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Siraj Syed



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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Shashi Kapoors don’t die: Part I

Shashi Kapoors don’t die: Part I Showbiz is often cruel, usually ruthless. It takes so many factors to make it as an actor, luck or lineage included. Then, you need to stay on, weather flops and hits, and keep grabbing opportunities, in the hope that the next one will do it for you. Son of Prithviraj Kapoor, Balbir (Shashi) Raj Kapoor had done his bit of drama at his Papajee’s Prithvi Theatre, like his two older brothers (Ranbir) Raj Kapoor and Shamsher (Shammi) Raj Kapoor. They h...

Mark Felt--The Man Who Brought Down the White House, Review: Clearing Deep Throat

Mark Felt--The Man Who Brought Down the White House, Review: Clearing Deep Throat After John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, at age 46, which remains an unresolved conspiracy 53 years later, there was another political event that pinned dirty political tricks on President Richard Nixon around the time of his re-election, and he had to resign soon after being re-elected, in 1974. The Watergate exposé was published by two journalists of the Washington Post and one from Time Mag...

Daddy’s Home 2, Review: Audience’s at home too

Daddy’s Home 2, Review: Audience’s at home too When you can count twelve credited parts, and five of them are children, you might yourself arithmetically challenged. For relief, the film is titled Daddy’s Home 2, which, thankfully, does not make you look for your abacus. But you do realise that in this case, 2 is 1 too many. Okay, so we will make no comparisons to the first outing a couple of years ago, and accept that in part II, as in Chapter I, the two Daddies are going t...

Anna Karenina-Istoriya Vronskogo, Review: ‘Vronsky’s story’ does no justice to Tolstoy

Anna Karenina-Istoriya Vronskogo, Review: ‘Vronsky’s story’ does no justice to Tolstoy “If the world could write by itself, it would write like Tolstoy"—Russian author Isaak Babel. Not being an authority on Leo Tolstoy’s writings of over 100 years ago, I cannot give my views on this rather sweeping statement. But after seeing the latest interpretation of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina in Russian/dubbed and sub-titled in English, a mini-TV series turned...

IFFI Goa 2017, XVIII: 55 years of Bondage

IFFI Goa 2017, XVIII: 55 years of Bondage A thousand eyebrows were raised at the inclusion of a James Bond package in the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) Goa 2017. This was a first retrospect/tribute dedicated to a fictional character, the British MI6 spy who first appeared on screen in 1962. It was hotly debated whether the idea had any merit, considering retrospectives were hitherto confined to directors and countries. As many as nine Bond capers were screened, and at the cost ...

IFFI Goa 2017, XV: UnSeen Durga and the Nude that nobody saw

IFFI Goa 2017, XV: UnSeen Durga and the Nude that nobody saw Among the many controversies and shake-ups that IFFI Goa 2107, one concerns the exclusion of two Indian films from the Indian Panorama. S*** Durga (name altered under instructions from the Central Board of Film Certification) and Nude. Durga was made by a Keralite director in Kerala while Nude is a Marathi film. The former uses Durga only as an allegory and there is no reference to the deity, while the latter is a docu-feature on th...

Shashi Kapoor gone? What a huge loss!

Shashi Kapoor gone? What a huge loss! Nine years ago, the Pune International Film Festival honoured Shashi Kapoor with a Life-time Achievement Award. He had already suffered a stroke and could only mumble, yet his presence lit up the auditorium. I felt privileged to have contributed his profile to the official brochure of the festival, but a tear ran down my cheek as he was given the award. As the news of his passing away came in an hour ago, I felt deeply distraught. We had worked together i...

IFFI Goa 2017, XVII: Films and ratings

IFFI Goa 2017, XVII: Films and ratings For the first time in many years, I decided not to write while the festival was on, and catch-up on as many films as possible. Of course, I did attend two Open Forums and two dinners, but that was about all that kept me away from watching movies. That, and my inability to wake-up early enough to catch the morning screenings. Here’s a brief description of the films I managed to catch, and their ratings on a scale of 0-*****. A few were insufferable...

