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James Bond 007 No time to die 2020 Daniel Craig, Rami Malek

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Siraj Syed


Siraj Syed is the India Correspondent for FilmFestivals.com 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. 

 

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MIFF 2020: A lost homeland land and a new home

MIFF 2020: A lost homeland land and a new home Eight years and eighty lakhs is what it took USA-based music-video maker Sapna Bhavnani to make Sindhustan, 64-minute a labour of love, about the largest migration in history, that of Hindu Sindhis from Sind, now in Pakistan, to present day India. By contrast, Atanu Mukherjee’s 26-minute tale of a migrant single woman from Jabalpur who wants to settle in Mumbai, and her encounters with a transgender person, titled Wig, took just three days ...

MIFF 2020, Open Forum 2: “Viewers are willing to pay for docu content”

MIFF 2020, Open Forum 2: “Viewers are willing to pay for docu content” Documentaries rarely provide investment returns, let alone earning profits. But that is about to change, or has it changed already? This was discussed on Day 2 of the Open Forum, organised by the Indian Documentary Producers’ Association (IDPA), under the topic, ‘Generating Avenues and Creating Revenues.’ Moderated by Ravi Iyer (Executive Committee Member, IDPA), the panel consisted of Manika ...

MIFF 2020, Twin Press Conferences: Son Rise and Shevanti

MIFF 2020, Twin Press Conferences: Son Rise and Shevanti Two film units held a joint press conference at MIFF on the 29th of January, representing the films Son Rise and Shevanti. Both films were the first two to be screened earlier in the National Competition Section. Vibha Bakshi, director of Son Rise, described her film as dealing with social empowerment and about ordinary men doing extraordinary things. It is dedicated to the incredible people of Haryana and is not about men v/s women. R...

Kaanchli—Life in a Slough, Review: Slough and unsteady loses the race

Kaanchli—Life in a Slough, Review: Slough and unsteady loses the race Probably the only thing going for Kaanchli is the fact that it is based on a Vijaydan ‘Bijji’ Detha story. Detha inspired the films Duvidha (directed by Mani Kaul), which was remade as Paheli (Amol Palekar), Charandas Chor (Habeeb Tanveer), Lajwanti (Pushpendra Singh) and Parinati (Prakash Jha). The much decorated author died in 2013, after writing some 800 short stories, all in Rajasthani, often translate...

MIFF 2020, Open Forum, Day 1: Single window clearance needed

MIFF 2020, Open Forum, Day 1: Single window clearance needed On the first day of the Open Forum, conducted by the Indian Documentary Producers’ Association (IDPA), at MIFF 2020, the topic was ‘Problems Faced by Film-makers While Shooting in India: What are the solutions?’ IDPA was represented by President Usha Deshpande, Vice-President Aditya Seth (moderator), Suresh Sharma (Executive Committee Member and panelist) and Sanskar Desai (Secretary). Others on the panel were US-...

MIFF 2020: Meet V. Shantaram Lifetime awardee Dr. S. Krishnaswamy

MIFF 2020: Meet V. Shantaram Lifetime awardee Dr. S. Krishnaswamy Honoured with the Dr. V. Shantaram Award for Lifetime Achievement, during the inaugural ceremony of MIFF 2020, at Nehru Centre, on January 28, S. Krishnaswamy spoke to filmfestivals.com, shortly afterwards, at the Films Division Complex. It was a nostalgic moment for Dr. S. Krishnaswamy. Had fate willed otherwise, he would have joined Films Division (FD) during the tenure of Chief Producer K.L. Khandpur (1962-68) and served in...

16th MIFF: A doc, a short and an animation film set the ball rolling

16th MIFF: A doc, a short and an animation film set the ball rolling Three films were screened at the inaugural ceremony of the 16th Mumbai International Film Festival, MIFF 2020, on 28th January, 2020, at the Nehru Centre, Worli, Mumbai. Since the festival screens documentaries, short fiction films and animation films, it was quite apt that one representative film from each genre was showcased last evening. Regular screenings began on 29th January. Rhyme and Rhythm of Loom (from the Special...

RIFF 2020, VIII: Ratings of films seen at the 6th Rajasthan International Film Festival, Jaipur, 18-23 January

RIFF 2020, VIII: Ratings of films seen at the 6th Rajasthan International Film Festival, Jaipur, 18-23 January Film Country Category Director Rating Midnight Delhi, India, Short, Rakesh Rawat: ** ½ Mooso, India, Feature, Deepankar Prakash: *** ½ Lihaaf, India, Feature, Rahat Kazmi: *** Oxygen, India, Feature,Shoib Nikash Shah: ** ½ Six-6 (Chhe), India, Short, DilipV. Sood: ** Mai Ghat: Crime No. 103/2005, India, Feature, Ananth Naraya...

