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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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American Horizon on the Indian Kshitij, a month away from release

American Horizon on the Indian Kshitij, a month away from release Rare indeed. A Mumbai-based film professional named Navroz Prasla (no, not the Parsee or Irani Navroz, but a Khoja community member) moves to Houston, USA  and sets up a media and event company, gets interested in a Marathi story, and produces an all Marathi cast and crew film called Kshitij (A Horizon), the only non-Maharashtrian being Oscar-winning Sound Designer, Resul Pookutty. The film is now complete, and the PR age...

Turkey--key country at Mumbai Film Festival, by Siraj Syed

(Ms. Alin Taşçiyan-President Fipresci, Ambassador of Turkey to India--H.E. Mr. Burak Akçapar and Leading Actor--Mr. Ali Sarp Levendoğlu) Turkey--key country at Mumbai Film Festival, by Siraj Syed ‘Zabaan-e-yaar-e-man Turkey, va man Turkey na mee daanam’ went a duet in the Hindi film Ek Musafir Ek Haseena, made in the late 50s/early 60s. The lines are not in Turkish, but Farsee (Persian), and translate as ‘My love(r)’s language is Turkish, and I do not ...

Siraj Syed on 18th Mumbai Film Festival: Godless, Madly, Red Turtle meets Barakah

Siraj Syed on 18th MFF: Godless, Madly, Red Turtle meets Barakah Far from catching up on film viewing shortfall, I could see fewer films in the second half of the 18th Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival (MFF) with STAR. It was a deadly combination of several factors: Tickets sold out, no luck with walk-ins, inability to wake up early, traffic jams and unavoidably long travel times, the desire to attend two or three non-screening events, the choice of some films over others shown at the same or alm...

MAMI’s 18th MFF schedule had gaping holes

MAMI’s 18th MFF schedule had gaping holes Multiple venues spread far and wide, across the Western and Eastern, Southern and Northern tips of the linear city of Mumbai meant that persons living in those areas where the cinemas are located would have easier access to them and would save a lot of time commuting. If we measure the distances between the farthest separations, it could take 2 ½ to 3 hours for a passenger to reach the corresponding venue. Include return travel, and you a...

Siraj Syed reviews Shivaay: She: Vaay? He: Vaay not?

Siraj Syed reviews Shivaay: She: Vaay? He: Vaay not? Shivaay is a balanced film, in a convoluted kind of way. There is a germ of a story and there is major plagiarism of tracks from both Hollywood and Indian films. There is breath-taking action and there are pointless stunts. There is high proficiency acting and there is insult to talent. There is a small component of genuine humour and a large dose of unintentionally silly moments. There is organic unity in the screenplay when you match the ...

MAMI inaugural screening: 104-minute wait for 104-minute film

MAMI inaugural screening: 104-minute wait for 104-minute film Organisers of the Jio MAMI’s 18th Mumbai Film Festival (MFF) with STAR chose actress Konkona Sen-Sharma’s directorial debut film, A Death in the Gunj as the opening film. In a continually perplexing schedule, the opening film, for the last couple of years, is not screened on the opening day, and not even at the inaugural venue. This year, the inauguration ceremony was held at the restored Opera House cinema. Located at...

Siraj Syed on how Jack Reacher 2: Never Go Back keeps running helter-skelter

Siraj Syed on how Jack Reacher 2: Never Go Back keeps running helter-skelter Produced by Tom Cruise himself, this second edition of the ex Military Police (MP) Major Jack Reacher (Cruise)’s exploits has three other actors in key roles: Cobie Smulders plays Virginia Military Police Susan Turner (the new head of Reacher’s former unit), Danika Yarosh co-stars as the 15 year-old, who (as the movie’s synopsis gets you to guess) may or may not be Reacher’s daughter. And ther...

Le Reve in race against time for Jio MAMI’s 18th Mumbai FF with Star

Le Reve in race against time for Jio MAMI’s 18th Mumbai FF with Star A dream name alright: Le Reve. But beating the clock might be proving a nightmare to the workers who are preparing this renovated single screen cinema to be ready in time for the first screening on Friday morning. That is when Jio MAMI’s 18th Mumbai Film Festival (MFF) with Star kicks off a cross a multitude of theatres. Le Reve is the only one in the upmarket Bandra suburb of West Mumbai, which is now more an ex...

