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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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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...

IFFI 50: Complexities of the complex

IFFI 50: Complexities of the complex As a film festival that wants to vie with the best in the world, the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) needs a regular festival complex. It does not have one. IFFI moved to Panaji, Goa, in 2004, a good 15 years ago. To facilitate this move from Delhi to Goa, the then Chief Minister, late Manohar Parrikar, leased out land to the INOX group of multiplexes, and a four screen cinema hall was built in a record 100 days. The Goa government also acquire...

IFFI 50: Maker Madhur Bhandarkar’s Master Class on social perspective

IFFI 50: Maker Madhur Bhandarkar’s Master Class on social perspective Thursday, 21st November, 2019, morning, saw many a film buff heading for the Masterclass on Master’s Social Perspective, held with  National Award winner and Padma Shri (civilian honour) Awardee Madhur Bhandarkar, and moderated by well know film trade analyst and critic, Taran Adarsh. The session started with the felicitation of Madhur Bhandarkar and Taran Adarsh, by Satyendra Prakash, Director General, Bu...

IFFI 50: Some people will work, some will bless—Rohit Shetty

IFFI 50: Some people will work, some will bless—Rohit Shetty The last session at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) Goa ended with a bang with blockbuster director Rohit Shetty, moderated by senior journalist and film critic Mayank Shekhar. “I have been here before. This is my second time. I was given the State Honour before. I have shot 12 films here. 14 years ago, I shot Golmaal 1here. People are very positive here, the landscape is very beautiful,” Rohit sai...

IFFI 50: Ceremonial closing

IFFI 50: Ceremonial closing As the sun set over the river Mandovi in Goa, on the 28th of November, 2019, the 50th edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) rolled out the red carpet for the closing ceremony. The spectacular, star studded closing ceremony brought the nine day festivities of 200 odd screenings, master classes, in-conversation sessions, and more, to a fitting climax. Gracing the valedictory ceremony, Babul Supriyo, Union Minister of State for Environment, Fores...

IFFI 50: Press conferences of Gautam Halder and Pankaj Johar

IFFI 50: Press conferences of Gautam Halder and Pankaj Johar Nirvana depicts Ramkrishna Paramhansa’s teaching, “Joto mot, toto poth meaning,” there are more than one ways of attaining salvation: Filmmaker Gautam Halder Gautam Halder, a National award winning Bengali director, spoke about his film Nirban, that deals with rising above petty prejudices and finding nirvana at a Press Conference held on 28th November 2019, the last day of IFFI, at Panaji Goa, "In today'...

Pati Patni Aur Woh, Review: Eternal try angle

Pati Patni Aur Woh, Review: Eternal try angle Same title, same production house, same concept, yet Pati Patni Aur Woh is nothing like its 1978 original. Crucial elements like the ‘woh’ (she) being the protagonist’s secretary and the lead couple having a son are missing in this 2019 ‘remake’. Yet, the film works quite well, and if such a brazenly adult theme can avoid becoming a bedroom farce, while delineating the plot on a tight-rope walk, there must be somethi...

Inside Edge 2: There’s many a snick between the bat and slip

Inside Edge 2: There’s many a snick between the bat and slip Inside Edge, the first original foray on to the digital platform in India by Amazon Prime, returns tomorrow with its Season 2. Based on cricket and the wheels within wheels of its glamorous, short, fast 20-20 overs or T-20 version, its first season brought in an international Emmy nomination. Now, with Season 2 out on December 06, 12 am Indian Standard Time, the makers, Ritesh Sidhwani and Farhan Akhtar of Excel Entertainment,...

IFFI 50: Winners all

IFFI 50: Winners all Here is a list of award winners at IFFI 2019, Panaji, Goa, India, November 20-28, 2019: Golden Peacock: Particles, Directed by Blaise Harrison and Producer Estelle Fialon, also a cash prize of Rs 40 lakh (4 million)    Best Debut Film/Silver Peacock: Monsters, by Marius Olteanu and Abou Leila by Amin Sidi-Boumediene (tie). Award also carries prize money of Rs. 10 lakh (1 million). IFFI Best Actor Award (Male): Seu Jorge, for his role in Marighella. A Sil...

Gujarat 11, Review: Mardaani meets Chak De! India, but misses goal

Gujarat 11, Review: Mardaani meets Chak De! India, but misses goal Drawing inspiration from the 2007 hockey film Chak De! India and blending it with the 2014 female cop action-thriller Mardaani, Gujarat 11 is the first sports film in the Gujarati language. It is not about hockey, but football, and the team that is cobbled together by the cop turned coach is definitely not the Gujarat 11. Rather, it is a team consisting of boys under 18, picked from juvenile delinquent homes, to make a winning...

IFFI 50: Entertainment, Meaning and Magic are three layers of Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s films--Maysam Makhmalbaf

IFFI 50: Entertainment, Meaning and Magic are three layers of Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s films--Maysam Makhmalbaf Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s Marghe and Her Mother, the closing film at IFFI 2019, is a very realistic film, incorporating elements of Italian Neo-realism and Iranian New wave Second generation, as it tries to show how the lives of Claudia and her daughter Marghe change due to economic troubles, said Maysam Makhmalbaf, son of the reputed director. Maysam is producer, editor and DOP of...

IFFI 50: Ilaiyaraaja mesmerises at Master Class

IFFI 50: Ilaiyaraaja mesmerises at Master Class Legendary music composer Ilaiyaraaja was at IFFI 2019 for a Masterclass, moderated by none other than a reputed director, R. Balki (Balakrishnan) himself. The music composer entered amidst loud cheering and clapping…audiences got up in respect for the master, and then Ilaiyaraaja mesmerised people with his conversation and his music. “Music has power. Just put a close up of an actor without any expression. We can put expression wi...

IFFI 50: Open Forum debates benefits of digital distribution for independent film-makers

IFFI 50: Open Forum debates benefits of digital distribution for independent film-makers The 50th edition of IFFI held an Open Forum on the 27th of November, 2019. The topic debated in the session was: whether independent producers are benefiting because of digital distribution or not. Speakers on the panel were renowned film-makers Shaji N. Karun, Rahul Dholakia (Parzania and Raees fame), famous editor Carol Littleton (ET), Ujwal Nirgudkar, Technical Advisor to IFFI, wildlife film-maker S...

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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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