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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. 

 

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Hindi Medium, Review by Siraj Syed: Admission only to the affluent and fluent

Hindi Medium, Review by Siraj Syed: Admission only to the affluent and fluent If you want to get your child admitted in any one of the top five schools in New Delhi, you have to be affluent, fluent (in English) and live a life-style typified by Western influences. This is the premise of Hindi Medium, releasing this week in Mumbai cinemas. What happens if you have an intelligent daughter, are a couple that speaks Hindi, and have lots of money, not Westernised, and live in the crowded Chandni ...

The Sense of an Ending, Review by Siraj Syed: Sensible transition from novel to film

The Sense of an Ending, Review by Siraj Syed: Sensible transition from novel to film Many a times, tragic-romantic novels that get made into films tend to be laboured and over ‘textualised’. Not so the The Sense of an Ending. Indian director Ritesh Batra keeps this British film largely simple and lets his actors carry it forward, which works well. A simple story with a tragic and profound undercurrent of regret, the film does not have too much to offer, but gets its basics right. ...

Siraj Syed covers CommunicAsia 2017, Singapore, Pre-event, 06: Hughes remains #1 VSAT Provider in latest COMSYS Report

Siraj Syed covers CommunicAsia 2017, Singapore, Pre-event, 06: Hughes remains #1 VSAT Provider in latest COMSYS Report Hughes Network Systems, LLC (HUGHES), was again confirmed as the leading global provider, in both enterprise and consumer sectors, of the Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) satellite communications industry, by London-based COMSYS, one of the industry’s leading research organisations. This continues a legacy that dates back more than 30 years since Hughes invented and ...

Alien: Covenant, Review by Siraj Syed: Paradise morphed

Alien: Covenant, Review by Siraj Syed: Paradise morphed Five years after Prometheus, this film is the second instalment in the Alien prequel series, and the sixth one in the Alien film series, as well as the third one to be directed by Ridley Scott. Prometheus was his second directorial effort in the series. He was 42 when he directed Alien (1979) and is in his 79th year, when Covenant is releasing. Imagine making a prequel 38 years after the original! Alien Covenant is an interesting film in...

Movie memories, by Siraj Syed—X-Men-The Last Stand (2006): Fire and ice

Movie memories, by Siraj Syed—X-Men-The Last Stand (2006): Fire and ice X-Men and X-Women in all their glory, with abilities that, together, are capable of almost anything, like battling forces of the government of the USA, and each other, in this threequel to X-Men (2000) and X-2 (2003). What would have been a trilogy, has continued into 2017. Having three to four years in between the successive franchise films works for the project, even in later editions, though there was a spate du...

Siraj Syed covers CommunicAsia 2017 and BroadcastAsia 2017, Singapore, 23-25May: Pre-event 05: Artel to showcase multimedia IP

  Siraj Syed covers CommunicAsia 2017 and BroadcastAsia 2017, Singapore, 23-25May: Pre-event 05: Artel to showcase multimedia IP transport solutions Artel Video Systems will showcase their latest solutions for real-time, multimedia delivery to meet the changes and challenges facing the broadcast industry today.   Video over IP Solutions  Integrated seamlessly within the InfinityLink and DigiLink platforms, Artel's IP solutions are designed specifically t...

Movie memories, by Siraj Syed—Brokeback Mountain (2005): Rough terrain, smooth ride

Movie memories, by Siraj Syed—Brokeback Mountain (2005): Rough terrain, smooth ride Friendship between the two protagonists of Brokeback Mountain turns to a homosexual relationship that survives their respective conventional marriages and fatherhoods. Director Ang Lee tackles this taboo theme, placed in the Wyoming of half a century ago, and treats it with old-world unravelling, at a gentle pace and accompanied by slow background score. The dialogue is highly accentuated and mumbled, wh...

Siraj Syed covers CommunicAsia 2017, Singapore: Pre-event, 04: Technicolor to bring in new era of entertainment

Siraj Syed covers CommunicAsia 2017, Singapore: Pre-event, 04: Technicolor to bring in new era of entertainment... by delivering access excellence and empowering content for audiences everywhere. *Engineering next-gen technologies and products to deliver access speeds and bandwidth for the most immersive content. *Building intelligent networks that optimise Wi-Fi efficiency and performance while reducing costs for operators. *Creating an intuitive, seamless and friction-less home network s...

