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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. He is a Film Festival Correspondent since 1976, Film-critic since 1969 and a Feature-writer since 1970. 

 

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MTV’s Date to Remember: End is near, my Dear Exs and eXs, so step on the accelerator

Afreen MTV’s Date to Remember: End is near, my Dear Exs and eXs, so step on the accelerator MTV’s popular show ‘Date to Remember’ is nearing the end of its seasonal and things are getting complicated. There are fights, new love stories, and fresh grouping of the contestants. It all started with the nail-biting suspense at the elimination stage in the last episode. This week, we would only see it going a step further. Some contestants are in the danger zone already, i...

CommunicAsia 2018, 03: Telos Infinity IP Intercom at InfoComm

CommunicAsia 2018, 03: Telos Infinity IP Intercom at InfoComm Award-winning Telos Infinity™ IP Intercom will be featured at InfoComm 2018, which is part of CommunicAsia 2018. This has been described as the AoIP solution that ‘changes everything’. At booth # C713you will experience the first product in a new series of Telos Infinity solutions that provide infinite scalability and increased functionality in a simplified, cost effective, and more elegant form, for distributed...

CommunicAsia 2018, 02: Brainstorm to showcase its graphics and virtual set range at BroadcastAsia

CommunicAsia 2018, 02: Brainstorm to showcase its graphics and virtual set range at BroadcastAsia If you come down to booth 4P-01 at the Broadcast Asia segment of CommunicAsia, you will find Spain's Brainstorm, a leading manufacturer of real-time 3D graphics and virtual studio solutions. They will be showing the latest enhancements for high-end and hyper-realistic content, creation using virtual sets, Augmented Reality and data-driven graphics. The company will showcase a photo-realistic...

Jurassic World-A Fallen Kingdom: Tyrannosaurus, Baryonyx, Indoraptor, Pterosaurs Carnotaurus, Mosaurus, Thesaurus and some human

Jurassic World-A Fallen Kingdom: Tyrannosaurus, Baryonyx, Indoraptor, Pterosaurs Carnotaurus, Mosaurus, Thesaurus and some humans You’ve got to give it to them. Since the film is about dinosaurs, they filled the screen with myriad variations on the thematic anima/bird. Problem is, they all do almost the same thing, except with the handler, and that too when he pretends to be sad. The ‘same thing’ is making ferocious calls, and then getting into the seek-and-destroy anything ...

Stars sparkle for World Environment Day in Mumbai

Aditi Govitrikar and Asif Bhamla Stars sparkle for World Environment Day in Mumbai Sparkles Diamond Jewellery joined hands with Bhamla Foundation to observe World Environment Day on June 05. Present on the occasion were actors Tanisha Mukerji, Sidhhant Kapoor (son of Shakti Kapoor), Aditi Govitrikar, singer composer Armaan Malik and playback singer Shaan (real-name Shantanu Mukherjee). Shaan and Tanisha Sparkles Diamond Jewellery is a brand of Poddar Diamonds Limited and Asif Bhamla is a p...

CommunicAsia 2018, 01: Intro

CommunicAsia 2018, 01: Intro CommunicAsia is back at the Marina Bay Sands and SunTec City, in Singapore. The dates for this edition are June 26, 27, 28. Free shuttle bus services will ply through the day, connecting the two venues. Inspired by the radical changes in the ICT industry, the refreshed CommunicAsia continues to be Asia’s most established and relevant event for industry professionals in the telecommunications sector. It brings together thought-leaders, decision makers, and i...

Dad’s Girl-friend, Play review: Giggles, chuckles and a tear for your tissue

Dad’s Girl-friend, Play review: Giggles, chuckles and a tear for your tissue It’s not as shocking as it seems. Dad’s a widower. He is an acclaimed novelist and the girl- friend is someone who begins as a protégée and ends up being her mentor’s soul-mate. The feelings are completely mutual, but how do they convince author’s daughter and son-in-law about their plans, and how can you choose between your daughter and your girl-friend, who, incidentally,...

फेmous, Review: Nothing famous infamous

फेmous, Review: Nothing famous infamous Some fellow critics, when emerging from the screening of a film that tests your patience and insults your intelligence, often mutter quite audibly, “Why do they make such films?” The context, quite obviously, is not existentialist, as codified by Jean Paul Sartre and other European scholars in the 1930s and 40s. Rather, it is angst that is vented out at being taken for a royal ride. A few of those who have seen such films do not review t...

