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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. 



18th Third Eye Asian Film Festival, I

18th Third Eye Asian Film Festival, I

Organised by the Asian Film Foundation and P.L. Deshpande Maharashtra Kala Academy, the 18th Third Eye Asian Film Festival (TEAFF) has just concluded. Held during March 1-6, at the Mini-Theatre, located on the third floor of the Ravindra Natya Mandir Complex, Prabhadevi, Mumbai, the festival screened films in six slots each day. Paani, in Marathi language, directed by Adinath Kothare, was the inaugural film while Mai Ghaat, also in Marathi, directed by Ananth Narayan Mahadevan, was the closing film. Although the inauguration was on the evening of 01 March, screenings had already begun that morning, at 10 am.

There were 35 shows over six days, with no repeat screenings. Scheduled earlier for December 2019, this was the 2019 edition of the festival that had to be moved forward by about three months due to the political situation that prevailed in Maharashtra State during November-December 2019. TEAFF is partly funded by a local government grant, through the Department of Culture, Government of Maharashtra. It is co-organised by the Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Chritrapat Mahamandal (All India Marathi Film Federation) and Prabhat Film Society, one of the oldest film societies of Bombay, now known as Mumbai, founded in 1968. Iran Culture House and Mahasanskruti extended their support.

Sudhir Nandgaonkar was the festival director while Premendra Mazumder was the Programme Director. A three-member jury judged the two competitive sections, Women Film Makers and Short Film (Fiction).

Kiran Shantaram, son of the legendary producer-director-actor V. Shantaram, is the Chairman of the Asian Film Foundation. Shantaram and Nadgaonkar are the moving spirits behind TEAFF.

Paani has won the Silver Medal at the National Film Awards, 2019. Director Adinath Kothare, who also played the male lead, is the son of veteran director-actor Mahesh Kothare, and this is his directorial debut. Mai Ghaat brought Usha Jadhav the Best Actress award at the International Film Festival of India, 2019. Director Ananth Narayan Mahadevan has been a member of Prabhat since very long.

Short films were shown in four slots, from 3.30 pm, during March 2-5, as against the three slots that are normally allotted to this category. This was due to the larger response it drew this year.

Tributes were paid to Girish Karnad (actor-writer-director), Dr. Shreeram Lagoo (actor) and Mrinal Sen (director), who died in 2019, by screening their films Samskara, Samana and Bhuvan Shome. Bhuvan Shome brought in the new wave of parallel cinema in Hindi films, way back in 1969, a full 50 years ago.

Feature films from India, Iran, Bhutan, SriLanka, Singapore, Israel, China, BanglaDesh and Mongolia found place in the festival, with the strongest contingent coming from the home country—23, an Indo-Mongolian co-production included. Of the Indian list, 7 were in Marathi and 5 in Bengali. Other languages represented were Kannada, Assamese, Hindi, Manipuri, Kashmiri, Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam. Stories @ 8 was a unique experiment, with an anthology of eight tales, in different Indian languages, but shot in Singapore, using Indian actors.

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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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