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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: Ceremonial closing

IFFI 50: Ceremonial closing

As the sun set over the river Mandovi in Goa, on the 28th of November, 2019, the 50th edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) rolled out the red carpet for the closing ceremony. The spectacular, star studded closing ceremony brought the nine day festivities of 200 odd screenings, master classes, in-conversation sessions, and more, to a fitting climax.

Gracing the valedictory ceremony, Babul Supriyo, Union Minister of State for Environment, Forest & Climate Change, said that IFFI is a way for all to learn and evolve and in this journey of evolution, we are trying to make this platform a way for artists to learn and grow.”

The Minister added, “There is no end to education in the field of art. The more you know, you will realise how little you know. With such great endeavours happening in Indian soil and Goa being a permanent and appropriate venue for IFFI for years to come, this is one arena which is going to make all film makers evolve by getting to know each other and by exchange of ideas and endeavours in your mind.”

“We strive to improve our facilities to welcome and accommodate more and more female participants at IFFI. Keeping this in mind, we provided a platform for 50 female film directors from all over the world to showcase their work. We hope to inspire and motivate more and more female artists and filmmakers to excel and showcase their talent. India is the most apt place to do that,” Babul Supriyo concluded. 

Chief Guest of the occasion, Goa Governor Satyapal Malik said that cinema is a powerful medium which can have deep and far reaching impact on society. He appealed to film-makers to make films on socially relevant issues, for the improvement of the society.

Chief Minister of Goa, Dr. Pramod Sawant, said IFFI 2019 has given us another opportunity to watch films not just for entertainment but also for introspection. “As a host state, Goa is progressing every year with more productive and meaningful experiments. One of the main dreams of former CM, Late Manohar Parikkar, was to make Goa a haven for the film industry. Hope we will be able to fulfill the dream. We plan to develop infrastructure and provide the latest technology for film making in Goa,” he said.

Left to Right: Dr. Pramod Sawant, Ilaiyaraja, Prem Chopra and Satyapal Malik

Music legend Ilaiyaraja, veteran actor Prem Chopra, guests Takashi Miike, Wagner Moura, Rakulpreet Singh, Vijay Deverakonda, Rohit Shetty, Aanand L Rai, Prosenjit Chatterjee, Nithya Menen, and other lights and luminaries of film fraternity graced the function. 

Deputy Chief Ministers of Goa Manohar Ajgaonkar and Chandrakanth Kavlekar, Members of Parliament, Roopa Ganguly and Ravi Kishan, Chief Secretary of Goa Parimal Rai, Vice Chairman of Entertainment Society of Goa, Subhash PhalDesai, IFFI Steering Committee members Shaji N. Karun, Rahul Rawail, and International Jury members John Bailey, Robin Campillo, Zhang Yang, Lynne Ramsay and Ramesh Sippy were also present on the occasion.

Opening the grand ceremony, Secretary, Union Ministry of Information & Broadcasting,  Amit Khare said that IFFI 2020 and 2021 will be a tribute to legendary filmmaker of India, Satyajit Ray, whose centenary celebrations will be observed from next year. “The event (IFFI 2019) has been quite successful in bringing together film enthusiasts all over the world, along with the well-known film-makers, artistes and film critics. It will be our endeavour to have the 51st IFFI at an even larger scale. The 50th edition of IFFI had more than 190 films screened from 76 different countries, which included 90 Indian premières, six world premières and 11 Asian premières. It is a matter of pride that this year we screened 24 Oscar submissions at IFFI. More than 12,000 delegates participated, which is also a record number,” he said.

Offering an insight on the participation numbers, CEO of Entertainment Society of Goa, Amit Satija said that in terms of international participation, IFFI saw majority delegates from UK, USA, Sri Lanka and UAE, while Goa, Kerala, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu comprise majority of the national delegates.

Legends of Indian cinema Ilaiyaraja, Prem Chopra, Manju Borah, Aravind Swamy and Haubam Paban Kumar were honoured on the occasion. Technical partners of the film festival and International Jury members were also felicitated.

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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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