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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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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...

A Bad Moms Christmas, review: Santa is a stripper

A Bad Moms Christmas, review: Santa is a stripper They don’t bother giving any back-stories, and none are needed in this sequel to the 2016 outing. Christmas and Bad Mom specialists (Bad Dads is coming) Jon Lucas and Scott Moore team-up once again to debrief what Christmas and happiness is all about, and span it across three generations of American families. A Bad Moms Christmas peppers its script with a dozen stereo-types, and then proceeds to revel in ripping them apart, in the most i...

IFFI Goa 2017, II: The Countdown has begun, but who is counting?

IFFI Goa 2017, II: The Countdown has begun, but who is counting? Hitherto, the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) was organised by the Directorate of Film Festivals (DFF), Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB), Central Government of India (all in New Delhi), in collaboration with various other Ministry units. The media relations were handled solely by the Press Information Bureau (PIB). When the annual event moved to Goa and set base there, a special body was created by the ...

IFFI Goa 2017, I: Delegate Registrations and Committees

IFFI Goa 2017, I: Delegate Registrations and Committees International Film Festival of India (IFFI) 2017 will be held in Panaji Goa, from the 20th to the 28th November. It has been held annually in the tourist haven since 2005. Registrations are open till November 10, on https://my.iffigoa.org/ IFFI’s has grown from 23 participating countries in 1952, to 100 countries in 2017. Three main committees spearhead the organisation of the effectively nine day event: The Preview (selection) C...

Mumbai Film Festival: Pot luck and glam game

Mumbai Film Festival: Pot luck and glam game MFF, run by Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI), is among four Indian film festivals recognised by FIAPF ((Fédération Internationale des Associations de Producteurs de Films/International Federation of Film Producers Associations), which is based in Paris and has its Secretariat in Brussels. International Film Festival of India (IFFI, Goa) is the only one recognised as certified for International Competition. Kolkata and Thiruvanant...

Ajji, Review: Gran finalé

Ajji, Review: Gran finalé Enough of laurels for acclaimed shorts like Taandav, Aglee Baar, Absent, and the largely unknown feature, Oonga. It was time for Devashish Makhija to push the limits hard, and make a shocker that would provoke the critics into hot debate, and leave the masses, if and as and when they get to see it, cringing and stunned. In Ajji (Granny/Marathi title, though the film is in Hindi), as in most films that emanate from and belong to a genre, content dictates form....

Best of Luck, Laalu: Satire on education ‘merit’ game has merit, take-aways

Best of Luck, Laalu: Satire on education ‘merit’ game has merit, take-aways His name is Laalu Modi, but the moniker is not an amalgam of two veteran politicians from the Indian arena, Laalu Prasad Yadav and Narendra Modi. At least not obviously so. The film’s protagonist is Laalu, son of late Devesh and Bank Cashier Daksha, and grandson of Haresh Modi. All the Best, Lalu begins in flashback, as Lalu retraces incidents and developments in the last two years in his life, even ...

Ranchi Diaries: Nothing to write about

Ranchi Diaries: Nothing to write about Some films make you wonder whether their makers have any friends at all, for if they did have any well-wishers, why did they not speak-up and give some honest feedback during the making? You do not need to be a critic to conclude that a film like Ranchi Diaries is terribly flawed, though critics might tell you what are the things patently wrong with it: no coherent screenplay, false Bhojpuri accents, totally exaggerated and over-the-top dialogue, no resp...

Thor-Ragnarok: Of hammers and horns, Avengers and Revengers

Thor-Ragnarok: Of hammers and horns, Avengers and Revengers Add humour. Suspended in mid space inside a trap-net by the fire demon Surtur, Thor asks a fellow prisoner how long has he been there. Pans out the fellow has already turned into a skeleton by this time, and, on hearing Thor’s query, his jaw (bone) drops off, literally. That’s the first scene, and the first laugh. After a marathon bout as gladiators in a cosmic arena, Thor and Hulk are freshening up, and Hulk comes out of...

MAMI’s 19th Mumbai Film Festival, 12-18 November: Eleven brief reviews

MAMI’s 19th Mumbai Film Festival, 12-18 November: Eleven brief reviews April’s Daughter-Mexico(World Premiere)-Michel Franco Story of an immoral mother and her two daughters, one of who becomes pregnant at 17, this is really adult content, though more in terms of theme than skin show or sex. A single mother out to steal her own daughter’s baby as well as her lover is a theme not many would tackle. Co-producer, writer and director Franco leaves the ending open, and suitably ...

mother!, review: The allegory category

mother!, review: The allegory category Darren Aronofsky’s reputation precedes him, as milling crowds at Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI)’s 19th Mumbai Film Festival (MFF) bore testimony. Every show was packed to capacity and it was only at 10.30 pm on the last day of the festival that I could get to see mother!, thanks to the consideration shown by an event manager earlier in the day. Any director who has names like Black Swan and Noah on his portfolio is bound to generate hi...

MAMI’s 19th Mumbai Film Festival, 12-18 November: The Winners

MAMI’s 19th Mumbai Film Festival, 12-18 November: The Winners Indian category Golden Gateway award, Oxfam Best Film for Gender Quality award and Young Critics Choice award: Village Rockstars Silver Gateway award: Machines Grand Jury prize: In the Shadows Special mention: Up, Down and Sideways, and S(exy) Durga International category Golden Gateway: Summer 1993, Spain Silver Gateway: Quest, USA Grand Jury: The Wound, South Africa-Germany-France Special Mentions: Scary Mother, ...

MAMI’s 19th Mumbai Film Festival, 12-18 November, Mumbai: Many good films, no masterpieces

MAMI’s 19th Mumbai Film Festival, 12-18 November, Mumbai: Many good films, no masterpieces Overview of the films, seen and unseen. *Mukkabaaz-India-Anurag Kashyap: Inaugural film, inaccessible to me. Anurag Kashyap is a much-acclaimed film-maker and a member of the Board of Trustees of Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI). India Gold section *Checkmate-India-Ektara Collective: Good feature film debut of independent collective: *** (film still above). *Granny (Ajji): India-Devashi...

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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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