Goodbye, Philp Roth

Goodbye, Philp Roth A 1969 production, Goodbye Columbus must have reached India at least a couple of years later, as was the norm for all Hollywood films, due to some policy issues that lasted through the 80s. I had turned 18, and the buzz around the film was exciting enough to draw me to the theatre. It was technically Ali MacGraw’s debut as a leading lady. Richard Benjamin, the lead actor, had worked in television, and it was also his big screen debut. I liked its bursting sexuality a...

Parmanu—The Story of Pokhran, Review: More fission, less fusion

Parmanu—The Story of Pokhran, Review: More fission, less fusion India has carried out several nuclear (parmanu is Hindi for nuclear) tests since 1975. Yet, the 1998 experiments in the desert land of Pokharan, near Jaisalmer, have remained the talk of the nation. These were the tests that put India squarely in the nuclear power league. Records of such defence-related activities are usually classified. Unless the makers of Parmanu-The Story of Pokharan, have been allowed privileged access...

Solo: A Star Wars Story, Review: Buccaneer, Chewbacca, the survival axiom and the deadly coaxium

Solo: A Star Wars Story, Review: Buccaneer, Chewbacca, the survival axiom and the deadly coaxium A long time ago (41 years) in a cinema hall far, far away from my home, I saw the first Star Wars film. What are 41 years in a universe where spaceship pilots are 190 years old? While you Chewbacca, let me tell you that the 190 year-old is a Wookie (closer to apes than humans), and that the aspiring pilot and the star of the movie, Han Solo, is played by an actor who is 29 but can easily pass off...

Book Club, Review: Life begins at sexty

Book Club, Review: Life begins at sexty With a combined age of 563 and an average age of 70.4, there’s no way these eight fuddy-duddies are going to do a Fifty Shades of Grey. Well, they did set out to go along that road, but never mind—how about ‘hundred hues of shocking pink’? Just for the record, Fifty Shades of Grey is a 2015 American erotic drama film, directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson, with a screenplay by Kelly Marcel. It was banned in India, for its explicit sex s...

High Jack, Review: Hitting a new low

High Jack, Review: Hitting a new low Several theories come up when you try and analyse what went wrong with a potentially high scoring black comedy. Firstly, it seems to be incomplete, with large chunks either not written at all or left out on the editing table. The second possibility is that the censor board did not take too kindly to a stoner subject and chopped out major scenes. It is also possible that the production worked with a skeletal script and tried to improvise as they went along,...

Angrezi Mein Kehte Hain, Review: Show me that you love me

Angrezi Mein Kehte Hain, Review: Show me that you love me Delhi-born director Harish Vyas makes his Hindi film debut with an adult love story set in Varanasi where the only thing adult about the theme is the fact that the lead actors are husband and wife and gave a grown-up daughter. In fact, the issue it addresses till three quarters of the film has rolled by is the lack of demonstrative love between a conscientious postal clerk and his devoted wife. Enough to keep you curious and sensitised...

Khajoor Pe Atke, Review: Free fall and die hard

Khajoor Pe Atke, Review: Free fall and die hard Ventilator, a Marathi film produced by Hindi actress Priyanka Chopra, became the toast of Maharashtra in late 2016. The story of a family, whose eldest and most beloved member goes into a coma and is put on a medical ventilator a few days before the Ganesh Chaturthi festival celebrations, it won eight major awards. A year-and-a-half later, actor Harsh Chhaya releases Khajoor Pe Atke, his version of a ventilator story. Sadly, while the idiomatic ...

Deadpool 2, Review: Wade a minute

Deadpool 2, Review: Wade a minute Biding his time as a terminal cancer patient, Wade Wilson trades his soul to Ajax in exchange for dear life, and as a man who came back from the dead, he becomes your Deadpool. Now, back in the States, where they find the alliteration in Wade Wilson funny, guess what they must be making of a super-powered contract killer (NO! He’s no hero!) called Deadpool! Deadpool 2 is no film, it’s a trip. There are fights and weapons galore, villains and vill...

