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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. He is also an acting and dialogue coach. 



Varun Dhawan holds sway at Amazon Prime Video bae

Varun Dhawan holds sway at Amazon Prime Video bae

Events starting on time is a rarity in the entertainment circuit of Mumbae….oops, Mumbai, but for once the exception proved the rule. A smartly dressed young lady greeted me at the desk, took my name, which I spelt out to her loud and clear. Then she took my picture on an ipad and told me to collect my identity badge a few minutes later. As I entered the Grand Sangam Ballroom at the J.W. Marriott hotel, Juhu, there was loud dance music on, a sure sign that someone was performing. And sure enough, some dancers were performing, performing their muscles out, in spell-binding manner.

The lead dancer was revealed to be Varun Dhawan, who has a huge following, even among the media, and we were then introduced to the concept of bae. This was done firstly by Varun himself, then through a couple of videos and then through the exchanges between livewire compère Rohini, Varun, Sushant Sreeram and Gaurav, aka GG. Rohini ran a quiz to ‘test the knowledge about Amazon Prime Video and its shows’, between the three, and, guess what, only Varun got the answers right. All of them. Fixed? You bet! Varun Dhawan fixation? You bet again. So what is bae all about? What was the big secret revealed yesterday to a select audience? Read on.

As Prime Bae, super-star and Prime Video super-fan, Varun Dhawan, will treat fans and audiences with ‘never heard before’ updates on all the amazing series and movies in the works at Prime Video! A self-confessed super-fan and close friend of Prime Video, who watched all Prime Video shows at least twice during the lockdown, Varun Dhawan will not only be the first (‘Before Anyone Else’…what’s in an acronym) to get his hands on all the news and updates on upcoming Prime Video projects but will also ensure the legions of Prime Video fans are the first (‘Before Anyone Else’) to get to know them too! What’s more, audiences will be treated to Varun’s personal, inimitable style, as he reveals the scoop on topics ranging from “where is Srikant Tiwari off to next?” to “what happens to Munna Bhaiyya?”

Prime Bae is a significant step in Prime Video’s aim to build an even more personal and deeper relationship with its viewers by delighting fans who constantly seek the latest information on their favourite Amazon Originals and Exclusives. With Prime Bae, the brand aims to establish a humorous and tongue-in-cheek connect with the viewers, via Varun Dhawan, who is not only an established movie star, but is known and admired for his down-to-earth and friendly persona. As Prime Bae, Varun brings his off-screen personality, style, humour, and love for Prime Video’s content to build a fun-loving conduit between the brand and the customers, delighting fans who want to know everything about everything Prime Video is doing, Before Anyone Else.

Talking about his new role as Prime Bae, Varun Dhawan said, “Actors often call their on-screen roles ‘challenging’, but trust me, my new real-life role as #PrimeBae is even more challenging. Let me tell you getting the andar ki khabar (inside news) Before Anyone Else from Prime Video, on their upcoming series and movies, is an almost impossible task! But, as a Prime Video super-fan, I have accepted the challenge to uncover all the latest news from all the amazing series and movies in the works at Prime Video and share this information with my fans and content lovers across the world. To begin with, I can share with confidence that the first mazedaar (delightful) announcement I will make as Prime Video’s #PrimeBae next week will absolutely delight you. I have all the scoop on it, so stay tuned!”

“Over the years, we have built a strong relationship with our customers, who now rely upon us as their trusted friend – one who encourages, inspires, motivates, and can be relied upon to entertain at all times,” said Sushant Sreeram, Head of SVOD (no expansion of the acronym available) Business, Prime Video, India. “We see customers’ love and appreciation for us in their enthusiasm and inquisitiveness in knowing more about our upcoming shows and movies. With Varun as our first-ever #PrimeBae, we aim to build an even more tight-knit community of super-fans, taking them deeper and helping them experience the inner world of Prime Video. Our shows and movies aim to entertain and immerse audiences in their world – why should the latest news on them not be entertaining too? And what better way to kick-start Prime Bae’s journey than with one of India’s favourite actors, Varun Dhawan. His humour and style are sure to make this an interesting ride. Honestly, there’s no knowing what details Prime Bae might share next. Just get on-board and see where it takes you!”

Varun’s mission to be a #PrimeBae began when his friends started badgering him for the latest scoop on upcoming shows and movies at Prime Video and he realised he really didn’t know much! (watch here:

Having vowed to gain access to these secrets, Varun tried straight-forward methods which expectedly failed, forcing him to use his endearing and lovable personality to gain access to Prime Video’s top-secret information on upcoming series and movies (watch here:

Winning over everyone at Prime Video with his charm, Varun anointed himself as Prime Bae – the first and only source of all the entertaining updates from India’s most loved entertainment hub Before Anyone Else watch here.

Prime Video has released three films so far, each playing on Prime Video and Varun Dhawan’s digital and social media platforms.

Indian film-maker and screenwriter, Vasan Bala, who has directed the films said, “Who doesn’t want the inside information on the series and movies they love? The concept of Prime Bae leverages this insight and invites viewers to be a part of the Prime Video universe, along with one of their favourite actors, Varun Dhawan. Always a friend of the audience, his charming and lovable personality comes alive in the films, while his natural humour and energy elevates an inherently unique concept. Imagine your favourite movie star dishing out the latest information on your favourite movies or series! Truly fun and entertaining.”

Oh! The bit about the badge. I had collected it during the proceedings, and, to my horror, my surname was spelt SAYEED! Many others who had not collected it made a beeline, thinking it was to be some kind of gift, only to find that the only gift it had was their picture on it. Coming back to the mis-spelling of SYED as SAYEED on my badge, the person concerned could do with some badgering. If only I could find her…but I can always ask Varun. He will find her before anyone else! What Varun Dhawan say hold sway, that’s the way at APV Bay! Whaddya say?

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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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