Bobby Sarma Baruah requests you to see her film The Golden Wing at Jio MAMI FF

Bobby Sarma Baruah requests you to see her film The Golden Wing at Jio MAMI FF “My 86-minute film on the legendary folk singer Pratima Baruah Pandey is being screened at the 18th Jio MAMI Film Festival with STAR. There will be two screenings, the first one on 23rd October, at 10.30 am at the PVR Phoenix multiplex and the second on the 26th, at 7.30 pm, at PVR ECX multiplex. Do try and catch it,” she says, on the line from Guwahati, Assam. Of course, she will attend the festival he...

India’s tiny northern neighbour Bhutan at Jio MAMI’s 18th Mumbai FF with Star

India’s tiny northern neighbour Bhutan at Jio MAMI’s 18th Mumbai FF with Star A nine-member Bhutanese delegation, led by Dasho Karma W Penjor, Honourable Secretary of Ministry of Information and Communications, will participate in the Mumbai. Other members will include important members of Department of Information and Media, and members from the Bhutan Film Association. Bhutan is known as ‘The Land of the Thunder Dragon’ at the Festival. Supported by governme...

Baahubali 2: The Conclusion, First Look at 18th Jio MAMI Film Festival with STAR

Baahubali 2: The Conclusion, First Look at 18th Jio MAMI Film Festival with STAR After watching the National Award winning film Baahubali, everyone was left with the same question, “Why did Kattappa kill Baahubali?” They had to wait for the sequel to get the answer. Or else head for the Jio MAMI Movie Mela (fair) with Star, which is two days dedicated to popular Indian cinema. One of the major highlights there is the first look of Baahubali 2: The Conclusion, which will be showcas...

Restored Pak-Indo classic dropped from Jio MAMI’s 18th Mumbai Film Festival with STAR

Faiz  Restored Pak-Indo classic dropped from Jio MAMI’s 18th Mumbai Film Festival with STAR At Jio MAMI’s 18th Mumbai Film Festival with STAR, which kicks off in two days’ time, of particular interest to film historians and cineastes in general was the Pakistani film, Jago Hua Savera (Day Shall Dawn). It was the only film from that country to find place in the programme. The inclusion sparked off controversy in the wake of hostilities along the border and several promin...

Man with the Binoculars makes it to Tallinn & MAMI

by Siraj Syed Assam-born Rima Das’s first feature, Man with the Binoculars, which was screened at Cannes in the Marche (Market) du Film section on May 18, finds its place in the programmes of two prestigious festivals in successive months. First, it is the Jio MAMI Mumbai International Film Festival with STAR, which starts this week, and then it will be part of Tallinn’s Black Nights 20th year. The Man with the Binoculars is Rima Das' tender and poignant slice-of-life debut ...

Films to be screened at Jio MAMI’s Mumbai Film Festival with STAR, 2016, Mumbai, October 20-27

Films to be screened at Jio MAMI’s Mumbai Film Festival with STAR, 2016, Mumbai, October 20-27 Venues PVR Icon, Versova, Andheri (Western suburb) PVR ECX, Andheri PVR Phoenix, Lower Parel (Central Mumbai) PVR Phoenix Market City, Kurla (Eastern suburb) PVR Nirmal Lifestyle, Mulund (Eastern suburb) Le Reve (former Globus), Bandra West (earlier Western city limit, now part of city) Regal Cinema, Colaba (South Mumbai, one of the oldest single screen cinemas of the city)   Com...

Siraj Syed reviews Beiimaan Love: Bed bet

Siraj Syed reviews Beiimaan Love: Bed bet It’s as old as the hills: rich brat leads a virtuous-but-sexy woman down the garden path, discards her like a soiled tissue, roles get reversed, hunter becomes prey, exploited heroine strikes back, lays out an elaborate game-plan, and ‘vengeance is mine’. Would you make a film on this theme with a former porn-star in the central role and her current husband as her comrade-in-arms? Not if you weighed the odds. Yes if you felt that tho...

Siraj Syed reviews Fuddu: Fuddy Duddy Cuddy in the Nuddy

Siraj Syed reviews Fuddu: Fuddy Duddy Cuddy in the Nuddy You wouldn’t use this f word if you called yourself a gentleman. In their wisdom, the makers of this misbegotten enterprise have named it Fuddu. Heaven knows why. I cannot recall even one occasion in the film when the word as mouthed, probably because the locale is Mumbai and the characters are all from Varanasi, where the culture is anything but Punjabi. Some Punjabis, and maybe Delhi-ites, who revel in the use of colourful langu...

