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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. 



FICCI FRAMES Fast Track 2022, 01: A comeback of sorts

FICCI FRAMES Fast Track 2022, 01: A comeback of sorts

It was overdue. Usually held in March, it was first postponed at the eleventh hour, and then cancelled. The year was 2020. And everybody remembers what was happening in March 2020. The Ides of March plagued the world in 2021 too, and only relented after March 2022. An eagerly awaited annual event, FICCI FRAMES is the definitive convention of the Media and Entertainment (M & E) Sector of the country. Industry giants assemble, there are panel discussions, and an M & E Annual Report, compiled by an eminent auditing firm (this time Ernst and Young), is released on the occasion. After a hiatus of two years, it returned, albeit in a smaller, Fast Track, package, to its old habitat, the Renaissance Hotel, Powai, Mumbai, which has since become The Westin, on September 27 and 28. Nevertheless, it was a comeback of sorts.

Registration was quick at the conclave, organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), but the proceedings on the first day, and the second too, ran an hour or more behind schedule. In some panel discussions, there was no place to sit, or stand, the halls proving too small for the turnout. This was in spite of the fact the attendees were much smaller in number, compared to earlier, regular FRAMES. A number of young men and women, probably film/media school students, occupied many of the chairs. Encouraging students is a great idea, but surely it cannot be at the cost of media and delegates. On the other hand, some less glamorous sessions had a turnout in single digits, a sure dampener for the spirits of the speakers. A regular feature was seen this year too: the organisers distributed kits only to their favourites, denying some members of the media even the one bag that came as the only souvenir of the event. Of course, it was sponsored by an outside organisation, and FICCI did not have to pay for it, this time Tata Play, but that did not deter them from playing favourites.

Their media invitation listed a galaxy of speakers, including: Sudhir Mungantiwar, Minister of Culture, Government of Maharashtra, Apurva Chandra, Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India, Hon’ble Ms. Justice Prathiba M. Singh, Judge, Delhi High Court. Other key speakers slated to address the two-day event included

•           Mr Saurabh Vijay, Secretary, Cultural Affairs, Govt. of Maharashtra

•           Mr Karan Thapar, Deputy Secretary, DPIIT, Govt. of India

•           Mr Vikram Sahay, Joint Secretary (P&A), Ministry of Information & Broadcasting

•           Ms Priyanka Chaturvedi, Member of Parliament

•           Ms Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, UK

•           Mr Ranveer Singh, Indian Actor

•           Ms Jyoti Deshpande, CEO, Viacom India and Chair-person, FICCI Media &      

            Entertainment Board

•           Ms Monika Panwar, Actor

•           Mr Sparsh Shrivastava, Actor

•           Mr Ayan Mukerji, Film Director

•           Mr Karan Johar, Indian Film-maker

•           Mr Ananth Mahadevan, Actor

•           Mr Paresh Rawal, Actor

•           Mr Adil Hussain, Actor

•           Ms Tannishtha Chatterjee, Actor

•           Mr Madhur Bhandarkar, Filmmaker

•           Ms Tamannaah Bhatia, Indian Actor

•           Mr Arun Chawla, Director General, FICCI

Mr. Apurva Chandra, Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India said, “We will be a $10 trillion economy in next 10 years. We should target that media and entertainment sector should grow to more than 100 billion dollars by 2030.” Mr. Chandra added, “Ministry of Information and Broadcasting will do whatever it takes to support the media and entertainment sector and help it grow.”

Expressing concern over declining number of theatres (it is reported that the number has come down to 8,000 from 12,000), the Secretary said that over the past 5-6 years, the number of theatres has witnessed a decline and we need to reverse this trend. “We will assign the Film Facilitation Office to work with Invest India to come up with a single-window portal for opening theatres, so that more and more theatres can come up and the public gets more avenues to watch films in theatres. We will also work with the states to create a Model Theatre Policy, so that the states can adopt and work on the same.”

Sharing with the industry that AVGC is the future, Mr. Chandra further informed that the Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming and Comics (AVGC) Promotion Task Force constituted by the Ministry of I&B will submit the report within the next 15 days. “We are compiling the reports of the sub-Task Forces, and thereafter we will submit the recommendations and go through the process of adopting the report. AVGC is the next revolution like the IT revolution 20 years back,” he added.

He also shared that the National Centre of Excellence for AVGC is going to be set up in collaboration with the private sector. “We have taken an in-principle decision to set up the AVGC Centre of Excellence in collaboration with the private sector. The Ministry of I&B will function as a catalyst for the upsurge in the media and entertainment industry.”

Ms. Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, UK, which has a sizeable Indian population and is a hub for film and TV shooting) said, “We want to work with the talented and creative people to champion sustainability in the creative industries and the film industry, through investment, and support. We are open for business. We would like to invite you to get involved in our cultural festivals, to attend, but also to partner in the exciting programs of activity.”

“With the strength of the sector in the region, there are huge opportunities for companies from India to partner with our leading companies and invest in the region. The rewards are there for the taking and we will support you every step of the way. We want to deepen our relationship with creative India, attracting more investment from production companies, studios, post-production houses, and VFX companies,” added Ms Brabin.

Actor and Renowned Film Personality Mr. Ranveer Singh said, “Entertainment options have opened up. There are new structures and entertainment. Media is constantly fragmenting, and we are seeing massive changes in entertainment consumption patterns. I believe we’re poised to adapt as we always have, to our rapidly evolving consumer habits.”

“The world has become connected more than ever before and we have the opportunity like never before to showcase our culture, our skills and our talents to the world. This coming decade is going to be the most rapidly changing and dynamic time ever in Indian entertainment.” He added. Ranveer came across as an intellectual, quite the opposite of his general image. This must have been a discovery for many media-persons. During the event, Actor Ranveer Singh was felicitated with FICCI FRAMES Achiever of the Year Award.

Film Producer and director, Mr. Ramesh Sippy, who has been appointed to Head the FICCI Skills Development Committee, said, “As much as pandemic has affected the world, it has brought a whole lot of changes. The OTT platform has got a boom. Now both cinema and the small platforms will perform together in a much bigger way. The digital movement has reached a point where the correction can be made at one place and aired all over.”

FICCI Director General Mr. Arun Chawla said, “We are all aware of India's digital transformation. It has caused the number and importance of online media platforms to rise dramatically. The government has actively supported the media and entertainment industry, particularly through several initiatives to increase digitisation and the creation of a digital communication infrastructure.

Ms. Sumalatha Ambareesh, MP, Member Standing Committee on Communication & IT, an actress and wife of the late superstar Ambareesh; Ms. Priyanka Chaturvedi, MP, Member Standing Committee-Transport, Tourism & Culture, a Mumbai-based woman who is now stationed in New Delhi; Mr. Sanjay Seth, MP, Member Standing Committee on Communication & IT and Mr. Ashish Kulkarni, Founder, Punnaryug & Chair, FICCI AVGC Forum, were also present during the event.

Above is a snapshot of the goings-on of the first day. Read the next instalment for what happened on Day 2.


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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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