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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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Indian film-writer, lyricist, Akhtar Romani no more

Indian film-writer, lyricist, Akhtar Romani no more A rare film-writer and lyricist from the Dawoodi Bohra community, Akhtar Romani (nom de plume) passed away today in Mumbai, his home for almost all his life. He was in his early eighties. His contemporaries at the Saint Xavier’s College, Bombay, included Vijay Anand (who was to direct classic films like Guide, Jewel Thief and Johnny Mera Naam), Mahendra Kapoor (one of India’s best known playback song singers) and Ameen Sayani (ra...

The Gallows, Review: Loose noose

The Gallows, Review: Loose noose All that The Gallows can claim as interesting is the premise. After that, it is pretty much like the death by hanging scene, with the film’s trap-door flipping open, and the film itself left hanging loose and lifeless. The premise is: Twenty years after an accident caused the death of the lead actor during a high school play, students at the same small-town American school resurrect the failed stage production, in a misguided attempt to honour the anniv...

Amy, Review: Alcohol, Drugs, Sex and all that JAZZ

Amy, Review: Alcohol, Drugs, Sex and all that JAZZ (a.k.a. Amy: The Girl Behind The Name) If you are a film-maker looking for a subject, a feature-length documentary on a recently deceased top-ranking female jazz-soul artiste, who had troubled relationships and died at 27, would be as good as it gets. Add to that the fact that extensive, excellent quality footage is available or obtainable, and you are in business. But, as is inevitably the case, the million-dollar questions faced by a docum...

Bezubaan Ishq, Review: Very little to say

Bezubaan Ishq, Review: Very little to say This silent, tongue-less (literal translation of the word Bezubaan; ishq means love) tale revolves around three middle-aged friends and their families. Mansukh Patel (Sachin Khedekar) is an NRI toy manufacturer residing with his British wife, Lisa (Alexandra Ashman) and daughter Rumjhum (Sneha Ullal) in London, UK. Though the Patels live in London, they haven't forgotten their Indian traditions and values. Mansukh's younger brother, Rashmikant...

Max, Review: Sane Max

Max, Review: Sane Max A Belgian Shepherd dog called Max, working as a bomb sniffer in Afghanistan with the Marines, returns from service, after his handler Kyle (Robbie Arnell) is killed during a manoeuvre. When told by Sergeant Reyes (Jay Hernandez) that the Marines might put him down on account of his crazed and violent behaviour, as a result of post-traumatic stress, the man’s devastated family adopts the dog. Over time, the dog ends up bonding with the late Marine’s troubled 1...

Terminator Genisys, Review: Old or obsolete?

Terminator Genisys, Review: Old or obsolete? Also known as Terminator 5 and released in Real D, 3D and IMAX 3D, Genisys is an elaborately written but largely uni-dimensional tale of the saga that poses the ‘eternal’ question: what if machines tried to take-over the world? By machines, it is meant humanoids, cyborgs, robots and other hybrids with almost unbeatable strength. Either ennui has set in, or the script is too convoluted and complex, or, frankly, the execution is not compe...

Me, Review: Compulsive Disorder

Me, Review: Compulsive Disorder With names like Adil Amaan and Preeti Ganguly associated with it, Me could have been worth a watch. The former, who plays a central character, is an acting graduate of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) from a mid-70s batch and an acting teacher for years. Currently, he’s the Head of the Department of Acting at the state run, prestigious, FTII. Preeti Ganguly, who is credited as co-writer, was Ashok Kumar’s daughter and an actor in he...

UVAA, Review: Yuvanile delinquents

UVAA, Review: Yuvanile delinquents It pains you when an apparently well-intentioned film, made with limited resources, pads it up with trivia and inconsequential trappings, thereby relegating the very issue it set out to highlight. UVAA is good example of undisciplined writing and inconsistent direction, which makes smart moves off and on, only to hit new lows regularly. The film is a tale of five teenage friends who are constantly up to mischief and pranks, sometimes of a serious nature, bu...

Insidious: Chapter 3, Review: The Man Who Can’t Breathe v/s Elise, the Psychic

Insidious: Chapter 3, Review: The Man Who Can’t Breathe v/s Elise, the Psychic A prequel to the Lambert haunting (Insidious: Chapters 1 and 2), Chapter 3 (3 precedes 1 and 2?) has a few moments that really put the fear of God into you, and some that need you to be an Insidious Insider to appreciate. A dysfunctional family, a psychic who has demons of her own to battle, a couple of tall-talking Paranormal Activity bloggers and a demon who haunts and snatches away pure souls into his unre...

