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.
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.
Bong Joon-ho won not one, but four of those, creating history at the 92nd Oscars.
Ahead of the release of Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan, a look at how the Hindi film industry is at last ready to break the mould, with love not derision.
Malang movie review: Mohit Suri’s cinematic universe is routinely dark and twisted, and in his best work, his characters have been edgy and interesting. But Malang’s twists don’t really take you aback, and the identity of one of the perpetrators is more of an eye-roll than anything else.
Shikara movie review: Shikara takes vague jabs at setting the context. We get throwaway remarks about ‘not being able to gather because of Section 144’, ‘elections not being free and fair’, ‘India chale jaao’. We see militancy being encouraged and supported from across the border, but nothing goes deeper.
Jawaani Jaaneman movie review: A little more consistency with the writing, and a re-upping of the fun-meter would have made Jawaani Jaaneman super. As it is, it is fun while it lasts.
Street Dancer 3D film review: The real trouble is that the dances are so seen-it-before, so-not-exciting.
Panga film review: That Jaya Nigam, played with absolute conviction by Kangana Ranuat, dares to dream of a past life where she was in the spotlight, is a straight-off win, subject-wise.
Some sequences go on for too long, and there are places where the lack of finesse is evident, but it works for the film. Spit and polish is strictly for uniforms: the life (and death) of a soldier is a messy thing.
At its best moments, you cannot help but have your heart broken: Jamie Foxx doesn't have to say anything; his prison-weathered face is map of pain and humiliation and indignation.
Jai Mummy Di movie review: Supriya Pathak, predictably, makes the most of things. But Poonam Dhillon, whom we see on screen after a long gap, deserved better.
When actor Deepika Padukone visited JNU last week, standing in quiet solidarity with injured students, it was the loudest Bollywood had spoken out on issues outside its gilded sets. The Indian Express examines the new eloquence in the industry — angry, unapologetic and not afraid to seek answers
Tanhaji movie review: I enjoyed Saif Ali Khan’s maniacal bad guy, which comes off as yet another variant (Ranveer Singh, Sanjay Dutt) of the flesh-devouring, diabolical, ruthless enemy that Bollywood currently delights in.
Darbar movie review: Darbar remains a Rajinikanth film which bows at each step to the continuing myth of the one and only Thalaivar.
Chhapaak movie review: You look at Deepika Padukone, so far away from the dressed-up, made-up parts she’s done till now, and acknowledge an actor who wants to break out of her safe zone, to actually inhabit someone else’s skin even if it’s burnt. Yes, it’s worthy, but it’s also very watchable.
Sab Kushal Mangal movie review: The film breaks out of an uneasy mess by a contrivance, and tries to steer towards lightness by making Baba, the local yokel, fall for the very girl he has ‘uthwaaoed’.
Bhangra Paa Le movie review: A dance movie is defined by the quality of choreography. Both Sunny Kaushal and Rukhsar Dhillon are good, but the numbers never really leap off the screen. Passable, like the film.
Ghost Stories movie review: Overall, there’s not enough sustained unease or a sense of dread or foreboding. Nor is there too much originality: I got flashes of John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place, and Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca.
Here are the films that made my decade. Some for creating brand new metrics to measure heroism, both male and female. Some for breaking out of mouldy molds. All for telling us, all over again, why we love the movies
Binnu Ka Sapna movie review: There’s no doubt that Binnu Ka Sapna is a powerful testament to the build-up of messed-up testosterone when confronted with constant violence, of both the physical and mental kind