RIFF, 7: Films, Knowledge Series and Open Forum

RIFF, 7: Films, Knowledge Series and Open Forum At the inaugural function of the Sixth Rajasthan International Film Festival (RIFF), on 18th January, 2020, at the Open-Air Jawahar Kala Kendra, the following films were screened: My Turn (Korea), Kalamkhush, #Jaipuractivists and Dhanak (all from India). Regular screenings and other sessions commenced at Cinépolis, Jaipur, on the second day, the 19th of January, 2020. Films screened during the morning session were Chitthiyan, Pearl-A Girl...

Jai Mummy Di, Review: Absence of substance

Jai Mummy Di, Review: Absence of substance Two middle-aged women hate each other for reasons unknown to their spouses and their children. One of them as two sons and the other has a daughter. In a modern day, pretentious comic re-working of Romeo and Juliet, the elder son of one of them and the daughter of the other are madly in love with each other, a fact that they have kept secret from their parents. Jai Mummy Di is for audiences who find this premise and its manifestations really funny, a...

1917, Review: One shot wonder, real-time revolution

1917, Review: One shot wonder, real-time revolution War films can be about nations and nationalism, or soldiers and their sagas. While the former promote jingoism, the latter tend to be anti-war, by personalising the narrative and addressing personal trauma of the protagonists, while universalising their sentiments. 1917 belongs to the second category. It is a technical marvel, but never wavers from the plight of its main characters. All the awards and encomiums it has garnered, raising expec...

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Review: A rewarding day at the movies

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Review: A rewarding day at the movies Films inspired by true stories can offer refreshingly different cinematic treatment and there is no substitute for good casting; A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood scores on both parameters. What prevents it from getting into the outstanding league is a certain amount of cynicism with which the average cine-goer looks at movies about modern-day saints, especially if they happen to host their own TV shows. Inspired by...

RIFF 2020: Second and final list of films released

RIFF 2020: Second and final list of films released Jaipur: 13 January 2020: The 6th edition of Rajasthan International Film Festival (RIFF) will be organised by RIFF Film Club from Saturday, 18 January, to Wednesday, 22 January, 2020 at Jawahar Kala Kendra and Cinépolis, World Trade Park, JLN Marg, Jaipur, on the theme of 5 Years of RIFF & 150 Years of Mahatma Gandhi. The second list of films to be screened during the festival has been released, which includes the short film Wave,...

Dolittle, Review: Only a veterinarian can save the Queen

Dolittle, Review: Only a veterinarian can save the Queen Imagine a veterinarian doctor who can understand animal language and talk to any member of the animal, bird and fish kingdom. When translated to cinema, as in Dolittle, this story creates a dramatic premise where his unique ability would prove crucial in an effort to save the dying Queen of England, no less. It’s as preposterous a premise as the basic platform itself, but, nevertheless, adds to the cuteness value of the whole exer...

Bunker, Review: Half-baked war debunker

Bunker, Review: Half-baked war debunker You have to concede that the premise is brave. The makers describe Bunker as India’s first anti-war film, and it is being released at a time when war mongers are itching for all out military action against Pakistan. Laudable and lofty ambitions, however, seldom translate into cinematic excellence, and we have one more case in point. Skeletal and simplistic, Bunker fails to grow beyond its own line of control. Lieutenant Vikram Singh is the lone s...

RIFF 2020: List of films to be screened

RIFF 2020: List of films to be screened Somendra Harsh and Anshu Harsh, Managing Trustees of RIFF Film Club and Founders of Rajasthan International Film Festival, told filmfestivals.com that actresses Zareen Khan, Tannishtha Chatterjee and Anushka Sen will attend RIFF 2020. RIFF's inauguration ceremony will be held on 18 January 2020 at 5 PM at Open Theatre, Jawahar Kala Kendra, Jaipur and the awards and closing ceremony will be held on 22 January, also at the Open Theatre, Jawahar Kala K...

