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Siraj Syed


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Siraj Syed is the India Correspondent for FilmFestivals.com and a member of FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics.
Festival Correspondent, Film-critic, Feature-writer.


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Tom Alter: Actor, Cricketer, Urdu lover and Caucasian

Tom Alter: Actor, Cricketer, Urdu lover and Caucasian Unlikely combination of professions and hobbies for a man named Thomas Beach Alter, who hailed from a family of American missionaries. His acting abilities were never in doubt, and the barest accent betrayed his ethnicity. But his skin and hair distinguished him from other Indian co-actors quite noticeably, and he had to be content with parts showing him as a British colonial or modern day baddie. There were occasions when he was made to s...

Poster Boys, Review by Siraj Syed: The Half Monty

Poster Boys, Review by Siraj Syed: The Half Monty Actor Shreyas Talpade’s directorial debut vehicle Poster Boys is a remake of his Marathi hit, Poshter Boyz. It also carries an elaborate scene towards the climax which reminds you of the British cult movie, The Full Monty (1997), wherein three unemployed men decide to strip on stage to earn some much needed money. Well, an Indian movie has a chance and a half of pulling off such show of skin on screen, either sex, so they decided to meet...

Sameer, Review by Siraj Syed: State of terror

Sameer, Review by Siraj Syed: State of terror Bomb blasts, attributed to extremist groups, have occurred in India time and again, particularly in the last 25 years, causing several deaths and injuries every time. In most cases, the accused and the sentenced men both belong to India’s minority community of Muslims, which fact has fuelled false beliefs that all bomb blasts are the work of Muslims, and that almost all, if not all Muslims are terrorists. Sameer chooses this sensitive theme,...

Dead on Arrival, Review by Siraj Syed: Sex, corruption and corpses

Dead on Arrival, Review by Siraj Syed: Sex, corruption and corpses A pharmaceutical sales representative is driving when he has a seizure and barely manages to stop his car and crawl out. Picked-up by a Sheriff on patrol and taken to a hospital, he is told that he has been poisoned and will die in the next 24 hours. Time to realise that you are just two minutes into the film, when the stage is already set for a noir thriller that is inspired by the 1950 classic but speaks the cinematic langua...

Logan Lucky, Review by Siraj Syed: How to steal millions, with a prosthetic arm and a limp leg

Logan Lucky, Review by Siraj Syed: How to steal millions, with a prosthetic arm and a limp leg After Christopher Nolan wowed audiences with Dunkirk, his friend Steven Soderbergh crafts a never-never heist, with no weapons and unbelievable tools, master-minded by a limping, laid off construction worker, and his one-armed bartender brother. Logan Lucky, not to be confused with the world of werewolves, is a delightfully detailed film that bears many of Soderbergh’s trade-mark touches, and ...

An Inconvenient Sequel-Truth to Power, Review by Siraj Syed: Global warning

  Former American Vice-President Al Gore says in the film, “In order to address the environmental crisis, we're going to have to spend some time fixing the democracy crisis.” Unless there is a significant democratic will, both in the USA and the rest of the world, a disaster of epic proportions is waiting to happen, is the message, loud and clear. Gore continues his crusade against global warming by making a second film, An Inconvenient Sequel-Truth to Power, to follow up...

Game of Thrones content leak: India’s Prime Focus issues statement

Game of Thrones content leak: India’s Prime Focus issues statement I have received the following communication today, 16 August 2017, in Mumbai, by email STATEMENT FROM PRIME FOCUS TECHNOLOGIES Mumbai, India (August 15, 2017) - On August 4, 2017, a link to view Episode 4 of Season 7 of Game of Thrones, bearing a Star India (TV network operators, distribution partners of HBO in India) watermark, appeared online, three days before its airdate, as an outcome of an illegal breach of oblig...

Toilet—Ek Prem Katha, Review by Siraj Syed: Loo and behold!

Toilet—Ek Prem Katha, Review by Siraj Syed: Loo and behold! There is no point getting revolted by the title. Any fear that the film might have ‘dirty’ scenes can be laid to rest by the realisation that we have a robust Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) that sanitises every film before release. And almost every Indian knows that the current Prime Minister launched a campaign two-and-a-half years ago, to ensure that millions of villages and small towns in rural India ...

Atomic Blonde, Review by Siraj Syed: Blonde, Lorraine Blonde

Atomic Blonde, Review by Siraj Syed: Blonde, Lorraine Blonde “Bond, James Bond” is the most famous self-introduction in spy movie history, courtesy Sean Connery playing Ian Fleming’s Cold War time British secret agent 007. Fifty-five years on, Charlize Theron has picked a graphic novel by Anthony Johnston to invent herself as Lorraine (blonde) Broughton, the present day ‘equivalent’ of not only Bond, but John Wick and Jason Bourne, with a dash of Mad Max, severel...

