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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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RIFF: Second list of films released

Rajasthan International Film Festival : Second list of films released; check our previous release Somendra Harsh, Director and Founder of the Rajasthan International Film Festival (RIFF), today released the second list of films to be screened at the event, which takes place in the state capital, Jaipur, during January 19-23. The films include: TV Actor Ashish Sharma (of Rajasthan) starrer Khejdi, by Rachita Films, about a transgender person, Directed by Rohit Dwivedi ...

Tashi, made with a 5-member cast and a 5-member crew, for $25,000, proves auspicious

Tashi, made with a 5-member cast and a 5-member crew, for $25,000, proves auspicious Tashi means 'auspiciousness' or 'good fortune' in the Tibetan language, and the first time I heard this word was when I was introduced to an actress from the north-east of India, with this name. This time, I find it to be the name of a film, made by a Keralite Indian woman, living in Singapore. The film has been shown at 14 festivals and has won 11 awards, so far. That sure is auspicious, by a...

RIFF selections

RIFF selections Here are some of the films selected for the Rajasthan International Film Festival, Jaipur, January 19-23: Short Film "#AkhbaarWala (The #Newspaper #Vendor)" India, | Hindi | 14 min, Directors: #AnandSinghChouhan & #Sayed Sharafat Ali, Produced by #DS Chauhan. Hindi Short Film "#BLURRED" India l Hindi | 16 min Director: #Raghav Sharma & #Madhav Bairathi, Produced by #Devansh Ahuja. Short Film "#Adhura Antariksha" India...

Diorama encouraged by Rahul Rawail, Shaji Karun

Diorama encouraged by Rahul Rawail, Shaji Karun The first Diorama International Film Festival (DIFF) will be held from the 14th to the 20th of January, 2019, at the Siri Fort Auditoria, New Delhi. Here’s how and why the organisers came up with this uncommon name: The word "diorama" originated in 1823 as a type of picture-viewing device, from the French, in 1822. The word literally means "through that which is seen", from the Greek di- "through" + orama &q...

15 years after its last IFFI, Delhi gets its Diorama

15 years after its last IFFI, Delhi gets its Diorama After hosting the 34th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in October 2003, Delhi lost its place to Panaji, Goa, which is the venue for IFFIs since then, beginning with the 35th, in November-December 2004. One man who was associated with several editions of IFFI Goa, first as Deputy Director in the Directorate of Film Festivals (DFF), Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, and later as the CEO of the Entertainment Society of Goa ...

5th Rajasthan International Film Festival’s poster unveiled

5th Rajasthan International Film Festival’s poster unveiled Rajasthan’s Tourism Minister, Mr. Vishvendra Singh, launched the poster of the 5th Rajasthan International Film Festival (RIFF) today at the Ministry’s Secretariat. The festival will take place from the19th to the 23rd of January. On this occasion, Somendra Harsh, founder of the festival, Anshu Harsh, Director of the Festival, and member of the Advisor Committee and Chairman of the Forti Women’s Wing, Ranoo N...

Half Songs, Review: Melodies of nostalgia, dew-drops of sublime love

Half Songs, Review: Melodies of nostalgia, dew-drops of sublime love A simple tale, with few characters, executed with wholesome grace, Half Songs strikes a chord with its theme of incomplete, or ‘half’, human relations and endeavours, in the backdrop of modern urban life, juxtaposed with an era just gone by. A fresh, new team brings a dew-drop quality to the images and performances. No real hero or heroine, no comedian, no villain, no real character actor, no item numbers, but ye...

Cinestaan’s second storytellers script contest accepting entries till 22 January 2019

Cinestaan’s second storytellers script contest accepting entries till 22 January 2019 Rs. 25,00,000 prize to the winner and another Rs. 2,50,000 to be shared among four Runners Up—a total of Rs. 50,00,000 (US$714,000, approx..) are on offer in Cinestaan’s second storytellers script contest. The application fee is a mere Rs. 1,500. In addition to the prize money for the winners, there is an initiative of Cinestaan Digital Pvt. Ltd. (CDPL): once you are part of the Cinestaan ...

