Anupama Chopra

Anupama Chopra is the editor and founder of Film Companion.

Articles by Anupama Chopra

French dispatch: Notes from a busy week at Cannes

More than 12,000 people are at the festival this year. It’s a breath of fresh air amid the pandemic, and a reminder that cinema remains our constant, says Anupama Chopra.

Crowds ring a red carpet at Cannes as Viola Davis, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Elle Fanning, Eva Longoria and Katherine Langford arrive at a premiere. (AFP)
Updated on May 20, 2022 04:37 PM IST

Bollywood is learning about the perils of vanity, says Anupama Chopra

It started with artists buying the spotlight, then believing they‘d earned it. The level of delusion and hubris tends to be proportional to the mediocrity of the work. Meanwhile, films from the South continue to top Hindi charts and set new records.

Tiger Shroff in Heropanti 2. The film has opened to a lacklustre response, even as the dubbed-in-Hindi Kannada movie KGF: Chapter 2 continues to rake it in.
Updated on May 07, 2022 01:07 PM IST

It’s too much testosterone. Take it down a notch, say Anupama Chopra

KGF: Chapter 2, RRR, Pushpa: The Rise, Sooryavanshi... I hope the hyper-masculine heroes of recent hits, bashing and bathed in blood, don’t become the new industry standard, Chopra says.

Allu Arjun in Pushpa: The Rise. “Pushpa isn’t a flower. It is fire,” he says in the film.
Updated on Apr 22, 2022 02:51 PM IST

Bollywood could do with some of Rajamouli’s secret sauce: Anupama Chopra on RRR

There is a ferociousness and flamboyance to the filmmaker’s vision that the Hindi film industry needs more of. He doesn’t rest on past glory; there’s effort in every frame, Chopra says.

NTR Jr and Ram Charan in RRR, a film about a friendship between two freedom fighters in the 1920s.
Updated on Apr 08, 2022 04:07 PM IST

Drive My Car: Japan’s first film up for a Best Picture Oscar is exquisite

The movie explores the bond between a widower and the woman hired to drive him around Hiroshima. 'It's a quietly devastating meditation on grief. Make time for it,' says Anupama Chopra.

Drive My Car, starring Hidetoshi Nishijima and Toko Miura, is based on a short story by Haruki Murakami.
Updated on Mar 26, 2022 05:19 PM IST

Sanjay Leela Bhansali a rare auteur still true to his roots, says Anupama Chopra

His latest film, Gangubai Kathiawadi, celebrates elements of Hindi cinema that are at risk of being lost.

Alia Bhatt in the song Dholida. Bhansali stages songs like set-piece highlights, Chopra says.
Updated on Mar 12, 2022 04:37 PM IST

And the Oscar may go to... Bhutan, says Anupama Chopra

Pawo Choyning Dorji’s debut Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom is a tender portrait of a country and people in transition

The protagonist Ugyen, seen here with the titular yak, dreams of migrating to Australia and becoming a singer.
Updated on Feb 26, 2022 03:47 PM IST

Finally, a new age dawns for the Indian actress, says Anupama Chopra

It’s thrilling to see streaming platforms treat age an asset to be celebrated, rather than something to be camouflaged, and to see stories created for women across varied age groups.

‘The love affair between the camera and us has gone on for a very long time. All that’s left to prove now is how many different roles you can handle,’ says Madhuri Dixit, seen here in her upcoming streaming show, The Fame Game.
Updated on Feb 11, 2022 10:16 PM IST

Mix it up; cinemas can’t thrive on a single flavour, says Anupama Chopra

Stories that are urban, high-concept and mid-budget should not be destined for streaming alone. They deserve to be seen on big screens too.

Taapsee Pannu’s new film, Looop Lapeta, based on the action thriller Run Lola Run, is being released on Netflix on February 4. Shakun Batra’s Gehraiyaan is headed for a direct-to-streaming release too. ‘I hope this demarcation between films fit for theatres and films fit for streaming doesn’t become the norm,’ says Anupama Chopra.
Updated on Jan 29, 2022 12:51 PM IST

Why masala movies from the south are storming the Hindi box office

Dubbed versions of films such as Pushpa: The Rise are topping the charts. They’ve got all the elements of the traditional Bollywood blockbuster: gangs, fights, songs, sibling rivalry, love angles. They’re the kind of mass entertainer Bollywood rarely makes anymore, says Anupama Chopra.

Allu Arjun in the Telugu film Pushpa, about the explosive rise of a criminal in the sandalwood smuggling underworld. The dubbed version, released in mid-December, was one of the biggest Hindi hits of 2021.
Updated on Jan 14, 2022 08:43 PM IST

Dream factory: Anupama Chopra’s three wishes for Hindi cinema in the new year

‘May we see more original stories, may our stars learn to be more humble, may we tell tales that speak for us all, in 2022.’