IFFI Goa 2017, XVI: Self regulation is very important for documentary film-makers

*In quoting me, the word creditability has been used. 'Credibility' is the correct word.  *The clubbing of Films Division in the same quote is out of context as FD does not post news on social media. *Mike Pandey's Green Oscar winning film is titled Shores of Silence, not Whale Shark Hunting, as the report says. Incidentally, Mike Pandey is the President of the Indian Documentary Producers' Association and a former Chairman of the IFFI Steering Committee. (This writer t...

IFFI Goa 2017, XIV: Open Forum: 'Social media an enabler, not competitor for documentary filmmaking'

IFFI Goa 2017, XIV: Open Forum: 'Social media an enabler, not competitor for documentary filmmaking' Panellists, however, added a caveat that the authenticity of videos needs to be verified as they have the potential to create social unrest. 27 Nov 2017 12:57 IST The Open Forum organised by IDPA (Independent* Documentary Producers' Association) on Sunday, 26 November, was the topic, 'Crowding the social media: Is documentary only source of genuine information?'  &nb...

IFFI Goa 2017, XIII: Open Forum-Film personalities rue abuse of technology

IFFI Goa 2017, XIII: Open Forum-Film personalities rue abuse of technology 26 Nov 2017 06:59 IST By Blessy Chettiar The Indian Documentary Producers’ Association organised its first Open Forum this year at the 48th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Panaji, Goa. The topic — Are actors losing control due to changing technologies? — was passionately debated by French filmmaker Pierre Assouline, former senior producer of Doordarshan Syam GK, Odia film Khyanikaa...

IFFI Goa 2017, XII: Winners’ List, and a few regrets

IFFI Goa 2017, XII: Winners’ List, and a few regrets It was an evening of regret. At the closing ceremony of the 48th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), which concluded in Panaji, Goa on November 28, six films/directors made it to the top, of which I had seen only 30% of one, the only one to win two prizes. Why I did not see the others, and why only 30% of a particular one will be explained below. But first, the LIST. Films  (In absentia) 1. Morocco-born French Directo...

IFFI Goa 2017, XI: International Competition to feature 3 Indian entries and 12 country premieres

IFFI Goa 2017, XI: International Competition to feature 3 Indian entries and 12 country premieres Village Rockstars, the mouse that roared, the sleeper that rocked the Mumbai Film Festival and the International Children’s Film Festival of India, a few weeks ago is one of the entries selected for the International Competition section of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), Goa, November 20-28. Iran’s A Man of Integrity, winner of the Un Certain Regard prize at Cannes th...

IFFI Goa 2017, X: Big names, big awards

IFFI Goa 2017, X: Big names, big awards Two days before the curtain is opens on the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), the Press Information Bureau (PIB) has issued a release listing the highlights of the annual festival. Here’s lowdown: 195 films from over 82 countries will be shown, of which there will be 10 World Premierès, 10 Asian and International premierès and over 64 Indian premierès as part of the Official programme. It was also announced that w...

Bose Dead or Alive: Rajkummar Rao in thriller take on Indian freedom fighter

Bose Dead or Alive: Rajkummar Rao in thriller take on Indian freedom fighter If you were a patriot and freedom seeker in the British colonial India of the 1920s-1940s, you either believed in non-violent struggle, a movement led by ‘Mahatma’ Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi or the increasingly violent approach of ‘Netaji’ Subhas Chandra Bose. Mahatma means great soul and Netaji translates as leader. Both belonged to the Congress party, but when Bose called for armed struggle,...

Tumhari Sulu, review: BALAN sing act

Tumhari Sulu, review: BALAN sing act An aspiring film-maker was driving back from work one night in Mumbai and caught a late night phone-in show on local FM radio. That’s all it took. His launch feature had been shelved and he needed another project to make the million dollar move, from ad and promo films to the big screen. The writer in him got cracking, working backwards, from the sexy female voice on the speaker to a peppy house-wife alter ego of the self same. The man’s name i...

IFFI Goa 2017, IX: TV Sponsorship package still open

IFFI Goa 2017, IX: TV Sponsorship package still open National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) on its home page has listed the following Proposal as the No. 1 item under News. It invites proposals for sponsorship of TV coverage of the 48th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), Goa, November 2017. Event Details:              • Ground Event: IFFI at Panjim Goa from 20thto 28th November 2017.    ...

