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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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Ghostbusters-Answer the Call, Review: Making the ghost of it

Ghostbusters-Answer the Call, Review: Making the ghost of it Sequel? No. Remake? Well, almost. The term going around is re-boot. Thirty years after the first ghost was busted, we have a new version, where the male protagonists are replaced by females, the female by a male, several of the original cast are invited to do cameos and the original writers/director are given all due credit It’s a joy-ride that is slow to take off, but grows on you, almost like the gargantuan balloon of a ghos...

NYIFF-G5A Film Festival, Closing film, A Far Afternoon: One from the art

NYIFF-G5A Film Festival, Closing film, A Far Afternoon: One from the art There must be something about painting genius and longevity. Not only do their works live for centuries, many of the masters themselves live relatively long lives, and are often active, even in their 90s. While watching A Far Afternoon-A Painted Saga, the 2014 documentary on painter Krishen Khanna, by Sruti Harihara Subramaniam, the closing film at the NYIFF-G5A Film Society Film Festival, one was stunned to find that Kr...

NYIFF-G5A Film Festival Reviews, U Turn: Highway is my way

NYIFF-G5A Film Festival Reviews, U Turn: Highway is my way In many ways, the choice of U Turn as the penultimate screening of the NYIFF-G5A Film Society’s Film Festival, the first ever Mumbai edition of the annual event, held 7,793.27 miles/12,560 km/16 hours flying time away, was a U Turn, compared to the kind of films they had been showing for the four preceding weeks. Symbolically, the idea of the festival is itself a U Turn, since all the films are Indian, sourced from NYIFF. Coal t...

Star Trek Beyond, Review: Nebulous Enterprise

Star Trek Beyond, Review: Nebulous Enterprise On TV, Star Trek was conceived in 1966, as a weekly NBC series, running for three seasons. Graduation to the big screen was logical. Since 1979, we have had a dozen treks so far, and here comes the 13th Enterprise, marking the golden jubilee year, and spelling the end of star-billed Starship Enterprise, its literal destruction. The film is disruptive in plot, personal in dramatisation and modest in special effects. Three years after its five-year...

NYIFF-G5A Film Festival Reviews, The Threshold: I’ll take your leave

  NYIFF-G5A Film Festival Reviews, The Threshold: I’ll take your leave A good old joke goes like this: An ideal marriage is one wherein two people become one. The problems arise when they want to decide which one. It goes without saying that marriage is no joke, and two people can never really become one. I have seen a couple that was telepathically on the same wave-length and usually spoke the same words in unison, without any previous arrangement to this end, go through a bit...

NYIFF-G5A Film Festival Reviews, Kadambari: Platonic tonic and poetic injustice

NYIFF-G5A Film Festival Reviews, Kadambari: Platonic tonic and poetic injustice Literally, ‘of/from the Kadamba tree’, the word kadambari (kaadambari in Hindi and kaadambori in Bengali) lends itself to many meanings. The most ancient reference to this work is as an intricate romantic novel, in Sanskrit. Several films have been made with this title, including some in Hindi. This one is about a real-life character called Kadambari, who was the sister-in-law of India’s literary...

Great Grand Masti, Review: Grate Bland Cesti

Great Grand Masti, Review: Grate Bland Cesti Amar, Meet and Prem. "Amar, meet Prem!" Penilty corner, Penil interest, Penilti-mate Riteish Deshmukh, Vivek Oberoi, Aftab Shivdasani. Sapna, Rekha, Nisha. Dream-Line-Night. Pooja Bose, Mishti, Shraddha Das. Mother-in-law, Sister-in-law. Shrew-brew-slew, Three into two won’t do. Usha Nadkarni, Kangna Sharma. Antakshari Baba, Babu Rangeela. Ba ba black sheep, D.K. Prose; Cock-a-doodle-doo, Of all the animals in the zoo. S...

G5A-NYIFF Film Festival Reviews: Daaravtha (Marathi for Threshold)

G5A-NYIFF Film Festival Reviews: Daaravtha (Marathi for Threshold) Here’s one more winner screened at ongoing the G5A-NYIFF Film Festival: Best Debut Film of a Director at the 63rd National Film Awards in the Non Feature Film category. It’s a 30-minute short fiction, a coming of age and discovering homosexuality parallelism, that pieces together real-life experiences of several gay men into a sensitive collage. If it does not make you sit up and applaud, while impressing you with ...