CommunicAsia 2016: Processing 5.2 GB/sec--Huawei leads innovation

CommunicAsia 2016: Processing 5.2 Gb/sec--Huawei leads innovation   At the Asia ICT Innovation Forum 2016 organised by Singapore Exhibition Services, and Huawei, as the strategic partner, attended by over 500 regional ministerial representatives, internationally renowned economists and global industry thought leaders and professionals, Huawei outlined its roadmap to accelerate ICT transformation to enable more people in Asia Pacific to reap the benefits of ICT and move tow...

Siraj Syed previews POW: 17 Years a Slave

Imagine this: You decide to adapt an Israeli prisoner of war drama for Indian television audiences, and a few weeks before you are scheduled to go on air, there are serious engagements along the country’s border! What is a tragedy for the families of the soldiers killed in action may transform into large scale interest in the serial. POW (Bandi Yuddh Ke, in Hindi, a literal translation) is a STARPLUS production, based on the Israeli hit, Hatufim (literally ‘kidnapped’), writt...

Siraj Syed reviews Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children: Ymbrynes and the Deadly Hollows

Siraj Syed reviews Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children: Ymbrynes and the Deadly Hollows Bookish and Burtonish, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children scores on many counts: good casting, wide span, consistent allegorical references and even pace. In print, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children has sold millions of copies, been translated into 40 languages, and has spent more than two years on the New York Times best-seller list. It has also been named one of...

Siraj Syed reviews Tutak Tutak Tutiya: Horromedyance

Siraj Syed reviews Tutak Tutak Tutiya: Horromedyance What binds the Tutak Tutak Tutiya team is their south Indian connection. Most of the actors are either native to the lower regions of the country or got their breaks in films made there, before moving to their base to Mumbai. In addition, the story and direction are also credited to names that live there. It is a tri-lingual film though, milking the opportunity, and hoping to kill three birds with one stone. So, you have Devi in Tamil and A...

Siraj Syed reviews The Queen of Katwe: Chess champion comes from Ugandan slums

Siraj Syed reviews The Queen of Katwe: Chess champion comes from Ugandan slums Madina Nalwanga, the Ugandan teenager who plays the titular role in The Queen of Katwe, was asked after the red carpet at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) what she would like to do next. She replied, “I want to go back to school. And I want to continue with acting and also dancing.” Madina’s native tongue is Luganda, and she had to work very hard to speak the English required for the...

Features, shorts and documentaries, all screenplays welcome; 5 prizes in each category: By Siraj Syed

Features, shorts and documentaries, all screenplays welcome; 5 prizes in each category: By Siraj Syed Nil Production in New York opens a call for its second, top-level international screenwriting competition for feature films, short films and documentaries, in association with Albanian Film Week & Art for Human Rights. The theme of the screenplays should be about freedom and human rights. It is the brainchild of Mrika Krasniqi, from Kosovo, who was honoured as the “Woman of...

Promise of high resolution and high storage at BroadcastAsia 2016

Promise of high resolution and high storage at BroadcastAsia 2016 At BroadcastAsia2016 in Singapore, earlier this year, Promise Technology showcases its enhanced portfolio of products for professionals creating high resolution video and rich media content. It also demonstrated a range of solutions that bring blazing speed to the entire rich media workflow, from ingest and editing, to delivery and long term archiving. Highlights of Promise’s display included new solutions built around t...

CommunicAsia 2016 exhibitor Lightware appoints Abhishek Bajpai RM Mumbai

CommunicAsia 2016 exhibitor Lightware appoints Abhishek Bajpai RM Mumbai Lightware recently announced the appointment of Abhishek Bajpai as Regional Manager, to oversee strategy and field sales operations in Western India Region. Abhishek will play a key role in maximising growth opportunities in West and oversee Lightware’s investments in Mumbai, deepen Lightware’s engagements on the Region, and scale Lightware’s work across different markets. "Mumbai is a strategic mar...

Cobham showcased award-winning SAILOR 60 GX at CommunicAsia 2016

Cobham showcased award-winning SAILOR 60 GX at CommunicAsia 2016 Cobham, a global organisation with a wide range of aerospace and defence capabilities, with more than 80 years in business, displayed a range of flexible solutions, both commercial off the shelf or niche/specialist products at CommunicAsia 2016, Singapore. Cobham SATCOM division · GX Offering – Cobham SATCOM’s established EXPLORER 5075GX terminal for land users and SAILOR 100 GX for ships, is joined by ...

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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.


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