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

Total Dhamaal movie review: The Indra Kumar directorial is a string of random sequences

Total Dhamaal movie review: The only people who prevent you from strangling yourself is the forever-bickering couple played by Anil Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit.

Gully Boy movie review: This is a film to enjoy

With Murad, Ranveer Singh shows that he can tamp down on his characteristic boisterousness to create something of value, even though sometimes you can see the effort show.

Express at Berlinale 2019 – Day 6: Ahead of the Curve

It’s been high Indian season at the Berlinale 2019, with 10 Indian films programmed across different sections.

Express in Berlin: Portrait of a critic as an artist

A documentary on Pauline Kael sheds light on a cultural icon who left a lasting imprint on the film scene and the craft of criticism

Express at Berlinale 2019 – Day 5: Through the eyes of a critic

What She Said, a documentary on the life and work of film critic Pauline Kael, leads you down many thought-provoking paths, not the least of which is examining the role of the critic in today’s day and age.

2019 Berlin International Film Festival – Day 4: Screaming fans welcome Gully Boy to Berlinale

The Indian Express caught up with the team of upcoming Bollywood film Gully Boy at the ongoing Berlin Film Festival. In a detailed chat, stars of the film Ranveer Singh, Alia Bhatt, filmmaker Zoya Akhtar and producer Ritesh Sidhwani explain what drew them to the project.

The Golden Glove: A 2-hour orgy of blood-lust and depravity

Berlinale Delights with Ondog, but Out Stealing Horses and The Ground Beneath Her Feet are less satisfying.

Express at Berlinale 2019 – Day 3: Wang Quan’an’s Ondog is pure, dazzling cinema

Ondog opens with one of most stunning vistas I’ve seen in a long while: across the vast Mongolian steppes, awash with the changing colour of the skies, lies a naked female body. The murder is not the focal point, though. It’s just a device to allow director Wang Quan’an to gently explore human relationships.

69th Berlin International Film Festival Day 2: From System Crasher to By The Grace Of God

System Crasher is a fascinating but ultimately exhausting portrait of a little girl who has learnt as a baby that the only way to save yourself is to attack.

Express at Berlinale 2019 – Day 2: From System Crasher to By The Grace Of God

Helena Zengel is terrific as Benni: it is a hard thing to do, to pull off a fully dislikeable character and still keep us with her, and Zengel manages it beautifully. But finally the film is a slog. There is no redemptive arc to her, and to the film.

Express At Berlinale 2019 – Day 1: The Kindness Of Strangers speaks of loneliness and isolation

There are millions of Claras and their families fighting to keep up their spirits around the world. Finally, it takes a kind gesture from someone you didn’t know till then, to keep you from disintegrating.

Fasten Your Seat Belt

Stephen King’s latest novella is a tale of courage and infinite grace.

Sarvam Thaala Mayam review: The Rajiv Menon film strikes a chord

Sarvam Thaala Mayam review: The introduction of a Chennai Got Talent type TV contest, one of those programmes which classicists like Venu have sniffed at, becomes the climactic point, and here the film loses some of its perkiness.

Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga movie review: Sonam Kapoor-starrer let down by flaccid writing

Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga movie review: What it comes down to is this: yes, we want to make a progressive film, but we have to show our women getting freed up only after getting male approval-and-help.

Through films, I started living a different reality, says actor-director Nadine Labaki

Lebanese actor-director Nadine Labaki on her Oscar-nominated film Capernaum.

Thackeray movie review: A worshipful home video

Thackeray movie review: Almost every moment in the movie is a death of irony, the biggest of them being that Nawazuddin Siddiqui, an outsider on both counts of community and religion, plays Balasaheb Thackeray.

Manikarnika movie review: Kangana Ranaut owns the period drama

Manikarnika movie review: What keeps us with Manikarnika is Rani Ranaut, who in her best moments, owns her part, the narrative, and the screen.

Soni movie review: Watch it for Vidya Ohlyan and Saloni Batra

Soni movie review: Ivan Ayr’s debut feature stands out by making its lead protagonists women who lead by example. Both Geetika Vidya Ohlyan and Saloni Batra are very good, inhabiting their characters and filling them with real flavour.

Why Cheat India movie review: Disjointed and disappointing

Cheat India movie review: The material is slender and too stretched over two hours, as it goes from engineering-medicine into management, the holy grail.

Bombairiya movie review: A tiresome watch

Bombairiya movie review: This may have started out as A One Day When Bizarre Things Happen and People Collide kind of flick. It ends up as a tiresome exercise in Who What Where When Why, with a Someone Please Tell Me Going On Here writ large on our faces.