IFFI Goa 2017, VIII: Message of Sunit Tandon, Festival Director

IFFI Goa 2017, VIII: Message of Sunit Tandon, Festival Director In the run-up to the International Film Festival of India, Panaji, Goa, November 20-28, I continue to monitor the news and developments. Here’s one link I found: http://iffigoa.org/indian-cinema-catalogue-2017/ At the bottom is a button called Download. When you click on it, you get: Sorry! Page not Found Back To Home However, on the second link, found right next to the above link, http://iffigoa.org/international-cin...

IFFI Goa 2017, VII: Pablo César’s film on Tagore to close IFFI 2017

IFFI Goa 2017, VII: Pablo César’s film on Tagore to close IFFI 2017  Head of the Indian Panorama Selection Jury, eminent director of raved films like Kahaani, Sujoy Ghosh, did not like the turn the selection saga was taking, and has decided to disassociate himself with this decision. The gesture is merely symbolic, as the selection process has long been completed and the festival screenings of Panorama Films will begin on 21st November, less than seven days from now. No...

IFFI Goa 2017, VI: Sexy Durga and Nude--two films you will not see

IFFI Goa 2017, VI: Sexy Durga and Nude--two films you will not see Since the first screening as a work in progress film in the NFDC Film Bazaar, held in Goa, 2016, Sexy Durga (Malayalam) received good reviews from the viewers. Also talked about ever since it was launched was the Marathi film, Nude. Both were selected by the selections juries to be shown at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) Goa 2017, which begins in a week from now. Both have since been removed from the list, an...

MIFF 2018, I: Last call for entries

MIFF 2018, I: Last call for entries Last date for sending entries to the 15th Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF) for Documentaries, Shorts and Animation Films is fast approaching: November 15. The biennial festival began in 1990 and is organised by the Films Division of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. It will be held during January 28-February 03, 2018. International Film Competition Eligibility - Films made in India or abroad, between 01 September...

IFFI Goa 2017, V: Majidi’s Made in India ‘Beyond the Clouds’ is opening film

IFFI Goa 2017, V: Majidi’s Made in India ‘Beyond the Clouds’ is opening film Oscar-nominated Iranian director Majid Majidi (Children of Heaven, The Colour of Paradise) a favourite among Indian cine-buffs, will show his Made in India film at the 48th. International Film Festival of India (IFFI), Goa. It will be the opening film, also marking its Indian première, on 20 November. Malavika Mohanan stars in the film, which marks the debut of Ishaan Khatter. This was confir...

IFFI Goa 2017, IV: No Director, no Jt. Director, but the Indian film lists are out

IFFI Goa 2017, IV: No Director, no Jt. Director, but the Indian film lists are out Press Information Bureau (PIB), Mumbai, is largely invested with managing the media at International Film Festival of India (IFFI). Their home page has the following address: http://pibmumbai.gov.in/# On this home page, you are greeted with a pop up about the government’s cleanliness drive. Click on the cross at the top right hand corner there, and the pop-up closes. Now you are led to a site whose addr...

IFFI Goa 2017, III: Three organisations, two lists and we are still clueless

IFFI Goa 2017, III: Three organisations, two lists and we are still clueless Attempts at getting any current information about the organising or the content of the 48th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), 20-28 November, 2017, Panaji, Goa, have met with no success. In this context, the confirmation of my accreditation (and I hope that of many others qualifying journalists, critics and photographers who had applied) has been received by email, a month after applying. That said, here i...

My Little Pony-The Movie, review: Rainbow in her pony tail

My Little Pony-The Movie, review: Rainbow in her pony tail Featuring the universe of the 1986 debut, My Little Pony: The Movie, the 2017 franchise, takes us back to the good old world of traditional animation, which is a rarity in the days of VFX, CGI and Motion Capture. A veritable feast of colours and dream architecture keep you enchanted and entranced for 99 minutes, and it matters little that the series is a spin-off from Equestrian Girls, a Hasbro Toys venture, targeted at, who else? You...

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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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