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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. 



NSD’s Theatre Olympics continue, with classic French playwright Molière’s Tartuffe

NSD’s Theatre Olympics continue, with classic French playwright Molière’s Tartuffe

National School of Drama, New Delhi, an autonomous institution under Ministry of Culture, Government of India, is currently organising the 8th Theatre Olympics all over India. We, in Mumbai, are witnessing plays from India and overseas, staged at two venues, both in central Mumbai.

With free entry, the Olympics are a treat for connoisseurs of drama, both traditional and modern. Mumbai is hosting a total of 28 plays, from 24th March to 7th April 2018, presenting a diverse range of theatre forms from all over the world. Besides plays, there are Q & A sessions with the directors, immediately after the stagings. In addition, we have had international seminars, and interfaces with eminent theatre personalities.

To celebrate World Theatre Day, an international seminar was organised, for two days, March 27 and 28, with four sessions, focussing on the topic "Who Shrinks My Theatre?" A keynote address was delivered by Director, National School of Drama, Prof. Waman Kendre, while the three sessions over two days offered varying perspectives of directors, writers and actors about who they think are shrinking their theatre ‘space’.

“Today we are bombarded with so much technology and social media that any news becomes stale with few minutes. Theatre addas (hangouts) are missing today because there is no personal conversation within creative people. Theatre is lonely today. Happiness in small, innocent things has vanished. Everyone wants grand things, brands,” Prof. Kendre said, in his keynote address.

“Someone said to me ‘theatre is a lie, which takes us closer to the truth.’ I am happy to live this lie,” said famous actor Nina Kulkarni, one of the speakers in the session today. Nina is multi-lingual, works in film, TV and theatre and honed her art under two legends, late Pandit Satyadev Dubey and living legend, Vijaya Mehta. Other speakers included Rahul Da Cunha (English theatre), Milind Shinde, and others. The seminar was moderated by very senior theatre figure and an NSD alumnus, Kamlakar Sontakke.

The last session, on March 28, witnessed five ‘observers’, four Indian and one from abroad, summarising their thoughts on the discussions held in the previous sessions. Afterwards, performance hungry audiences made a beeline for ‘Shri 420', by Saba Zaidi Abdi and Atul Tiwari. Originally on French, the play was an Australian production, and was staged in Australia, with the Indian directors helming. The Hindustani play is an adaptation of Molière’s 17th century French comedy, Tartuffe, that comments on, how, in seeking a shortcut to spirituality, people fall prey to phoney gurus, and suffer the consequences.

It had been staged in many countries and in many languages, under different names. I, too, had occasion to act in a version in the late 80s, called Bagula Bhagat. India is currently witnessing a spurt in Godmen, or, it could be, that many such conmen are being exposed now that was the case ever before. 420 is a section in the Indian Penal Code that defines cheating and prescribes punishment. Shri is Hindi fpr Mr. 

The city will witness the culmination of the festival on 8th April.

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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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