RIFF 2020: South Korea to be Focus Country, director Mo Young Jin to be honoured

RIFF 2020: South Korea to be Focus Country, director Mo Young Jin to be honoured South Korea will be the Focus Country of the 6th edition of the Rajasthan International Film Festival, 2020. South Korea's short film Naye Chale (My Turn, Kim Na-kyung, 2017) will be RIFF 2020 opening film. Korean Film Director Mo Young Jin and Korean Culture Center Director Kim Kum Pyoung will be present at RIFF's Opening Ceremony. Korean Documentary Film Director Mo Young Jin will be awarded with the...

Tanhaji-The Unsung Warrior, Review: Leap of faith

Tanhaji-The Unsung Warrior, Review: Leap of faith High on spectacle and CGI, Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior is a 3D extravaganza that taps nationalistic fervour, digging into history, and re-tracing a glorious chapter from the life and times of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.  Patriotism is not a recent ideal, and the 17th century is fairly recent for a country that was home to the Indus Valley Civilisation. Generous liberties are taken with the story, as is the norm in biopics, either to fill...

Chhapaak, Review: Aesthetic and prosthetic

Chhapaak, Review: Aesthetic and prosthetic Laxmi Agarwal had acid thrown on her face and body in 2005. She survived, and lived to identify the attackers. What’s more, she succeeded in getting amendments made in the Indian Penal Code that recognise acid attacks as a separate category, and increasing the maximum penalty for the crime from seven years to ten years. India’s Supreme Court also ruled that the sale of acid should be regulated. So why has Meghna Gulzar made a film on her ...

New Amazon Prime series remembers The Forgotten Army

New Amazon Prime series remembers The Forgotten Army While Mahatma Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was leading a non-violent agitation against India’s British rulers, Netaji Subhashchandra Bose headed an army, the Indian National Army (INA/Azad Hind Fauj) outside India, an army that battled colonial forces on the Singapore-Thailand-Myanmar route and reached India’s North-Eastern Border, near Imphal, before being pushed back and defeated. Bose himself is reported to have died in an air...

Malang’s action-packed trailer released

Malang’s action-packed trailer released An action-packed trailer of the forthcoming film Malang was released at PVR multiplex, Juhu, Mumbai, today, exactly one month before the scheduled release of the film. The film stars Anil Kapoor, Aditya Roy Kapur, Disha Patani and Kunal Khemu, and is directed by Mohit Suri, who helmed Ek Villain and Aashiqui 2. It is produced by Bhushan Kumar, Kishan Kumar (of the T-Series banner), Luv Ranjan, Ankur Garg and Jay Shewakramani. Speaking on the occa...

Chhapaak song released with a splash bash

Chhapaak song released with a splash bash Exactly a week before the film’s release, the makers of Chhapaak released the title track at a media get-together held on Friday afternoon, at the JW Marriott Hotel, Juhu, Mumbai. Present on the occasion were Gulzar, Meghna Gulzar, Deepika Padukone, Vikrant Massey, Shankar Mahadevan, Ehsaan Noorani and Loy Mendonca. Chhapaak, the word, means the sound created when a liquid is splashed, is a film about a woman who had acid splashed on her face, ...

Sab Kushal Mangal, Review: Well, well!

Sab Kushal Mangal, Review: Well, well! Marriages at gunpoint are something of a norm in Bihar and Jharkhand, the latter having been a part of Bihar. On the movie screen too, such marriages have provided fodder for a few ventures, very recently in Jabariya Jodi. It is a burning societal problem that joins usually unwilling grooms in married unity, with a girl they have never seen or met before. The practice prevails because parents of educated grooms-to-be demand dowry that runs into seven fig...

Shimla Mirchi, Review: Chilly? Don't be silly!

Shimla Mirchi, Review: Chilly? Don't be silly! Several highs dot the career graph of director Ramesh Sippy, right from his debut in 1971 as a 24 year-old, with the remake of A Man and a Woman (Claude Lelouch, France, 1966) under the title, Andaz. Crests include Seeta Aur Geeta, Sholay and Buniyaad (TV series), relative high points were reached with Saagar and Shakti, and troughs bogged him down when he attempted Shaan, Bhrashtachar, Akayla and Zamaana Diwana. Completed 19 years after Zama...

The Grudge, Review: Grudging a sequel

The Grudge, Review: Grudging a sequel A horror film has to deliver high voltage terror that not only reaches the benchmark set by recent movies in the genre but rise above it, if it hopes to make significant impact. It can use tropes like jump-cuts and four-frame cuts to jolt you, yet there has to be enough juice to hold the film together and tap the fear factor recurrently, for 90-120 minutes. The Grudge fails on these counts, though it must be granted, without any grudge, that it is welcomi...

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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 FilmFestivals.com 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.


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