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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. He is also an acting and dialogue coach. 

 

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First episode of mini-series Happy Got Lucky canned

First episode of mini-series Happy Got Lucky canned

Director Param Kalra has canned the first episode of the mini-series, Happy Got Lucky. Commissioned by SBT entertainment, of Jalaj Dave and Hiren Bhoi, it consists of three episodes. Happy Got Lucky stars Vidit Sharma (MTV roadies fame, Aaja Tujhe Chaand Pe Le Chalun) and two pretty girls, Anjali Krishna and Bushra Shaikh (Mika Di Vohti fame).

The series revolves around modern day youth issues, like commitment phobia. There are many causes for this new social disorder, emerging among our youth. But we know that commitment is the element which is most important among all human attributes, whether it's your job, relationships, or other aspects of your life. Besides, if you suffer from this ‘commitment phobia’, it reflects in other parts of your life too.

This is what he has to share about his experience of directing Happy Got Lucky: “My producers told me to make a big budget short film, but I made it in a limited budget. I wanted them to understand the whole process of selling films. Making is easy, selling is difficult. With a limited budget, we have more liberty, and the chances of selling the project for profit are higher. I cut down the budget to less than half, without compromising on the narrative. I started to call my close friends for casting, and after short listing all applicants, we did a mock scene shoot. Eventually, Vidit Sharma, Anjali Krishna and Bushra Shaikh came on board, as their on-camera chemistry was very impressive. Moreover, they were ready to join reading and acting workshops, without any starry airs.”

Before Happy Got Lucky, Kalra did a web series which is in post-production, titled Aantrik. This is a crime drama. However, he wanted to keep experimenting with other visual textures, and genres. The Happy Got Lucky cinematographer, Salam Salih, suggested that they use hand-held camera, as it would give them more shooting speed, as well as a candid feeling of conflict between the three characters. Besides, they had planned to complete the film in three days, so they could not afford stable and tripod shots, which always take time to set-up, from position to position. Kalra also avoided using the director’s monitor, but switched to a small LED screen (showgun), to reduce technical hassles, as they were shooting in a 3 Bedroom-Hall-Kitchen flat. Both decisions worked in their favour, and the shooting was completed in time.

Param Kalra started his journey into cinema by assisting Anurag Kashyap in the film, 'No Smoking', a post that he did not get easily. He showed his zero-budget short films to Anurag and was only then selected to get a place in the direction team. No Smoking was produced by Panorama Studios and Vishal Bharadwaj Films.  After No Smoking, he joined the team of India's first 3-D animation and live action combo feature film, Toonpur Ka Superhero. It was an exciting project for him. They did many chroma green tests. Moreover, they shot it on negatives, along with the Panavision series. Param learnt the whole process, from pre-to-post production, by being part of all these two films.

In 2016, he got his first release, as an independent film writer. Thodi Thodi Si Manmaaniyan, which was a youth flick, directed by Aditya Sarpotdar. It was Aditya’s Hindi film debut. He came from Marathi language cinema. Param raised a bunch of social issues through his writing.

The film didn’t do well at box office, but it proved to be a good start for Param’s writing career. With another feature released in the year 2018, 22 Days (a thriller) he started focussing on direction. He got the chance in pandemic years (2020-2022) with his first short film, as writer-director, Saala Bastard, shown on Disney+ Hotstar. It starred Karan Singh Chhabra, Monal Jagtani (Splitsvilla fame) and Tanya Walia. The journey took a turn, when he got more work, not as writer, but as director.

This year, he did a music video, ‘Milke na mile’ under Muzzic Box, along with Samir Singh Parinda and Mahak Chowdhary. Last year, he did a short film, Favourite Chai, starring Mansi Srivastva and Khushwant Walia, again as writer-director. This was shown on the OTT platform. Param Kalra is also in the process of finishing a crime drama web series, starring Arfi Lamba, Anuj Rampal, Veronica Vanij and many more. Besides, he is working upon his first feature film, with an established production company.

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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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