Hope Aur Hum, Review: Hoping against hope

Hope Aur Hum, Review: Hoping against hope Small-budget indies with clean, wholesome, slice of life content, surface regularly, taking you through bittersweet emotions, sans villains and super-heroes, animation and SFX. You appreciate the effort and admire the commitment. Some go on to win awards and renew your faith in alternate cinema. Some others sink without a trace, unable to match market demands and not measuring up to narrative benchmarks. Still others entertain and engage, raise hopes ...

Raazi, Review: Lying and spying, willing and killing

Raazi, Review: Lying and spying, willing and killing As spy thrillers go, Raazi is, at best, average fare. During the first half, it runs the risk of becoming a pedestrian assemblage of trope followed by trope followed by trope. Then, just in time, the writers and the director took booster shots and shaped out the human dilemma, counterpoising it with murder and mayhem. In scale and mounting, Raazi can pass off as a modest Spielberg vehicle, but the total experience remains just about watchab...

The Past, Review: And this too shall pass

The Past, Review: And this too shall pass Tropes and stereo-tropes, by themselves, do not a horror film make. Yes, the appearing and disappearing humanoids, the moving and rising objects, the possession and dual pitch speech of the living visited by the dead, the exorcists who use religious symbols, etc., are all part of familiar horror genre. And The Past has all of these, in plenty. But to make an effective horror film, you need to either get the mix right or introduce new elements. The Pas...

Monster Hunt 2, Review: Monstrous, preposterous, Wubastrous

Monster Hunt 2, Review: Monstrous, preposterous, Wubastrous Three years ago, a HongKong-Chinese dubbed animation firm in 3D captured the imagination of audiences worldwide. In a mythical land where monsters and humans co-exist, a royal baby born to a mortal father and monster mother became the centre of an epic adventure. It is important to realise that the baby was carried in his ‘womb’ by his father, not his mother. In 2018, when the original is now a Netflix ‘Original&rsq...

Raavan ki Ramayan: Puneet Issar dominates like a colossus

Raavan ki Ramayan: Puneet Issar dominates like a colossus Coconut Theatre and The Films and Theatre Society, staged the play Raavan Ki Ramayan, in two-acts, in Mumbai, on the 5th of May. The venue, Bal Gandharv Rang Mandir, Bandra West, used to be a popular location for rehearsals, and even stagings, back in the 70s and 80s. A couple of years ago, it threw its doors open again to events and plays. The play was revived after one and a half-year with back to back shows, schedules at 5 and 8 pm....

The Bomb, Review: Leaves you ticking

The Bomb, Review: Leaves you ticking Special thanks go to Abhishek Bachchan for the end voice over, but till then, The Bomb is an effortless enactment of a slice of life in the wretched existence of actor Inaamulhaq, a National School of Drama graduate (Filmistaan, Airlift, Jolly LLB 2) who is still waiting for his big break. Haq plays a lower class slum-dweller with a sick son and no job for eight years. The three survive on the salary of his wife (Seema Vats), who works as a maid. Poverty ...

102 Not Out, Review: One run short

102 Not Out, Review: One run short In India, cricket is a religion and most filmgoers will need no explanation about the title of this movie. But for those who are unfamiliar with the game, in India and abroad, this is what the title means: when a batsman scores 102 runs, which is a major landmark, being two more than a hundred, and continues to play after reaching the milestone, he is said to be 102 not out. Now that you got the context, you need to be told that the film has nothing whatsoev...

MTV’s Date to Remember is an Ex Ex Ex rated show

MTV’s Date to Remember is an Ex Ex Ex rated show MTV has brought in a new love-based reality show titled ‘Date to Remember’. Nine male Contestants have participated, with their Girlfriends, but with a Twist. One Present and One Ex-Girlfriend will be there with each male contestant. The list is as follows: 1.       Rubdeet Singh with girlfriend Neel Mishra & ex-girlfriend Savina Savi 2.       Sikandar Khan with...

Omerta, Review: Omer talk

Omerta, Review: Omer talk Alright, Omar, of you insist. His full name is Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh. If you see the film, you will discover that he is a hardcore terrorist who indulged in at least one act of barbaric butchery as well. With a name like that, he has to be a Pakistani or Pakistani sympathiser. Omerta spans the canvas from Bosnia to the hijacking of an Indian Airlines’ plane to the Mumbai terror attacks. The film derives its title from the Italian term for a criminal code of ...

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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

India



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