Reviews, G5A-NYIFF screenings: Agli Baar, Absent, El’ Ayichi

Reviews, G5A-NYIFF screenings: Agli Baar, Absent, El’ Ayichi Devashish Makhija is a Kolkata boy who was so shattered by his mother’s death that he got on to a Mumbai-bound train, in an unreserved compartment, and has been living here since. After a stint in advertising and after assisting debutant director Anurag Kashyap on Black Friday, he decided to go solo. Black Friday was about the Mumbai blasts and was stuck with the censors for years. But for an unreleased Oonga, all his e...

CommunicAsia 2016: Huawei’s Cloud Communication journey, and debut

CommunicAsia 2016: Huawei’s Cloud Communication journey, and debut Founded in 1987, Huawei is a Chinese multi-national, headquartered in Shenzhen. At CommunicAsia 2016, in Singapore, Huawei made its debut in the field of Cloud Communication, an E2E communication solution for Personal, Home, Enterprise, and Vertical use. Cloud Communication helps operators implement network evolution, service innovation, and business model transformation by means of all cloud, full openness, and redefined ...

Lightware opens China Operations Center

Lightware opens China Operations Center Lightware Visual Engineering Limited, the Budapest, Hungary  based manufacturer of professional digital video and audio signal management solutions for DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort, 3G-SDI, HDBaseT, fiber, caters to the needs of the Corporate, Hospitality, Medical, Military, Education, and Live Events markets. The inventor of digital matrix switching, Lightware entered China to provide world-class video switching for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games openin...

CommunicAsia 2016: Accelerate Digitisation--Building a Better Connected World

CommunicAsia 2016: Accelerate Digitisation--Building a Better Connected World  By Alan Marcus, Head, ICT Agenda In this article, Alan Marcus, Head of ICT Agenda, Member of Management Committee, World Economic Forum, and Speaker, Asia ICT Innovation Forum 2016, at CommunicAsia, shares his thoughts on some of these changing dynamics, as well as rule-making opportunities in the digital world. Rapid advancements in digital technology are redefining society. The plummeting cost of advanced ...

Reviews, G5A-NYIFF screenings: Velutha Rathrikal (White Nights)

Reviews, G5A-NYIFF screenings: Velutha Rathrikal (White Nights) Inclement weather (read incessant rains) and no means of transport deprived me of the opportunity to catch-up on For the Love of a Man, screened on 28th June, as part of the G5A-NYIFF film festival, currently underway at the Foundation’s Black Box, located in a creatively designed facility in an erstwhile industrial estate, close to the iconic Famous Mahalaxmi studio and office complex. Earlier in the year, I had seen only ...

The Legend of Tarzan, Review: Gorillas in the Midst

The Legend of Tarzan, Review: Gorillas in the Midst Remember the immortal lines, “Me Tarzan, you Jane”?  Now try this, "He's Tarzan, you're Jane. He'll come for you," says her captor to Jane. He sure will. He’s been coming on to the screen for the last 98 years, in 41 movie and 57 TV outings. Adds up to 98 again. The Legend of Tarzan, preceding the character’s on-screen centenary by a whisker, is a slightly over-written exercise, without too ...

Patil-Dayal’s say all: Producer-director Mrunalinni wants her daughter back

Patil-Dayal’s say all: Producer-director Mrunalinni wants her daughter back After living on the edge for nine years, Mrunalinni has gone to the police, called a press conference and met a lawyer, all in the past week, to complain about mental and physical torture and death threats, by her separated husband, actor-producer Amitabhh Dayal. They have one son, Shivam, and a daughter, Amruta. Amruta is the source of Patil’s grave concern—she has accused Dayal of exposing Amruta t...

Independence Day-Resurgence, Review: Anniversaries and aliens

Independence Day-Resurgence, Review: Anniversaries and aliens It takes four presidents of the USA to battle a here and now alien invasion—five if you count the first one, in 1996--but the battle is not over yet. German director Roland Emmerich, who gave us the original Independence Day, agreed to helm Independence Day-Resurgence, despite being a self-confessed sequel sceptic. Now, since the end has been left open, he might even return for a trequel or a prequel. However, if they do make...

