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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. 



RIFF 08, 2022, 09: Films for change in society

RIFF 08, 2022, 09: Films for change in society

As a regular feature, the Rajasthan International Film Festival (RIFF) holds Talk Shows, on the lines of the Open Forum, conducted by the Federation of Film Societies of India, at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI). In the first talk show, ‘Films for change in society’, held on 26 March 2022, Bollywood trade analyst Komal Nahta, Indian film producer, writer and director Chandrashekhar Narvekar (N. Chandra), famous Indian film journalist turned director, Ram Kamal Mukherjee, former editor-in-chief of Stardust film magazine, gave their views on this topic. Komal Nahta said that films are the mirror of the society and films have a great impact on the lives of the common man. Films should also change with the changing environment, but it is a very slow process. The reach of OTT platforms is very little in India, but it is a very powerful medium outside the country. He said that after the advent of social media, there has been a rapid change, but instead of using it positively, some people use it as a tool to troll a particular person.

He said that social media cannot be considered as a medium of change. Ram Kamal Mukherjee said that he is a short film-maker and he has made 6 films on the OTT platform. He added that he took a transgender person in a lead role in one of his films. If he wanted, he could have taken any other person but he took this risk, and this experiment was very successful. This film also changed his life.

N Chandra said that social change and individual change are two different things. Most of the people watch movies for entertainment, not for learning anything, so if a message is given with entertainment, instead of giving it in books, then it is more effective. In response to a question, Ram Kamal Mukherjee said that the audience going to a film screened at a film festival and a film being shown at a cinema hall are different. People who go to watch movies for entertainment do not like to watch artistic movies. He opined that Devdas was the first such commercial film which was a crossover, and if we want to keep the youth connected with films, then we will have to mix various elements and make a film. Ram Kamal Mukherjee said that the film festival is a positive step and it shows the people attending how to join films. Komal Nahta also supported this point and said that more and more such film festivals should be organized, so that young, prospective film-makers can get opportunities to get into the film world more and more. RIFF's co-director, Anshu Harsh, moderated the talk show.

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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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