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

Trailers for May 2020

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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Good Newwz, Review: Madame Ovary

Good Newwz, Review: Madame Ovary Apologies to Gustave Flaubert, whose French novel, Madame Bovary, lends itself to the headline for this review. The title was too punny to escape, what with his famous trial of 1857, on charges of obscenity, and the subsequent classification of the work as a classic of modern realism. Among those who made films on this subject are Jean Renoir, Vincente Minnelli, Claude Chabrol and David Lean, not to mention our own Ketan Mehta’s Maya Memsaab. Good Newwz ...

Spies in Disguise, Review: Walter, Pigeon and These Guys

Spies in Disguise, Review: Walter, Pigeon and These Guys You might say that being in disguise is an essential qualification of being spies, so why give your film an obvious title? There is a rhyme and reason. The spy in this film turns into a pigeon, no less, upon drinking a serum, invented by a teenager called Walter Beckett, and that is one hell of a disguise! Use of the plural is questionable, though, since there is only one spy in the picture, while the other guy in ‘disguise’...

Dabangg 3, Review: A Bad Dab at Bangg 3 theory

Dabangg 3, Review: A Bad Dab at Bangg 3 theory There must be a theory that if the first two instalments of Dabangg have worked, a third one must be attempted. The theory probably stipulates that this will work even if it has a skeleton in place of a story, that a host of insider jokes, tongue-in-cheek references to another superstar, repetition of dialogue and the smash hit song of the earlier two Bangs, will replicate box-office magic, that the directorial abilities of Prabhudeva will stitch...

Rangbaaz Phir Se on ZEE 5: Gangster saga shifts to Rajasthan

Rangbaaz Phir Se on ZEE 5: Gangster saga shifts to Rajasthan Season 2 of the web-series goes live on December 20, after a highly successful Season 1, which was launched almost exactly a year ago, on December 22, 2018. It topped viewership ratings for ZEE5, and a sequel was logically due for the flagship franchise. The nine episodes of Rangbaaz 1 starred Saqib Saleem, Ranvir Shorey, Tigmanshu Dhulia and Ravi Kishan. Rangbaaz was a ZEE5 original, a crime thriller, set against the rustic backdro...

Three plays at Jairangam Jaipur Fringes Theatre’s Mumbai Fest

Three plays at Jairangam Jaipur Fringes Theatre’s Mumbai Fest Meaning liberation, Mukkti (the extra k is discretionary) Cultural Hub has three auditoria, and two of them are contextually titled Nirvana and Azadi (freedom). The third is simply known as Mukkti Cultural Hub auditorium. This one and Nirvana were the venues for the Jairangam Jaipur Fringes Theatre Festival, Mumbai, held during December 15-17. Nirvana does not have fixed seats, while the Auditorium is like any regular drama ...

RIFF 2020: ‘Common Man’ Om Puri award to Anup Soni

RIFF 2020: ‘Common Man’ Om Puri award to Anup Soni Rajasthan International Film Festival (RIFF) founder Somendra Harsh has issued a press release revealing that the ‘Common Man in Cinema Award’ will be given to Anup Soni at RIFF 2020. It has been named in honour of late Om Puri, the versatile and amazing actor, who was a part of RIFF, since the first edition. Om Puri had said that he is the custodian of RIFF and will remain so even after he leaves this world. As such, ...

IFFI 50: IFFI delays and avoids recognising, honouring veteran journalists

  IFFI 50: IFFI delays and avoids recognising, honouring veteran journalists This is my 50th posting about IFFI 50, Panaji, Goa, November 20-28, 2019. It deals with an issue that is close to my heart, that of recognising and honouring veteran journalists who have attended 25 or more IFFIs and/or completed 50 years in film journalism. Having identified 14 such individuals, I call them IFFI Veteran Journalists’ Group (IVJG). Since 19 November 2019, I am campaigning to get them...

Jairangam Fringes Theatre Fest at Mukkti Cultural Hub, new centre for Theatre, Dance, Music and Visual Arts

Jairangam Fringes Theatre Fest at Mukkti Cultural Hub, new centre for Theatre, Dance, Music and Visual Arts Located near the Versova metro terminus, in Mumbai, the Mukkti Cultural Hub is a new location for artistes and audiences, where each and every one from all parts of Indian society can converge to experience and express arts culture. Since its opening in August 2019, it has become one of the sought after venues lately for showcasing the arts for the space-starved artistes in the city. T...