Reviews, G5A-NYIFF screenings: Highway, Ek Selfie Aar Paar & Cities of Sleep

Reviews, G5A-NYIFF screenings: Highway, Ek Selfie Aar Paar & Cities of Sleep If you’ve missed these two, you have missed a lot. While the former is fiction of the first order, treated in a documentary style, made by a trained and acclaimed young director the latter is a near feature-length documentary that explores a killer topic, and is enlivened by some remarkable central characters. G5A Film Festival is indeed lucky to have such impactful films to flag off its month-long screeni...

NYIFF package comes to India

NYIFF package comes to India Like “Nasa”, they pronounce the acronym “Nyiff/nife”. And it is indeed ‘nice’ that a selection of films shown at NYIFF 2016 is being screened in Mumbai, during 21 June-21 July. It took the dedicated efforts of a team led by architect/interior designer/film producer Anuradha Parikh’s G5A Foundation for Contemporary Culture to make it happen. With a warehouse, a forum, a ‘citylab’, a film society, a co-presenter...

CommunicAsia 2016, Preview 4: Smart OTT is the new normal

CommunicAsia 2016, Preview 4: Smart OTT is the new normal (BroadcastAsia2016 exhibitor, Peter Löfling, Director, Asia Pacific from Edgeware AB, who has been with the company since 2008, shares his predictions and imperatives for the broadcasting industry, in 2016. Löfling is based out of HongKong and has been in the IT industry for 22 years. Broadcast Asia2016 is part of CommunicAsia 2016, being held during 31 May-03 June, at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore) “Living in an on-dema...

Alice through the Looking Glass, Review: It’s Hatter Time

Alice through the Looking Glass, Review: It’s Hatter Time When the Mad Hatter meets Alice in Lewis Carroll’s first book, he says, “I’ve been stuck at this tea party since last March, when Time and I quarrelled.” Now, bring in the fertile imagination of a writer and a director, and you have created a brand new character, Time himself, worked out in great detail, and playing a pivotal part. Alice, Hatter, Time, Iracebeth, Hamish...Alice through the Looking Glass is...

Waiting, Review: Coma dilemma

Waiting, Review: Coma dilemma Death is the only inevitable reality in life. It is also ‘the end’ that leaves the deceased at ‘eternal peace’, or at least at no risk of further physical or mental trauma, while family, friends and others who knew him/her, cope with the loss in a variety of ways. While it can be argued that some people cope with the event more objectively, the vast majority suffer great pain, even shock, of a magnitude that does not quite compare with any...

CommunicAsia 2016, Preview 2: Broadband

CommunicAsia 2016, Preview 2: Broadband CommunicAsia 2016, Preview 2: Broadband Latest broadband technology and devices will be on display at CommunicAsia 2016. Some of them are worlwide or Asia launches, and include: ACRS2.5 is world's first 802.22 and 802.11x integrated TV White Space device. It provides excellent wireless connectivity due to UHF propagation characteristic and cognitive radio feature. ACRS2.5 simplifies the network infrastructure in providing last mile per...

CommunicAsia 2016, Preview, 3: Cyber Security

CommunicAsia 2016, Preview, 3: Cyber Security According to the 2015 Breach Level Index1, there were almost 900 data breaches internationally resulting in close to 246 million records being compromised. Visit CommunicAsia2016 to source for solutions that will help you maintain and grow your company's reputation and bottom line as a telecommunication operator. Why are Security & Cyber-Security important? *To hedge against the possible threats with the deployment of SDN. *For updating...

CommunicAsia 2016 Preview 1: Internet of Things (IoT)

CommunicAsia 2016 Preview 1: Internet of Things (IoT) During CommunicAsia 2016, Singapore, 31 May-02 June, one key area of interest is going to be the Internet of Things (IoT). 2016 Key Topics include • Architecting Internet of Things - Uncovering Case Studies and Challenges towards Delivery • Enhancing Security and Privacy While Managing IoT Data Generation in Enterprises • IoT Integration and Resultant Data Analytics for Smarter Cities • Developing User Define...

X Men-Apocalypse, Review: X-Men, Ex X-Men, ‘To be’ X-Men, and the 4 Horsemen

X Men-Apocalypse, Review: X-Men, Ex X-Men, ‘To be’ X-Men, and the 4 Horsemen In the ninth instalment of the X-Man Marvel comics’ series, we are confronted with a devil incarnate villain who lived thousands of years ago in Egypt, and surfaces in the civilised world of 1983. Nobody grovels at his feat in this eon, so he takes great umbrage. He is able to learn English by listening to a TV broadcast just once (if only he would share that technology/software with us humans), and...

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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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