Movie memories, by Siraj Syed—Bowling for Columbine (2002): Gun lobbies and gun hobbies

Movie memories, by Siraj Syed—Bowling for Columbine (2002): Gun lobbies and gun hobbies America has the highest rate of gun-related deaths and some critics of the gun culture refer to the gun lobby as gun nuts. Michael Moore (Fahrenheit 9/11) pegs this docu-feature as an investigative, analytical account of the Columbine school massacre and derives its title from the story that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold—the two students responsible for the Columbine High School massacre—...

Mantostaan, Review by Siraj Syed: Quadruple fiction, laboured narration

Mantostaan, Review by Siraj Syed: Quadruple fiction, laboured narration Mantostaan is a parallel compilation of four short stories by outstanding writer, late Saadat Hassan Manto. Manto was a short story writer who wrote in the Urdu language, in addition to being a film and radio scriptwriter, and a journalist. For a brief period in the late forties, he worked in the script department of the legendary studio, Bombay Talkies. Born in undivided India, he returned to what was now Pakistan, and d...

The Guardians of the Galaxy-Vol. 2, Review by Siraj Syed: Turn-up the volume

The Guardians of the Galaxy-Vol. 2, Review by Siraj Syed: Turn-up the volume TGOTG goes back to 1980, when Peter’s father was courting his mother, and then comes to present day, when he s about 35. Like Vol. 1, the film is a riot of colour, sci-fi (visuals) and hi-fi (sounds), even celebrating its own prowess in painting the screen with an explosion of VFX hues, like a futurist child’s dream display of fire-works. It also taps upon latest sound techniques to run music, SFX and dia...

Movie memories, by Siraj Syed—Fahrenheit 9/11(2004): Burning topics

Movie memories, by Siraj Syed—Fahrenheit 9/11(2004): Burning topics Fahrenheit 9/11 was released on DVD and VHS videotape on October 5, 2004, which is when I must have acquired my copy. Within a few days, the film broke records for the highest-selling documentary ever. About two million copies were sold/rented on the first day. A companion book too was released, The Official Fahrenheit 9/11 Reader, containing the complete screenplay, maker Michael Moore's sources, audience e-mails ...

Movie memories, by Siraj Syed--The Bourne Supremacy (2004): Supreme racy

Movie memories, by Siraj Syed--The Bourne Supremacy (2004): Supreme racy As I write this flashback review, five Jason Bourne films have been released, of which The Bourne Supremacy was the second. The lead character and plot premises are all based on the milieu created by Robert Ludlum’s action-thriller novels about CIA agent Jason Bourne and the Agency’s use of his skills in executing murderous missions, after subjecting him to drug-induced psychogenic amnesia. This one begins t...

Maatr (The Mother) uncensored, Review by Siraj Syed: She will kill at will

Maatr (The Mother) uncensored, Review by Siraj Syed: She will kill at will Lead actress Raveena Tandon told the media that, in Maatr, “We have just shown 10 percent of what a woman has to deal with when such a thing happens with her.” ‘Such a thing’ that she was referring to is gang rape. Sure enough, the film landed in trouble before the Central Board of Film Certification (CFBC), the Indian body that has to approve every film before it is released. I have had privile...

Félicité, Review by Siraj Syed: Cinema réalité

Félicité, Review by Siraj Syed: Cinema réalité Challenging forms and formats, genres and categories, Félicité agitates your mind by showing too much of some things and too little of other elements. It begins as an indictment of the colonial legacy in Congo but ends up becoming a slave to its repetitive shot-taking and sombre imagery. Too much is promised and just about much is delivered. Nevertheless, Félicité is going to be talked about...

Siraj Syed conducts the first ever interview of writer-director Hank Orion (Despair, 2017)

Siraj Syed conducts the first ever interview of writer-director Hank Orion (Despair, 2017) Hank Orion migrated to Italy from Ukraine with his mother, at the age of 9. He had been showing interest in cinema since a very early age, and wrote his first ‘screenplay’ at the age of 12.There, Hank focussed on writing, primarily, and by the age of 16, he had written several feature film screenplays and short stories. Later, Hank studied painting at the Liceo Artistico Statale ‘Fois...

Despair, Exclusive first-ever review, by Siraj Syed: Performances dispel the gloom in this psycho thriller

Despair, Exclusive first-ever review, by Siraj Syed: Performances dispel the gloom in this psycho thriller Being humane can cost you dear could be one take away from the indie psychological thriller, Despair. Disjointed families and obsession can kill, as had been demonstrated by so many films of yore, and this could have been one more for the record, had it not been for the other take away: sympathy and empathy are the cornerstones of love, and even if you have to pay a heavy price for nurtu...

