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Thursday, December 12, 2019

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.

How the slight, unremarkable Amol Palekar carved a niche for himself
Sun, Dec 08, 2019

In his films, the actor was more the common man with middle-class aspirations than the guy who felled 20 baddies with one blow.

Pati Patni Aur Woh movie review: No laughing matter
Sat, Dec 07, 2019

Pati Patni Aur Woh movie review: If only this new triangle had made more of Vedika’s spunk, and Tapasya’s spirit, it would have been a much more interesting take on contemporary marriages and mores.

Panipat movie review: No great shakes
Sat, Dec 07, 2019

Ashutosh Gowariker has the right to creative license, and he has chosen the line which bends both fact and credulity. But did Panipat, which clocks in nearly three hours run time, need to be quite such a drudge?

Yeh Saali Aashiqui movie review: A dated, troubling film
Fri, Nov 29, 2019

The two leads aren’t bad, Shivaleeka Oberoi pulling off her part with some amount of confidence and Vardhan Puri (the grandson of Amrish Puri) showing a glimpse of promise, minus the grandpa’s towering build or the gravelly voice.

Commando 3 movie review: A predictable actioner
Fri, Nov 29, 2019

Commando 3 movie review: Though Vidyut Jammwal does the heroic things, like thumping thugs and rescuing fair maidens, it is Gulshan Devaiah who steals the show in this patchily plotted, predictable actioner.

Aamis movie review: An unusual, brilliant film
Fri, Nov 22, 2019

Aamis movie review: Not for the faint-hearted or squeamish, Aamis is an unusual, brilliant film, and Bhaskar Hazarika one of India’s most gifted filmmakers. I came away gobsmacked, in the best way possible.

Bypass Road movie review: The Neil Nitin Mukesh film is a drag
Sat, Nov 09, 2019

Bypass Road checks all the boxes of a murder mystery-cum-thriller. But the film is just another botched attempt at a genre Bollywood has never excelled at.

Satellite Shankar movie review: Sooraj Pancholi’s film needed more nuance
Sat, Nov 09, 2019

Satellite Shankar movie review: This very Forrest Gump-ish intent could have been better realized if the plot had been less simplistic, and the lead actor a little more versatile.

Bala movie review: Hair we go again
Sat, Nov 09, 2019

Bala movie review: Ayushmann Khurrana’s Bala is an achievement. He’s perfected the art of playing people who are not instantly likeable, and he works the characters’ kinks to the point where we can see them, and yet sympathise.

Heart of Darkness
Fri, Nov 08, 2019

As the sequel of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining releases today, a look back at the film that continues to define horror for many.

Drive movie review: A sad joke
Sat, Nov 02, 2019

Drive movie review: Drive seems to have been strung up with influences from Hollywood films featuring sharp racing, sleek cars, and canny 'chors’, but has none of the smarts it is aiming at.

Ujda Chaman movie review: Sunny Singh film tests your patience
Fri, Nov 01, 2019

Ujda Chaman movie review: If the point of the film is to tell us that external appearances have nothing to do with our inner selves, it needed to have done it better. Much, much better.

Housefull 4 movie review: Brain to Me, ‘Stop. Enough. I’m done’
Mon, Oct 28, 2019

Housefull 4 movie review: The Akshay Kumar starrer offers nothing that makes sense.

Saand Ki Aankh movie review: Taapsee-Bhumi make us suspend disbelief only in parts
Fri, Oct 25, 2019

Saand Ki Aankh movie review: Taapsee Pannu and Bhumi Pednekar's body language is wrong. Their faces are made old by latex, but their hands and necks are young. Crucially, at no point do they make us suspend disbelief.

Made In China movie review: A tale of vim-and-vigour-laced-with-viagra
Fri, Oct 25, 2019

Made In China movie review: The initial bits keep up the light tone and there are some laughs to be had, but all too soon, as it happens so often in Bollywood, everything goes limp.

Prateek Vats on his man-and-monkey tale that premiered in China and Jio MAMI
Sun, Oct 20, 2019

Prateek Vats spoke about the making of his first feature film after its world premiere at the just-concluded Pingyao International Film Festival. It had its India outing at the ongoing Jio MAMI festival in Mumbai.

Pingyao Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon Festival in China had a special focus on Indian cinema
Sun, Oct 20, 2019

Pingyao International Film Festival is a boutique festival, with multiple screenings of about 56 films spread over nine days so that everyone, international delegates as well as local film enthusiasts from nearby towns (the nearest big city is Taiyuan), has a chance to catch everything.

Jallikattu movie review: An exhilarating ride
Fri, Oct 18, 2019

Jallikattu movie review: The film works as both real-time exploration of the human psyche as well as a parable, and we are left both laughing and gasping, as the animal seems to be one-up on the collective smarts of the humans.

Laal Kaptaan movie review: A weak plot leaves characters struggling for relevance
Fri, Oct 18, 2019

Laal Kaptaan movie review: There are flashes when you feel the film will finally say something important, but then it lapses back into stodgy set-pieces which go on and on.

The Sky Is Pink movie review: The colour barely seeps into the film
Fri, Oct 11, 2019

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.