French star Jeanne Moreau no more

French star Jeanne Moreau no more Jeanne Moreau has died at her Paris home today, aged 89. She leaves behind a legacy of memorable films, including classic vehicles of Louis Malle and François Truffaut. Born to a French restaurateur father (Anatole Moreau) and English cabaret dancer mother (Katherine Buckley) on 23 January 1928 at Paris, she studied at Collège Edgar-Quinet and Conservatoire National d’Art Dramatique. In 1948, she became an actress with Comédie Fran&...

Dunkirk, Review by Siraj Syed: 300,000 stranded soldiers--Between certain death and uncertain rescue, a movie to cling on to

Dunkirk, Review by Siraj Syed: 300,000 stranded soldiers--Between certain death and uncertain rescue, a movie to cling on to It really happened. Give or take a few details, it really happened. Between 300,000 and 400,000 British troops were evacuated by British vessels from a beach in Dunkirk, France, in May 1940, amidst German submarine and aerial attacks. Dunkirk, the movie, is a visual roller-coaster on land, sea and air, where thrills are interwoven with chills, and dizzy heights blend wit...

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, Review by Siraj Syed: Mind-boggling 2,734 VFX shots in 136 mins

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, Review by Siraj Syed: Mind-boggling 2,734 VFX shots in 136 mins French director Luc Besson has made the most expensive French/European film ever. It is also the most expensive independent film, at about $200 million. From initial responses, it looks like the film will fall far short of recovering its cost, and that will be a pity. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets adds a new, fresh feel to the sci-fi, interplanetary, inter-galactic, alien...

“Film is the most regulated medium in India”—Uday Singh, MD, Motion Picture Distributors’ Association

“Film is the most regulated medium in India”—Uday Singh, MD, Motion Picture Distributors’ Association Copyright, intellectual property and piracy issues were discussed at the one-day conference on Copyright and the Creative Economy, organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), in association with Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP). Interactive sessions were held at the Sofitel Hotel, Mumbai, on 21st July, wherein th...

Fox Star India CEO Vijay Singh calls films a ‘recession proof’ industry: FICCI Conference on Copyright and the Creative Economy

Fox Star India CEO Vijay Singh calls films a ‘recession proof’ industry: FICCI Conference on Copyright and the Creative Economy A day-long conference was held on 21 July, Friday, on the subject of Copyright and the Creative Economy, at the Sofitel Hotel, Mumbai. It was organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), a Delhi-based apex body, in association with Government of India’s Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP). Singh ...

Iconic horror film-maker, of the Living Dead fame, Romero dies at 77

Iconic horror film-maker, of the Living Dead fame, Romero dies at 77 Often called the father or progenitor of the modern zombie movie, American film director George A. Romero has died of lung cancer, in Toronto. He was 77. George A. Romero passed away on Sunday July 16, listening to the score of The Quiet Man, one of his all-time favorite films, with his wife, Suzanne Desrocher Romero, and daughter, Tina Romero at his side. He died peacefully in his sleep. Born in The Bronx, to a Cuban-born ...

Actor Martin Landau, Oscar-winner at 66, dies, aged 89

Actor Martin Landau, Oscar-winner at 66, dies, aged 89 Martin Landau, who landed his first and only Oscar in 1994, at age 66, playing Bela Lugosi in the Ed Wood biopic, has died, aged 89. He is also well-remembered as the star of the Mission: Impossible TV series (1966-69). Starting his career in 1959, he had been nominated for the Academy Award twice before, for Tucker: The Man and His Dream (Francis Ford Coppola, 1988) and Crimes and Misdemeanours (Woody Allen, 1989). Brooklyn-born Landau ...

War for the Planet of the Apes, Review: Ape-o-calypse now

War for the Planet of the Apes, Review: Ape-o-calypse now Apes riding horses, wielding rifles, and their leader being an English speaking specimen called Caesar is not enough for the makers of this third instalment of the series—they keep stretching your suspension of disbelief every minute, till they lead you to an apocalypse of a climax, perhaps believing that the word ‘war’ in the title has to be taken very, very seriously. Along the way, the War for the Planet of the Ape...