IFFI 50: ICFT UNESCO Gandhi Medal Jury

IFFI 50: ICFT UNESCO Gandhi Medal Jury A six-member jury deliberated over the entries for the ICFT-UNESCO Gandhi Medal, which went to the Italian film Rwanda, with a Special mention for the Indian entry, Bahattar Hoorain. There were seven entries. The jurors were Inoussa Ousseini, Konstantinos ‘Costa’ Gavras, Lola Poggi Goujon, Georges Dupont, Jasmina Bojic and Maria Mathe. His Excellency Inoussa Ousseni is the Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Niger to UNESCO as well as the...

IFFI 50: ICFT’s UNESCO Gandhi Medal

IFFI 50: ICFT’s UNESCO Gandhi Medal Georges Dupont, Director General, Paris-based International Council for Film Television and Audio-visual Communication (ICFT) and Project Manager, ICFT, Ms. Xueyuan Hun, addressed a press conference at IFFI 2019. “Movies are becoming more aggressive these days and that is good in a way, because now, people can see what actually happened and do not remain blind to their surroundings,” Mr. Dupont said. Ms. Xueyuan Hun spoke about the upcomi...

IFFI 50: ICFT’s UNESCO Gandhi Medal

IFFI 50: ICFT’s UNESCO Gandhi Medal Georges Dupont, Director General, Paris-based International Council for Film Television and Audio-visual Communication (ICFT) and Project Manager, ICFT, Ms. Xueyuan Hun, addressed a press conference at IFFI 2019. “Movies are becoming more aggressive these days and that is good in a way, because now, people can see what actually happened and do not remain blind to their surroundings,” Mr. Dupont said. Ms. Xueyuan Hun spoke about the upcomi...

IFFI 50: Homage to 13 Indian film personalities

IFFI 50: Homage to 13 Indian film personalities Under its Homage Section, IFFI 2019 screened films of actors, directors, writers, music composers, cinematographers, action directors and other prominent film personalities who are no longer with us. The films shown under this section were: AGNISAAN (1985) honoring late Biju Phukan Biju Phukan was an actor from Assam who appeared in more than 80 Assamese feature films. His debut film was ‘Dr. Bezbarua’ (1970). Though his first lead...

IFFI 50: Students enjoyed the films free

IFFI 50: Students enjoyed the films free Besides journalists and invitees, one more category of delegates enjoyed IFFI free of cost: students. And rightly so. Students of Film and Mass Communication from recognised institutions of India could apply and attend IFFI 2019, free of cost. This was a move that aimed to foster and nurture the love for movies and cinema among the youth of the nation. The film industry in India is an extensive one and it covers not just Bollywood, but also the talent ...

IFFI 50: BBC’s unique feat

IFFI 50: BBC’s unique feat BBC here does not refer to the British Broadcasting Corporation. It is the acronym of perhaps India’s biggest film festival buff, BrijBhushan Chaturvedi, a film journalist and a true veteran. IFFI 2019 marked the 50th edition of the International Film Festival of India, the first IFFI being held in 1952. One man was witness to that event, and also had the honour to attend IFFI 2019. This man was given the name ‘BBC’ by writer-producer-directo...

The Body, Review: No soul

The Body, Review: No soul A murder mystery that moves slickly and logically is a rarity, and The Body initially engages you on both counts. You don’t mind the apparent red herrings that it throws along the way, as you wait with bated breath to see it all unravel. There is a terrible sense of disappointment, though, for the herrings are not herrings, and, moreover, only one of them is red. The film unravels some five of the twenty knots it ties, leaving the remaining fifteen knots not un...

IFFI 50: The three encounters of Rashid Irani

IFFI 50: The three encounters of Rashid Irani Ex restaurateur turned full-time film-buff and much revered/feared critic, Rashid Irani’s IFFI 2019 was an event that he would like to forget for reasons other than the quality of films he saw at the festival. So keen was he to see the Oscar package that he went all the way to INOX Porvorim to catch these Academy Award-winning movies. Some of them were scheduled at 9 pm and were four hours long, which meant that he would reach his hotel in P...