Konkona Sen Sharma is a gay Dalit factory worker and Aditi Rao Hydari is an upper-caste data entry operator, in Neeraj Ghaywan’s Geeli Pucchi. ‘It’s my favourite film of 2021. We need more of that kind of originality and inclusivity in storytelling in the Hindi film industry,’ Chopra says.
Updated on Jan 01, 2022 01:55 PM IST

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? It’s a homegrown superhero!

Minnal Murali starts out in a lungi, with a gamcha for a mask. The made-in-Kerala man of steel is endearing, brash and funny, says Anupama Chopra.

Tovino Thomas in Minnal Murali. Directed by Basil Joseph, this humorous tale of a tailor in Kerala with big dreams, who is struck by lightning and develops superhuman strength, could set a new template for superhero films in India, says Anupama Chopra.
Updated on Dec 18, 2021 07:28 PM IST

Enough of these cheerless warriors in gym-rat bodies, says Anupama Chopra

Too many recent releases have centered on superhuman men bashing and smashing. It’s exhausting to watch, leaves no room for a story, and offers far too little for even the men to do.

Satyameva Jayate 2 features three John Abrahams in some frames (he plays twins, and their father). Perhaps Ayushmann Khurrana will mix things up. He too has a gym-rat body but, in his upcoming Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui, he plays a man who falls in love with a transgender woman (played by Vaani Kapoor).
Updated on Dec 04, 2021 02:47 PM IST

King of spices: The Rohit Shetty paradox

His films serve up masala and thrills, hyper-masculinity and problematic politics. Crores pour in, but the mix is off-balance, says Anupama Chopra.

Rohit Shetty’s Sooryavanshi (Akshay Kumar), Singham (Ajay Devgn) and Simmba (Ranveer Singh) are celebrations of hyper-masculinity.
Updated on Nov 19, 2021 08:09 PM IST

Is full-blown senior citizen romance finally on the cards for Bollywood?

It’s hard to get right, easy to lose the audience. And yet films like Badhaai Ho have shown the way. What will it take to get a Hindi classic in the league of The Bridges of Madison County, asks Anupama Chopra.

Ratna Pathak Shah in Hum Do Hamare Do (2021) and Lipstick Under My Burkha (2016). The former lets its actors down. The latter enables her to evocatively tell a vital tale.
Updated on Nov 05, 2021 10:23 PM IST

Where are Bollywood’s grand, sweeping romances, asks Anupama Chopra

Tales of star-crossed love facing villainous opposition seem to be a thing of the past. The new opponents are much duller: careers, commitment, choices.

In epic films such as Mughal-e-Azam and Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, royalty and family feuds made up the opposition. But surely, even in the age of Tinder, there are such stories to be told?
Updated on Oct 23, 2021 02:25 PM IST

Cue hits: May Bollywood soar and seduce once more, says Anupama Chopra

Theatres are set to reopen in Maharashtra. The deck is already stacked. It’s now up to filmmakers to make these months count.

A slew of release dates has been announced. The Kapil Dev biopic ’83, starring Ranveer Singh, is due out on Christmas; Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Gangubai Kathiawadi will hit theatres on January 6. Prime slots have been booked all the way to January 2023.
Updated on Oct 08, 2021 07:07 PM IST

There are no shortcuts to making great movies, says Anupama Chopra

Anthologies have caught on in the pandemic because they’re easier to execute. But making a short film is a unique talent, and the sad truth is that not even all good filmmakers have it.

(Left to right) Konkona Sen Sharma is a gay Dalit woman in the masterful Geeli Pucchi. Soni Razdan and Vinay Pathak in the unin-spiring Kaali Peeli Tales. Shefali Shah in Juice (2017), a film that still stands out for how keenly it understood the grammar of shorts.
Updated on Sep 25, 2021 03:41 PM IST

Not just a pretty face: Anupama Chopra on the rise of the actor-star

New platforms and changing audiences have finally put talent at centrestage in Bollywood. Stardom today must contain skill.

