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Friday, May 07, 2021

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 Sthalpuran gives the child and his world a rare primacy
Sun, Apr 18, 2021

Akshay Indikar's Marathi feature, which won two awards at the International Film Festival of Kerala 2021 and was screened at Berlinale 2020, is a delicate evocation of how childhood can be full of pain and pleasure

Ajeeb Daastaans review: Netflix sells the tale of curdled love, sex and dhoka
Sat, Apr 17, 2021

Ajeeb Daastaans review: The best film comes from Neeraj Ghaywan, one of the most exciting young voices working in Bollywood today, and Kayoze Irani.

The Father review: As a man helplessly disappearing, Anthony Hopkins is magnificently present
Sat, Apr 17, 2021

The Father review: What do you do with the abiding love and the constant guilt of abandoning a life that brought you into life? It's one of the hardest places to be.

Aarkkariyam review: Parvathy impresses in an impactful film where less is more
Thu, Apr 15, 2021

Aarkkariyam movie review: The film presents lives in disarray, looking for moorings and closure, in the most natural way in a most unnatural year where we all were forced to live in isolation.

The Big Bull movie review: Abhishek Bachchan film is a muddled mix of stodginess and melodrama
Sat, Apr 10, 2021

The Big Bull movie review: In comparison to Scam 1992, The Big Bull comes across badly with authenticity being a major issue in Abhishek Bachchan-Kookie Gulati film that is out on Disney+ Hotstar.

Joji movie review: Fahadh Faasil, Dileesh Pothan deliver a richly atmospheric tale of crime and punishment
Thu, Apr 08, 2021

Joji review: Scriptwriter Syam Pushkaran, director Dileesh Pothan and actor Fahad Faasil are long-time collaborators, and the smoothness in their latest coming together is proof that story is king.

Will you join the ‘Party’?
Sat, Apr 03, 2021

Govind Nihalani’s 1984 NFDC-produced film shows how differences and discussions were welcome at gatherings in the ’80s

Koi Jaane Na review: Watch this excruciating film only for Aamir Khan’s song
Sat, Apr 03, 2021

Koi Jaane Na review: The film’s title is prophetic because no one seems to know what is going on for every painful minute of two hours.

Irul review: Fahadh Faasil, Darshana Rajendran film let down by a plot that sags and drags
Sat, Apr 03, 2021

Irul review: The set-up of this Fahadh Faasil and Soubin Shahir starrer has promise and the actors are up for it too. However, the story-telling lets them down.

Silence, Can You Hear It review: Manoj Bajpayee is the star of this entertaining murder mystery
Sat, Mar 27, 2021

Silence… Can You Hear It review: Manoj Bajpayee takes the lead in this Zee5 police procedural as he solves a tricky murder.

Saina review: Parineeti Chopra serves, drops and smashes as badminton champ
Sat, Mar 27, 2021

Saina review: Parineeti Chopra gives us a good, solid Saina Nehwal. When she raises her racket after a hard-fought win, you cheer.

Pagglait review: Sanya Malhotra starrer Netflix film is sharp yet subtle
Sat, Mar 27, 2021

Pagglait review: With an ensemble cast and its heart in the right place, this Sanya Malhotra film only veers off-course when it becomes too heavy-handed.

One year of lockdown: After the year of disaster, stepping into the sequel
Mon, Mar 22, 2021

On lockdown’s first anniversary, we look at how the year of isolation changed our film-watching habits. As cinema theatres lurch back to a new normal, is the magic back?

Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar review: Two worlds collide in Arjun Kapoor, Parineeti Chopra film
Sat, Mar 20, 2021

Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar review: Dibakar Banerji, who has a nuanced eye when it comes to depicting power play and class differences in the NCR, should have given us a tighter film.

Mumbai Saga review: John Abraham, Emraan Hashmi film is a jaded re-retread of familiar ground
Sat, Mar 20, 2021

Mumbai Saga movie review: In Sanjay Gupta’s better films, the bad guys used to be more interesting, the action used to be classy. This John Abraham-Emraan Hashmi film, however, feels jaded.

How Tina Turner coped with abuse and became queen of rock music
Sat, Mar 13, 2021

A new documentary presents how her five-decade career is a story of trials and triumphs

Roohi movie review: Janhvi Kapoor, Rajkummar Rao’s horror comedy is plain horrible
Thu, Mar 11, 2021

Roohi review: What’s missing is a coherent plot and writing. All we get is one cringe-inducing sequence after the next.

Bombay Begums review: Flawed, real and laughing women make this Netflix series come alive
Mon, Mar 08, 2021

Bombay Begums review: The most powerful element in Alankrita Srivastava’s films is the recognition of women’s desire, and how its absence can create permanent hollowness.

Express at Berlinale: Wheel Of Fortune And Fantasy presents a delicate portmanteau of love and longing
Sat, Mar 06, 2021

Rysuke Hamaguchi’s ‘Wheel Of Fortune And Fantasy’ has won the Silver Bear grand jury award at the just concluded 71st (virtual) edition of the Berlin International Film Festival.

Express @ Berlinale: Portrait of a mother as a little girl
Fri, Mar 05, 2021

Celine Sciamma’s ‘Petit Maman’ was screened during the virtual edition of the Berlin Film Festival.

Express at Berlinale: Love and companionship in times of social distancing
Thu, Mar 04, 2021

With I’m Your Man and Language Lessons, the Berlin International Film Festival, which is being held virtually this year, puts the focus on intimate bonds that humans need to survive.

Express@Berlinale: Of sex, lies and videotape
Wed, Mar 03, 2021

Romanian filmmaker Radu Jude’s Bad Luck Banging Or Loony Porn is a hard-to-classify, thought-provoking film which opens up space for conversation around so-called taboo subjects.

Express at Berlinale: From A charming Introduction to the haunting Brother’s Keeper
Tue, Mar 02, 2021

After a beguiling ‘Introduction’ to a virtual festival via Hong Saan-soo’s film, Ferit Karahan’s ‘Brother’s Keeper’ is a blast of reality. Here are the films that stood out on the first day of the 71st Berlin International Film Festival.

The Girl On The Train review: Parineeti Chopra film has the subtlety of Shatabadi Express
Sat, Feb 27, 2021

The Girl On The Train review: Overstated writing and choppy contrivances make Parineeti Chopra film go off the rails.

‘Fire in the Mountains’ tells a remarkable story of grit and fortitude
Sat, Feb 20, 2021

The film, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival last month, is a gorgeously-shot, authentic slice of Indian life