgeous looking, intriguing morality tale
Fri, Oct 12, 2018

Tumbbad movie review: Debutant director Rahi Anil Barve has a distinct voice. Tumbbad is a gorgeous looking, intriguing morality tale which both entrances and repulses: it’s not something I will forget.

Loveyatri movie review: The Aayush Sharma film is smothered in silliness
Fri, Oct 05, 2018

Loveyatri movie review: While you are waiting for the time to pass, and it does with torturous slowness, you ask the obvious question: if the leading man wasn’t Salman Khan’s brother-in-law, would an entire film be made just to launch him?

Andhadhun movie review: The Sriram Raghavan film is racy, pacy and appropriately pulpy
Fri, Oct 05, 2018

Tabu is marvelous, Sriram Raghavan finally having created a fitting role for this uber-talented actress, whom we really should be seeing much more of. Ayushmann Khurrana is wonderful, too, sinking into his part.

Sui Dhaaga movie review: The Anushka and Varun starrer is nice, safe and staid
Fri, Sep 28, 2018

The only trouble with the Anushka Sharma and Varun Dhawan's Sui Dhaaga is its total predictability: you know what’s coming miles before the characters do.

Village Rockstars movie review: A beautifully told coming-of-age-story
Fri, Sep 28, 2018

Village Rockstars movie review: As a coming-of-age-story alone, Village Rockstars is a beauty. As a one-woman-enterprise, the film is a marvel. Das has single-handedly created this film: written, filmed, directed, produced and edited it.

Pataakha review: Vishal Bhardwaj pulls off a rousing parable
Fri, Sep 28, 2018

The girls in Pataakha take some getting used to: you have to suspend disbelief to take these dusty, filthy-mouthed sisters seriously. But once they start settling into their roles, you cross a hump

Filmmaker Kalpana Lajmi no more: Pedigree behind her, but she made a mark from debut
Mon, Sep 24, 2018

As Guru Dutt’s niece, Lajmi was perfectly poised for a smooth entry into Hindi cinema, and to coast along on pedigree alone. But she made a mark for herself right from her debut feature.

Kalpana Lajmi (1954-2018): Fierce, independent and feisty filmmaker
Sun, Sep 23, 2018

Filmmaker Kalpana Lajmi passed away on Sunday morning at Kokilaben Hospital in Mumbai. She was 64.

Batti Gul Meter Chalu movie review: The Shahid Kapoor starrer is a film with good intentions
Sat, Sep 22, 2018

Batti Gul Meter Chalu is a hark-back to a forgotten tradition, which, at its best, gave us story and substance. Batti Gul gives us both, for most part.

Manto movie review: The Nawazuddin Siddiqui starrer leaves you wanting more
Sat, Sep 22, 2018

Manto movie review: Nandita Das' debut feature Firaaq, set in the aftermath of the Gujarat killings of 2002, is an unflinching look at how religious extremism can damage us from within.

43rd Toronto International Film Festival Day 8: Roma, Cuaron’s masterly slice of life, is the best film at TIFF 2018
Sat, Sep 15, 2018

Many filmmakers before Alfonso Cuaron have tried to capture real life while keeping the life-like essence intact. Given the number of failures and also-rans, we know just how hard it can be. Roma does it so beautifully, without calling attention to its craft, that it is mesmeric.

Love Sonia movie review: The Mrunal Thakur film is weighed down by cliches
Fri, Sep 14, 2018

Love Sonia movie review: The real find is Mrunal Thakur who plays Sonia, the younger of two sisters, both victims of the vicious men and women who trade in flesh.

Manmarziyaan movie review: The Vicky-Taapsee starrer is an exhausting romantic drama
Fri, Sep 14, 2018

You want to shake these lovers and ask them to make up their mind, quick. You enjoy the initial exhilaration born out of breathless passion as the winsome boy and girl engage in the age-old dance of desire. And then they become exhausting. As does the film.

43rd Toronto International Film Festival Day 7: Under the Rainbow
Fri, Sep 14, 2018

TIFF features the best of queer-themed cinema

43rd Toronto International Film Festival — Day 6 : A West Turn
Thu, Sep 13, 2018

The latest to gravitate towards a Western is French director Jacques Audiard