Simmba, Review: Slo mo shun

Simmba, Review: Slo mo shun It would be unrealistic to expect anything but action comedies from director Rohit Shetty, showcasing bad guys turning good guys along the line, with tons of slow motion action, having the protagonist landing blow after blow, and the goons rotating before landing on the floor or table or chair or cupboard or door or window or car or cycle or motor-cycle or truck or hand cart or whatever. This time around, the theme, ostensibly, is the heinous crime of rape, with t...

RIFF 2019 releases first list of films to be screened

RIFF 2019 releases first list of films to be screened Founder of Rajasthan International Film Festival (RIFF), (Jaipur, January 19-23), Somendra Harsh, said today that in this five-day event, film screenings, seminars, workshops, knowledge series and a film market will be organised. The festival will screen feature films, short films, documentary films and animation films. On the last day of the festival, RIFF Award Night 2019 will be held on, in which the best film artistes will be honored. ...

Rajasthan International Film Festival coming up

Rajasthan International Film Festival coming up Rajasthan International Film Festival (RIFF), named after the north-western state of India where it is held, endeavours to impart a novel identity to world cinema, through conducting film festivals in the state-capital city of Jaipur every year. It is now in its fifth year. RIFF will continue to work in areas concerning technical and academic aspects of cinema. Film-buffs can earmark January 19-23, 2019, in their new year diaries, to be there, a...

Indo-BanglaDesh co-production Meenalap wins Best Short Film Award at the 17th TEAFF

Indo-BanglaDesh co-production Meenalap wins Best Short Film Award at the 17th TEAFF There was only one competitive section at the 17th Third Eye Asian Film Festival (TEAFF), held during December 14-20, in Mumbai: The short film section. 24 films competed. They ranged in duration from 4 mins. to 30 mins. A jury comprising Premendra Mazumder (film society veteran, journalist and FIPRESCI* member), Menasha Shedde (journalist, curator and FIPRESCI member) and Rekha Deshpande (journalist, author ...

17th Third Eye Asian Film Festival screened 32 features, 24 shorts

17th Third Eye Asian Film Festival screened 32 features, 24 shorts Mumbai’s 17th Third Eye Asian Film Festival (TEAFF), held during December 14-20 at the Citylight Cinema in Central-North Mumbai, was a single venue venture, having five shows a day, at 10.30 a.m., 12 noon, 2.45 p.m., 4.45 p.m. and 7.30 p.m. At five shows a day, 32 features were accommodated, while three show slots were allotted to short films, on the second, third and fourth day respectively. During the 2 p.m.-2.45 p.m....

Third Eye Asian Film Festival moves to new, bigger, better venue

Third Eye Asian Film Festival moves to new, bigger, better venue In its 17th edition, the Third Eye Asian Film Festival (TEAFF) chose to move to Citylight, a single screen cinema located in Matunga/Mahim West, Central Mumbai. Before the multiplex era, Citylight used to be a regular, medium-capacity theatre, which was demolished to make way for an office complex, some years ago. However, the owners retained space on the upper levels to include a cinema, with a capacity of 250 seats. It is not...

Ben is Back, Review: Super Mom’s benediction v/s Son’s drug addiction

Ben is Back, Review: Super Mom’s benediction v/s Son’s drug addiction Ben, the titular character, is a nineteen year-old boy who’s come back home for a Christmas visit from his rehabilitation centre. A hardcore drug addict, he has been clean for long enough to earn his holiday. Yet, his visit is going to hurtle his family into a crisis they could never have imagined. Ben is Back is not the routine drug-mafia/gang-war film. Instead, it is a thoroughly watchable hearts and min...

The Possession of Hannah Grace: Show me demoney

The Possession of Hannah Grace: Show me demoney A scary movie that does not scare can do little else. As the title suggests, the film is about the possession of a woman called Hannah Grace, though there is no reason or logic given behind the possession. In an 85-minute film, you can count the frightening scenes on the fingers of one palm. Originally titled Cadaver, the supernatural film was made under $10 million, and in spite of low merits, it might even end-up making some money. A woman ca...

Mortal Engines, Review: Municipal Darwinism in a dystopian future

Mortal Engines, Review: Municipal Darwinism in a dystopian future Charles Darwin’s theory of survival of the fittest is taken to its logical conclusion in the future, where mini cities stand on mobile machines that serve as crushers and gobblers of smaller ones, appropriating their resources and enslaving the captured populace. The process is called Municipal Darwinism, and no one is safe. Slick and deeply disturbing, Mortal Engines is thought-provoking viewing and full of metaphors. T...