There’s now room at the top for a wider range of faces and talents, from Samantha Akkineni to Rajkummar Rao, Shweta Tripathi, Fahadh Faasil, Vikrant Massey, Sidharth Malhotra and Rasika Dugal.
Updated on Sep 10, 2021 04:43 PM IST

War movies and the lesson Haqeeqat has taught us: Anupama Chopra

Chetan Anand’s 1964 film can teach today’s blockbusters a thing or two about the price we pay for the battles we pick

A still from the 1964-film Haqeeqat by Chetan Anand starring Dharmendra (left). The film has plenty of patriotic dialogue but the suffering of the soldiers isn’t glossed over.
Updated on Aug 30, 2021 12:28 PM IST

A man for all seasons: Anupama Chopra on Netflix’s Ted Sarandos

The streaming giant’s co-CEO has been using charm, drive, a massive budget and his discerning eye to showcase voices from around the world. Notes from a recent conversation.

Behind Sarandos’s affable persona is an astute mind that fostered early successes such as House of Cards (2013), the cult hit Bojack Horseman (2014) and last year’s Bridgerton.
Updated on Jul 31, 2021 03:22 PM IST

Star wars: The perils of being a movie critic

Too often, the tensions between critic and talent now play out in public. A review isn’t personal, why should the backlash be?

Taapsee Pannu and Vikrant Massey in Haseen Dillruba. Pannu responded with harsh adjectives to uncomplimentary reviews of the film.
Updated on Jul 17, 2021 01:09 PM IST

Perhaps Clubhouse can help Bollywood keep it real, says Anupama Chopra

The audio-only, invitation-only app could be the antidote to the film world’s PR-managed and airbrushed publicity content.

Konkona Sen Sharma, Tara Sharma and Sandhya Mridul in the 2005 film Page 3, on the trials and perils of entertainment journalism. Social media would soon change the game. Now, Clubhouse and the pandemic are forcing Bollywood to rethink publicity strategy all over again.
Updated on Jul 02, 2021 07:36 PM IST

The pandemic is a fitness test for the movie business, says Anupama Chopra

Can Bollywood reinvent itself, learn from those who have survived and thrived in this time, and emerge better, stronger?

Lagaan, released 20 years ago, still represents much that is good about Hindi cinema: effort, talent, storytelling. This year’s Radhe, on the other hand, shows why stars need to work to a story rather than the other way around.
Updated on Jun 18, 2021 10:14 PM IST

It’s time for the Golden Globes to step out of the bubble, says Anupama Chopra

The awards are too White, too arbitrary, too much of a closed club. Next year’s bash is being boycotted even by Hollywood.

Lily Collins in Emily in Paris, which received two Golden Globe nominations. Michaela Coel in I May Destroy You, which got none. The awards are being criticised for, among other things, routinely nominating critically panned shows like the former while ignoring worthier contenders.
Updated on May 29, 2021 12:59 PM IST

Oh Bhai! Where’s the Salman we knew, asks Anupama Chopra

This is a man whose stardom just doesn’t fade and whose fans remain as frenzied as ever. So why has he stopped trying?

A still from Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai. It’s the same thing all over again — fight scenes, shirtless scenes, a plot that’s devoid of logic and coherence.
Updated on May 14, 2021 10:26 PM IST

Fond flashback: One year on, Anupama Chopra remembers Irrfan

His life taught us to navigate death. In the honest note that he brought to each character, we found our better selves.

“Remember it always. Remember that you and I made this journey and went together to a place where there was nowhere left to go:” Irrfan as Ashoke Ganguli, to his son Gogol, in The Namesake (2007). (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Updated on Apr 30, 2021 04:40 PM IST

Behind the scenes, where there’s drama, there’s comedy: Anupama Chopra on Call My Agent!

The French series satirised celebrity, laid bare all the backstabbing in service of the art. It will be missed, says Chopra.

An added attraction on Call My Agent! were the guest appearances by French cinema’s A-listers, including Juliette Binoche. An Indian version is now in the works. (France 2)
Published on Apr 16, 2021 05:44 PM IST

The stars look very different today: Anupama Chopra on changing cinemascapes

It’s a treat to see gifted actors flourish outside the blockbuster ecosystem, through stunning tales told in non-Hindi languages, Chopra says.

Fahadh Faasil in the new Netflix thriller Irul. These artists don’t chase the leading-man stereotypes of six-pack abs and styled beauty. They command the frame with presence and talent. And that is real stardom.
Updated on Apr 04, 2021 10:03 PM IST

Dark hall, bright future: Anupama Chopra on the return of moviegoing

At the screening of the first major Hindi film to be released in the pandemic, viewers kept their masks on and were excited to be back. A look at what has changed, and what should.

Rajkummar Rao and Janhvi Kapoor in Roohi. She plays a small-town girl who also happens, occasionally, to be a fearsome chudail. The film has performed better than expected. “But my enthusiasm waned as the film descended into tedium — despite the strenuous efforts of its lead actors,” Chopra says.
Updated on Mar 20, 2021 05:56 PM IST
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