Zikr Tera, CD Album review, by Siraj Syed: Cadence and decadence, allusion and illusion

Zikr Tera, CD Album review, by Siraj Syed: Cadence and decadence, allusion and illusion Film playback singer, musician and ghazal exponent RoopKumar Rathod partners life -partner Sunali on an eight-track journey that is full of lament and pathos, allusion and illusion, called Zikr Tera (‘your mention’, in Urdu). More ethereal than earthy, it caters to an elite audience, and the senior citizens among them, at that. There are things to admire and things to comment upon, along the wa...

Smurfs-The Lost Village, Review by Siraj Syed: Tidal waves and tiny caves

Smurfs-The Lost Village, Review by Siraj Syed: Tidal waves and tiny caves Smurfy’s Law: The Forbidden Forest is the forbidden forest, and there’s good reason for the entry ban—you might not come back alive. After watching the latest Smurf movie, you will not only get back alive, but happy and bemused. If you belong to the under 12 age-group, you might even enjoy the thrills and frills much more than your older brethren. The Lost Village (third in the Smurfs franchise) is ne...

The Zookeeper’s Wife, Review by Siraj Syed: Of animals, animal instincts and humanity above all

The Zookeeper’s Wife, Review by Siraj Syed: Of animals, animal instincts and humanity above all A wife, a husband their zoo and the Jews. Unlikely ingredients of a film seen by us critics on the eve of Hitler’s birthday. And yet, The Zookeeper’s Wife movie survives some uneven narrative and unimaginative camerawork to settle down into a compelling, if understated, holocaust tale that more than deserves a cursory viewing. It begins as The Life of Pi, moves on to join Schindle...

Siraj Syed talks to film-maker, cinematographer Chanda Gauranga, about indie LIF

Siraj Syed talks to film-maker, cinematographer Chanda Gauranga, about indie LIF What is your family back-ground and how did the idea of LIF germinate? I was born and brought up in Chennai along with my three siblings. My mother is a story-teller and a writer. I grew up listening to and being amazed by my mother's tales and in a way wanted to spread the same awe and amazement I felt when listening to her stories. Moreover, my father and his father have always been very camera passionate....

Siraj Syed interviews Mumbai-based, under 23, prolific, short film-maker, S. Ashwin

Siraj Syed interviews Mumbai-based, under 23, prolific, short film-maker, S. Ashwin *You have been prolific in output. How many films have you made since you completed your studies a couple of years ago, and what/who made it possible to make so many? I have made 29 short films till now. My love for film-making and the conviction I have to keep making them has made it possible for me to have a large number of films to my credit today. Apart from that, my parents have been a great support--the...

Siraj Syed covers CommunicAsia 2017, Singapore: Pre-event, 03: Rohit Talwar and FastFuture

Siraj Syed covers CommunicAsia 2017, Singapore: Pre-event, 03: Rohit Talwar and FastFuture Rohit Talwar, Owner and CEO, Fast Future Research, since 1999, will be delivering this year’s CommunicAsia2017 Summit Visionary Address titled “Artificial Intelligence vs. Genuine Stupidity – Navigating Exponential Technologies to Create a Very Human Future”. The event will he held this year from the 23rd to the 25th of May, and will host key speakers and exhibitors featuring the...

Aamir, Nasir, Tahir, Tariq, Mansoor, Amjad: Movies, Masti, Modernity, Flashback 10: Aamir

Aamir, Nasir, Tahir, Tariq, Mansoor, Amjad: Movies, Masti, Modernity, Flashback 10: Aamir To remind you, Aamir is indeed Aamir Khan, Amjad is definitely Gabbar Singh, and the triple M above is to acknowledge that it was Akshay Manwani’s biographical book on the cinema of Nasir Hussain that got me delving into the period of about 15 years, when I interacted with the Hussain Khans (first five) and the bare Khan (last, but the most imposing personality). Actually, Mansoor did not use his m...

Aamir, Nasir, Tahir, Tariq, Mansoor, Amjad: Movies, Masti, Modernity, Flashback 9

Aamir, Nasir, Tahir, Tariq, Mansoor, Amjad: Movies, Masti, Modernity, Flashback 9 To remind you, Aamir is indeed Aamir Khan, Amjad is definitely Gabbar Singh, and the triple M above is to acknowledge that it was Akshay Manwani’s biographical book on the cinema of Nasir Hussain that got me delving into the period of about 15 years, when I interacted with the Hussain Khans (first five) and the bare Khan (last, but the most imposing personality). Actually, Mansoor did not use his middle na...

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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

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