Spiderman, Into the Spider-verse: Spiderman is dead; long live Spidermen

Spiderman, Into the Spider-verse: Spiderman is dead; long live Spidermen “I love you” yells PDNY cop Jefferson Davis, to his son Miles, as he drops him off to school. After a few seconds, he insists that Miles yell back, “You gotta say I love you back.” Miles, the would-be new Spiderman, finds this awkward, and asks, “Are you serious?” and when his Dad says “I want to hear it”, he yells back, “I love you, Dad.” On his police-car PA s...

IFFI 2018, VIII: Ratings

IFFI 2018, VIII: Ratings At the 49th IFFI, Goa, November 20-28, 2018, I caught 29 films: 28 features and one short. Not bad, considering one can watch up to 40 films in theory. If some press conferences, one Master Class and some dinners have to be squeezed in, not to mention the Open Forum that I moderated and the lunch that followed, 29 is not a low figure at all. Sadly, I had to walk out of as many as eight of them, after giving each one of them 20-30 minutes to warm-up. My highest rating...

IFFI 2018, VII: What it was and what it could have been

IFFI 2018, VII: What it was and what it could have been In its 49th edition, the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) was a damp squib. It could have been a glorious run-up to the 50th edition celebrations next year; instead, we had many disgruntled delegates and media-persons and serious mismanagement. In fact, many regulars decided to give the fest a miss this year, making me wonder whether they had a premonition that it would be so dull. Here are 25 observations that need to be loo...

IFFI 2018, VI: Meet Canadian cinematographer Pierre Gill

IFFI 2018, VI: Meet Canadian cinematographer Pierre Gill “I hope I get to work in India soon as I am amazed by some technically complex movies from India,” said Cinematographer Pierre Gill at a press conference held on 26 November 2018 as part of the 49th International Film Festival of India (IFFI). Gill continued, “My passion for cinema comes mostly from storytelling. Storytelling makes me dream. A good story or good script brings out the creativity in me. It’s a pr...

IFFI 2018, V: Promoting Jharkhand as a film-making destination

IFFI 2018, V: Promoting Jharkhand as a film-making destination The 24th of November was a day dedicated to Jharkhand at the 49th International Film Festival of India (IFFI). The scenic state, bestowed with rugged hills, dense forests and mesmerising waterfalls, got a much-needed impetus as a film shooting destination when dignitaries came together to celebrate ‘Jharkhand Day’ at IFFI. Governor of Goa, Ms. Mridula Sinha; Shri Amar Kumar Bauri, Tourism Minister, Government of Jhark...

IFFI 2018, IV: To the Desert

IFFI 2018, IV: To the Desert The inspiration for ‘To the Desert’ came from a true news story I had read, about kidnapping in Patagonia. The film uses real-life settings of abandoned houses, employing thereby a documentary approach to film-making. It was an opportunity for me to get involved in the exotic landscape of Patagonia. - Ulises Rosell, Director The shooting for the movie was quite difficult as the weather conditions were hard; I always wanted to show Patagonia on the ci...

IFFI 2018, III: India’s Film Facilitation Office portal launched

IFFI 2018, III: India’s Film Facilitation Office portal launched India, a land of stories and a melting pot of emotions, narrates itself through breathtaking landscapes. It expresses itself via age-old, man-made splendours, like the Taj Mahal, the mythological narratives at the Ghats of River Ganges, and the cultural clans of the Seven Sister states in the North-East of India. A Film Facilitation Office (FFO), set up by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, has been working t...

IFFI 2018, II: The Aspern Papers was the Opening Film

IFFI 2018, II: The Aspern Papers was the Opening Film The Aspern Papers was the opening film of IFFI 2018, the 49th International Film Festival of India, Panaji, Goa, November 20-28, also marking its world première. Team Aspern got to address the first press conference of the festival, held at the Media Centre at the ground floor of the old Goa Medical College (GMC) building. “It is a real honour for me to be in India, to present my film at this prestigious festival” said ...

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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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