The Black Prince who walked the Red Carpet at Cannes

The Black Prince who walked the Red Carpet at Cannes Very little is known about Maharaja Duleep Singh, the last Maharaja of Punjab with his capital at Lahore, who is said to have gifted the invaluable Koh-i-Noor diamond to Queen Victoria, while a young boy. Time and again, a lobby is raised in India to try and get it back from Britain, only to fizzle out. Dalip Singh remains an enigmatic figure, a missing chapter from India’s colonial history. All that is set to change with oncoming rel...

Spiderman: Homecoming, Review by Siraj Syed: The Age of Coming

Spiderman: Homecoming, Review by Siraj Syed: The Age of Coming This tale of and by (the opening credits say so) Peter Parker is just a shade slower than Transformers 5, which means it is crack-neck, if not break-neck. Nevertheless, that’s some relief. Looks like it is the trend now, and this is what comic/superhero films are going to be all about—hundreds of rapid fire cuts and thousands of barely discernible special effects, all adding up to a good two-and-a half hours or thereab...

Transformers-The Last Knight, Review by Siraj Syed: Michael’s Bay Watch

Transformers-The Last Knight, Review by Siraj Syed: Michael’s Bay Watch A lot of words related to media get either entirely new meanings or stretch their known meanings to the limit and beyond, once you have watched Michael Bay’s Transformers. It is far too tempting to let the last Knight remain as it is, without getting punny. I saw the film last Night (Wednesday late afternoon, to be precise), and I often felt that last Night was never going to end. It eventually did, and exiti...

Hired Gun, Review by Siraj Syed: Meet the unsung heroes of top music bands

Hired Gun, Review by Siraj Syed: Meet the unsung heroes of top music bands Michael Jackson, Bon Jovi, PINK, Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne, Alice Cooper and Billy Joel are bands and acts that were the rage of their times. Each notched-up success after success, chartbuster following chartbuster. Supporting the bandleader/lead-singer in their pop/rock/heavy metal gigs and recordings were dozens of backing musicians, who often got credit on the records, but not always. There are many unsung heroes wh...

Sony Announces Next Gen CineAlta 36x24mm Full-Frame Motion Picture Camera System

Sony Announces Next Gen CineAlta 36x24mm Full-Frame Motion Picture Camera System This latest addition to the CineAlta family is being developed through careful research and close collaboration with creative professionals, including directors, cinematographers and digital imaging technicians. Features required by them demonstrate Sony’s commitment for innovation and creative freedom, for feature film-making and drama productions. Technology Highlights and Key Benefits •  ...

Cars 3, Review by Siraj Syed: Car-actor roles

Cars 3, Review by Siraj Syed: Car-actor roles Imagine this. You are a fading racing veteran and suddenly you lose a race to a rookie? What do you do? Seek professional help and training, even dig out your late mentor’s buddies and have a go at the next race. Now imagine all these characters are cars, not human beings, and you know you are watching the new Disney-Pixar enterprise dubbed Cars 3. It’s as human as human can be, but then again, it is as automobiley as automobiley can g...

Phullu, Review by Siraj Syed: Misleading title, taboo subject, tenacious treatment

Phullu, Review by Siraj Syed: Misleading title, taboo subject, tenacious treatment This is a good example of a film named after its lead character, with no regard for audiences’ perception of what it might stand for, and no clue about the storyline. The word is not a corruption of phool (flower), though it could well be an attempt to synthesise phool with ullu (owl; figuratively, a fool). We can go with the assumption that they intended to call him the flower fool, Phullu. Phullu is ab...

Idyabooster offers film and TV rights for Indian and foreign, children and adult content

Idyabooster offers film and TV rights for Indian and foreign, children and adult content Idyabooster Advisors Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai, a media and entertainment company, is offering films and TV serial rights for purchase, under their Digibooster label. Their latest catalogue includes the following five titles: Guillermina Y Candelario (2017) Project Type: Animation Series  Language: Spanish  Genre: Animation / Children No. of episodes: 71 episodes (22 minutes each) Available ...

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About Siraj Syed

Syed Siraj
(Siraj Associates)

Siraj Syed is a film-critic since 1970 and a Former President of the Freelance Film Journalists' Combine of India.

He is the India Correspondent of FilmFestivals.com and a member of FIPRESCI, the international Federation of Film Critics, Munich, Germany

Siraj Syed has contributed over 1,015 articles on cinema, international film festivals, conventions, exhibitions, etc., most recently, at IFFI (Goa), MIFF (Mumbai), MFF/MAMI (Mumbai) and CommunicAsia (Singapore). He often edits film festival daily bulletins.

He is also an actor and a dubbing artiste. Further, he has been teaching media, acting and dubbing at over 30 institutes in India and Singapore, since 1984.


Bandra West, Mumbai

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