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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. 



Total Siyapaa

Other languages or subtitles: 
Production country: 
Running time (In minutes): 
Student film: 
Poster, Total Siyapaa
Production year: 
March, 2014
Film Credits
Film director: 
Eshwar Niwas
Neeraj Pandey, adapted from thwe film Only Human (2004)
Neeraj Pandey
Ali Zafar
Cast 1: 
Ali Zafar
Cast 2: 
Yami Gautam
Cast 3: 
Sara Khan
Cast 4: 
Kirron Kher
Cast 5: 
Anupam Kher
Festival Selection, Awards...
Festival selection, awards or citation already received and other comments... :
Film reviews: 
<p>Siyapaa, spelt variously as siapa, seapa, siyaapaa, siyapa, etc., is a Punjabi word that means &lsquo;wailing&rsquo;. This film, which was earlier titled Aman ki Asha (meaning peace hoped for, Aman and Asha also being common names in Pakistan/India and the names of the lead characters in the film), swings so dramatically between farce and bathos that the audience is bound to wail time and again.</p> <p>Remade, with some obvious adaptation/localisation, from Only Human (2004, source duly acknowledged), <strong>Total Siyapaa</strong> is unable to decide whether it wants to be a poker-faced black comedy or a wailing, ranting, over-the-top outing. A Muslim Pakistani singer (Ali Zafar as Aman, in a smart bit of realistic casting) and a Hindu Indian TV personality (Yami Gautam-Asha), both living in London, want to get married. Both are Punjabi, but from different parts of the divided province, which, after 1947, is shared between India and Pakistan. On an ill-fated day, when Asha invites Aman to meet her family, everything goes wrong, including Aman being hauled-up by an over-zealous British cop as a suspected terrorist and her family&rsquo;s shock at the nationality of their daughter&rsquo;s boy friend. (The premise is similar to Guess Who&rsquo;s Coming to Dinner, wherein a girl brings home her husband-to-be, who turns out, horror of horrors, to be black)!</p> <p>Neeraj Pandey, known for directing the classic thriller A Wednesday (2008), is the producer and co-writer of this vehicle. Though the casting is largely apt, both he and director Eshwar Niwas (De Taali, My Name Is Anthony Gonsalves, Love Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega, Shool) struggle with the comedy genre, and treat the film as a stage play, working from gag to gag. There was potential in the story to become a laugh-riot, but it has gone waste. From a possibly enjoyable comedy, it has come out as a tale of woe.</p> <p>Ali Zafar (Tere Bin Laden, Mere Brother Ki Dulhan) has a naturalness about him that is endearing, but the role provides few challenges. His music score, as always, is pleasing. Yami Gautam (Vicky Donor) is exuberant and bubbly, till she starts hamming. As her sister, Sara Khan is confident, and imparts the naughtiness the role demands. Kirron Kher fits the profile, perhaps too predictably. Anupam Kher is utterly wasted in a farcical persona that brings out the worst from his rich repertoire. Parodying Rowan Atkinson&rsquo;s Mr. Bean, Steve Keefe proves to be a good mimic.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Incidentally, in a scene where the two lovers attack each other over their stereo-typical loyalties and patriotism, they raise the long-burning issue of counter-claims over Kashmir. The Indian censors have deleted the name &lsquo;Kashmir&rsquo;, but the producers have retained the argument, which sounds meaningless without the reference.</p> <p>Rating: * 1/2</p>
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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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