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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. 



IFFI 50: BBC’s unique feat

IFFI 50: BBC’s unique feat

BBC here does not refer to the British Broadcasting Corporation. It is the acronym of perhaps India’s biggest film festival buff, BrijBhushan Chaturvedi, a film journalist and a true veteran. IFFI 2019 marked the 50th edition of the International Film Festival of India, the first IFFI being held in 1952. One man was witness to that event, and also had the honour to attend IFFI 2019. This man was given the name ‘BBC’ by writer-producer-director late Ramanand ‘Sagar’.

Persons like BBC should be honoured. Though he might have missed one or two along the way, he has attended almost all 50 IFFIs, from 1952 to 2019. These include all festivals held under the alternate name of Filmotsav in alternate years, being essentially IFFI without a competition section. BBC now uses a walking stick, but nobody would say that he looks all of 82 years and two months and that he must have been 15 years old when he attended IFFI I. Nowadays, you would not be allowed, unless you were 18. It was BBC who inspired me to moot the idea of forming an IFFI Veteran Journalists’ Group (IVJG), comprising those who have attended 25 or more IFFIs and/or completed 50 years in film journalism.

Below is his resumé, in Hindi. BBC writes in Hindi, though he speaks and understands English too. His annual directory of film-folk, called Suchitra, is also published in Hindi. That is going to stop. So are his annual visits to Goa, to attend the mother of all Indian film festivals, IFFI. How long will his presence grace this planet we do not know, but we should realise that the time to honour IFFI veterans like BBC is now.

If there is anybody among the readers of this post who qualifies for IVJG, kindly contact me. If you know anyone who qualifies, still let me know. I will follow up. We are proposing that our Government honour us and, give us some concessions and allow us to contribute in the holding of this festival. The Director of IFFI 50, Chaitanya Prasad, and the Chairman of the Entertainment Society of Goa, also the Chief Minister of Goa, Dr. Pramod Sawant, have agreed in principle, on 19 November 2019 to honour such veterans. I am pursuing them to fulfil their assurance.

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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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