RIFF 2020: Rahul Rawail to be conferred with Life-time Achievement Award

RIFF 2020: Rahul Rawail to be conferred with Life-time Achievement Award During the sixth edition of Rajasthan International Film Festival (RIFF), 18 to 22 January 2020, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India, famous director Rahul Rawail will be bestowed with the Life-time Achievement Award Like every year, this year too, the 6th edition of RIFF will be organised by Riff Film Club, in which films from India and abroad will be shown, on social issues. The opening ceremony of RIFF will be held on January 1...

Jumanji, The Next Level: Low level fare

Jumanji, The Next Level: Low level fare Jumanji was first released in 1995, at a time when video games were the new fad. Since then, the franchise has had three forays into filmdom. The latest one is titled The Next Level, but, ironically, it is a slide down to a new low. Amateurish and even puerile, this movie is probably aimed at pre-teens, but since pre-teenagers cannot be expected to perform such adult acts as are depicted, and the story has already established several grown-ups, and only...

IFFI 50: Those were the days

IFFI 50: Those were the days International Film Festival of India (IFFI) at 50 is a shortened, dry and sanitised version of what it used to be, till about a decade ago. The powers that be realised those days that a film festival should not be a rushed affair as far as film viewings go, and a film festival is a festival too. Film personalities, who travel up to 20,000 kms, to be at the event, deserve to be entertained and looked after, in real Indian hospitality style. Festivities were not con...

IFFI 50: The numbers game

IFFI 50: The numbers game In 2019, IFFI is celebrating its 50th edition. It’s a number, but in the life of a film festival, 50 is a big number. No, it is not the 50th year of IFFI, because it began in 1952. However, for the first 15 years or so, it remained an event that was held once in several years. Later, it became an annual affair, and by 2019, it had completed 50 editions. Celebrations were in order. And celebrate we did. Numbers can be a tricky thing, though. Let’s talk ab...

IFFI 50: Awry scheduling

IFFI 50: Awry scheduling When you are holding a competitive festival, the films in the Competition Section are the most important items in your showcase. Fill-buffs wait with bated breath to see who wins the awards at the closing function, which is scheduled at IFFI a full eight days after the inauguration. So, the suspense lasts eight days. In those eight days, if your interest is in the best of contemporary cinema, you make your own guesses, and compare your bests with the Jury’s ver...

IFFI 50: Media matters

IFFI 50: Media matters In an event like the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), the media matters. The event is organised by the Directorate of Film Festivals, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Central Government of India, in partnership with the Entertainment Society of Goa (ESG), a Goa Government initiative, with the Chief Minister of Goa being the Chairman of the body. Together, they spent over Rs. 40 crore (400 million) on IFFI 50, Panaji, Goa, November 20-28, 2019. This ...

IFFI 50: Meghna Gulzar is a very lazy writer

IFFI 50: Meghna Gulzar is a very lazy writer Film-maker Meghna Gulzar, screenwriters Juhi Chaturvedi, Pooja Ladha Surti, cinematographer, Modhura Palit and columnist Sumedha Verma Ojha spoke on Nuances and Process of Filmmaking at the In-conversation session in the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) Goa. The session was moderated by Indian film journalist and critic Madhureeta Mukherjee. Writer Juhi Chaturvedi, who has written films like Vicky Donor, Piku and October among others s...

IFFI 50: MIFF 2020 to offer Rs. 10 lakh as prize to best film

IFFI 50: MIFF 2020 to offer Rs. 10 lakh as prize to best film Festival Director, Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF as it is known globally), Mrs. Smita Vats Sharma called for the widest and biggest participation of film-makers and film lovers, for the 16th edition of the oldest and largest film festival for non-feature films in South Asia. Addressing a press conference at the golden jubilee edition of the International Film Festival of India, Mrs. Sharma, who is also the Director Gener...

IFFI 50: Mini movie maniacs awarded

IFFI 50: Mini movie maniacs awarded Here are the winners of the 72 hours Mini Movie Mania challenge, held in conjunction with the 50th IFFI, Panaji, Goa, 2019. A total of about Rs. 9 lakh (0.9 million) were distributed as prizes. MINI MOVIE MANIA – AWARDS (National Level) Awards Awardee Name of the Film Best Film PRASAD PANDURANG MAHEKAR Film : ADAGAL Best Dir...

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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.


Bandra West, Mumbai

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