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Siraj Syed

Siraj Syed is the India Correspondent for 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. He is also an acting and dialogue coach. 



Aneek Chaudhuri’s Malayalam film Katti Nrittam in Marche du film, Cannes 2020

Aneek Chaudhuri’s Malayalam film Katti Nrittam in Marche du film, Cannes 2020

Katti Nrittam is a modern-day adaptation of Mahabharata, where a major part of the shooting took place in Kolkata. In December 2019, the film’s script got included in the OSCARS’ Margaret Herrick Library, where Aneek’s previous film Cactus is also a part.

This year, Festival de Cannes will be held on a virtual platform and is taking place from June 22-26, 2020. Most importantly, most of the sections of the reputed festival have also got cancelled.

Katti Nrittam, meaning the Knife Dance, is a melancholic sociopath thriller; a part is also loosely based on an O. Henry’s short story. The film tells the tale of a failed Kathakali dancer who is on a killing spree. The wildness is somehow neutralised by a mundane foreground, which narrates a complex tale of a love quadrilateral.

The film casts Rahul Sreenivasan, Rukmini Sircar (Meta Award winner from NSD), Sabuj Bardhhan, Anuska Chakraborty and Aritra Sengupta in important roles. In this film, the dark side of Hindu Deities has been portrayed.

Aneek’s previous three feature-length films, The Wife’s Letter, White and Cactus, were screened at Cannes, and also got globally awarded multiple times.

On making a move to Malayalam films, the Bengali film-maker said, "Malayalam films of this age have left a tremendous impact on me. Or, you can also say that they are far ahead of contemporary Bengali Cinema. Moreover, post 2011, cinema in Kerala has taken a deviated turn for the better."

He adds, "Malayali traditions are something that I have always looked forward to. People do find a lot of similarities between the two (Bengali and Malayali traditions and cultures), but I think Malayalis are more grounded and less pretentious. And my last visit to Kalamandalam, back in 2018, had inspired me to write a story revolving around Kathakali dancers; eventually, I decided to turn it into a film. That's how it happened"

On inclusion in Cannes, the director says, “I always look forward to Cannes every year. However, this year, it does not hold the same charm with the COVID issue hovering. But, even virtually, as proposed, we are going to have a lot of important networking, producers’ meets, and that is all Cannes is about. This is indeed a good opportunity for the team to explore a lot of opportunities, as Cannes opens up to a vast area of global networking and often, it takes your breath away. However, this time it is a bit different for me, in terms of vernacular as well. I am representing Malayalam Cinema, and am proud to represent any part of Indian Cinema, as long I am alive. We are so looking forward to it.”

The film is scheduled to release in theatres later in 2020, after making festival rounds around the globe


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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 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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