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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. 



Trailer launch of Dobaaraa: EK and SK join hands with SK and AK in remake of Mirage

Trailer launch of Dobaaraa: EK and SK join hands with SK and AK in remake of Mirage

K is a constant, and most of Ektaa R. Kapoor’s TV and film forays have had titles beginning with the letter k. As have the films of Rakesh Roshan. Exceptions prove the rule, and Dobaaraa is one such vehicle. The other ‘k’s in the picture are Sunir Kheterpal (co-producer) and Anurag Kashyap (the director). The trailer of Dobaaraa was dropped on 27 July at PVR Icon Multiplex, Citi Mall, Andheri, at 2:12 pm (the time has some significance; read on) and it was, to be frank, quite eerie. Ektaa and Anurag were present physically, while Sunir joined virtually. Ektaa’s mother, and the other co-producer, Shobha Kapoor, was absent. Another producer, Gaurav Bose, of ATHENA, was also not there.

After opening at two of the most prestigious film festivals, such as London Film Festival & Fantasia Film Festival 2022, Anurag Kashyap’s new-age thriller Dobaaraa will be seen in Indian cinema halls from 19th August. Now about the 2:12. The film is 2 hours and 12 minutes long and the trailer is 2 min and 12 seconds in length. A bit eerie, that, or rather, a bit intriguing. In the trailer, we get to know that the lead actress Tapsee Pannu (who teamed with Anurag in the successful Manmarziyaan, where Anurag was the director and one of the six producers) has gone into the past and changed it, so the future will also change. And you have to thank a geo-magnetic storm that recurs after 26 years. With every passing second, the curiosity about who, where and how keeps increasing.

With Dobaaraa, Ektaa R. Kapoor also launches Cult Movies, her new insignia, after ALT. Cult movies will be designed to tell compelling, edgy & genre-bending stories. This is the third collaboration between Ektaa and Anurag. Also in the cast are Pavail Gulati (Thappad), Rahul Bhatt, Saswata Chatterjee, Vidusshi Mehra, Sukant Goel, Nassar, Nidhi Singh and Madhurima Roy. Asked by this writer about the casting of Nassar, who is a top villain down South and speaks Hindi with a slight accent, Anurag replied, “He suited the role perfectly. Moreover, he is such an asset. When he came for shooting on the first day, I was so much in awe of him. His aura pervades the atmosphere.” In reply to another question by this writer about budgets, Anurag had this to say, “I always work backwards. The budget comes first, then the expenses. Only once have I highly overshot the budget, and I have learnt my lesson.”

Ektaa said that she took a risk by releasing Dobaaraa in cinemas first, although a deal is already in place with Netflix about streaming, a couple of months or so down the line. “I asked Mom, and she said ‘if your gut feel says so, go ahead’. It would have been so easy to release it on the OTT platform directly, but we decided to back ourselves.” Is Dobaaraa a remake of the Spanish film, Mirage? “Yes and no,” confessed Anurag. “I don’t believe in remaking classics, and Mirage is a classic. In fact, Tapsee gave me the script and asked me to read it and find a director, because she knew I would not do it. I kept asking people who might be interested, and then, one day, I read the script. That was when I called Tapsee and told her, ‘why are you asking me to find a director for you? I will direct it myself.’ Though the basic premise is the same, I have changed quite a lot. You will find a lot of Anurag Kashyap in it. And by the way, the film is written by a journalist-turned-scriptwriter, Nihit Bhave.”

Ektaa was calm and composed, and mature in her demeanour. I could not help but recall the bubbly, college-going teenager, who had come to anchor the TV show Superhit Muqabla almost three decades ago. That was my first introduction to Ektaa R. Kapoor, who wanted me to write rap lines for her. As script-writer of the top viewership programme, I had a proper script in place and there was no scope for rapping. But a few weeks earlier, when I was not the script-writer, Baba Sehgal had done a couple of shows, and he was a regular rapper. Ektaa was insistent, “Just two lines, please!” I was holding a glass of tea in my hand and came-up on the spot with something like, “Tiki tiki tai ti tai tai tai tum tum, Coffee pee main ney ab chai piyo tum tum,” which she found great, and before we knew it, the rap had been taken.” We had an opportunity to work Dobaaraa (again), when she launched Balaji, but that is best forgotten.



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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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