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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. 



MFF 21, 2019, 3: Excellence in Cinema Award goes to Deepti Naval

MFF 21, 2019, 3: Excellence in Cinema Award goes to Deepti Naval

Mumbai Academy of Moving Image(MAMI), organisers of the Mumbai Film festival, 17-24 October 2019, have chosen Deepti Naval as the recipient of the Excellence in Cinema Award, in the Indian section. Fernando Meirelles is the recipient in the International section.

Born in Amritsar, Punjab, India, in 1952, Deepti Naval is an acclaimed actor. After her schooling, she migrated to the United States, where she was educated at the City University of New York, and received her Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts, at Hunter College, Manhattan, choosing Painting (her mother was a painter), English Psychology and American Theatre as her subjects. While in New York, she also presented an Indian music programme called Rang Mahal, for WHBI-FM, at South Sea Seaport, from 9.30 to 10.30 pm.

She made her acting debut as a leading lady with the movie Ek Baar Phir, in the year 1980 (although Junoon was released a year earlier), directed by Vinod Pande, who had earlier worked for the BBC, in London. Since then, she has acted in more than 60 films. Among these are Chashme Baddoor, Kamla, Mirch Masala, Ankahee, Main Zinda Hoon, Panchvati, and more recently, Leela, Freaky Chakra and Listen…Amaya. She also wrote and directed Thodasa Aasmaan, a TV series about women, and produced a travel show, called The Path Less Travelled.

A poet too, she was mentored by veteran Gulzar. A selection of poems in Hindi, Lamha-Lamha (Moment-Moment) was published in 1981 and more recently, MapinLit brought out a new collection called Black Wind and other Poems. She is also a painter and photographer, with several exhibitions to her credit, and enjoys trekking in the remote mountains of Himachal and Ladakh. Deepti Naval also runs the Vinod Pandit Charitable Trust, set up in memory of her late companion, for the education of the girl child.

OUT ALONE: A Poem by Deepti Naval         

She stands at one end of the verandah –

A naked bulb glows

At the other end,

Staining the dark floor

With dull yellow light

Beyond the empty ward

Drag echoes of the autumn night

From pillar to pillar

In severe silence

Skulk slithery shadows

Out alone in the cold she stands

Night after night

Fighting her demons!

Her body, frail and brittle

Flaps leaf-like, on

Two glass feet


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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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