Inside Out, Review: Animated emotions on a roller-coaster ride

Inside Out, Review: Animated emotions on a roller-coaster ride What if our emotions had lives of their own and operated like computer programmes, in their own make-believe world of fantasy and science-fiction? Inside Out personifies the feelings of a young girl and her parents and tries to manipulate their lives from inside their brains, without directly interfering, but subtly planting moods and reactions along the way. It has an interesting concept and some great technical wizardry to go wi...

Spy, Review: Mel iss a delight

Spy, Review: Mel iss a delight Spy thrillers have spawned spoofs by the dozen, ever since James Bond’s maiden foray, Dr. No. (We can discount the earlier Casino Royale). Almost all of them were done in the farce/slapstick style. Here comes one that is part satire, part tribute, but laced with original entertaining punches. In spite of a protagonist who is a literal heavy-weight, and some off-colour jokes, writer-director Paul Feig succeeds in making the audience root for her, like a reg...

CommunicAsia2015 X: Archiware--Data protection, Made in Germany

CommunicAsia2015 X: Archiware--Data protection, Made in Germany At the Made in Germany block, I was greeted by Julia Ries, Marketing Manager, who was manning the Archiware GmbH stall. Attractive Julia is also a good communicator, and soon my interest was aroused in the company’s data management and data protection product, Archiware P5. Digital media files are the lifeblood of any company relying on them for revenue generation. Whether it’s new files or digital rushes that have j...

CommunicAsia2015, IX: It’s a launch, It’s a deal!

CommunicAsia2015, IX: It’s a launch, It’s a deal! “We continuously aspire to deliver great, if not better, quality events as countries and regions make further inroads in their smart cities journey towards a hyper-connected digital world,” said Lindy Wee, Chief Executive of event organiser, Singapore Exhibition Services. Launches and Deals Announced at CommunicAsia, EnterpriseIT and BroadcastAsia 2015 Dell, Panasonic, Samsung and Sony, chose CommunicAsia, EnterpriseI...

CommunicAsia2015, VIII: Inaugural overview

CommunicAsia2015, VIII: Inaugural overview CommunicAsia2015, EnterpriseIT2015 and BroadcastAsia2015 opened its doors on 02 June 2015 at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. Spanning all five levels of the convention centre, a total of 35 international pavilions are present, including new groups from China, Norway, Romania, South Korea and Vietnam. “CommunicAsia, EnterpriseIT and BroadcastAsia continue to be the melting pot for the ICT and broadcasting industry in the Asia-Pacific region. By b...

CommunicAsia2015, VII: Getting HOOQed

CommunicAsia2015, VII: Getting HOOQed Peter Bithos, CEO, HOOQ Globe Telecom (Singtel), BroadcastAsia2015 International Conference speaker, shares his perspective on the OTT video industry in Asia. Bithos studied at University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School and has earlier worked with Virgin Mobile Australia (Singtel), Optus (SingTel), Bain & Co. “In the world of television and video, the days of the “off” switch are largely gone. With the rise of smart device owne...

CommunicAsia2015, VI: Singapore to the fore

CommunicAsia2015, VI: Singapore to the fore “Year on year, we have brought insights and innovations of the latest and best from around the world to the events. In line with industry trends of 5G, cloud, big data, IoT, security and more, the 2015 programme focussed on empowering smart businesses and cities for this world of global connectivity,” said Ms. Agnes Leung, Assistant Project Director, CommunicAsia & EnterpriseIT, Singapore Exhibition Services.  “Accessib...

CommunicAsia2015, V: Huawei and the smart city reality

CommunicAsia2015, V: Huawei and the smart city reality CommunicAsia2015 Summit speaker Barry Lerner of Huawei shared how innovation and technology are driving the Smart City reality. Barry Lerner is PE, Regional Chief Information Officer, Huawei Solutions Marketing, Southern Pacific Region, since November 2009. He was educated at University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Earlier he has worked with, BearingPoint Consulting, IBM, Accenture and is an active board member of Asia Cloud Computing Ass...

CommunicAsia2015, IV-Spotify: Let’s do it…legally

CommunicAsia2015, IV-Spotify: Let’s do it…legally In the lead-up to CommunicAsia 2015, Summit speaker, Sunita Kaur, Managing Director, Asia, Spotify, shared how going mobile helped her company gain an edge and grow five times in Asia Picture this: you are going on a long trip and will be spending at least two hours on the road. You begin downloading songs onto your mobile device and then a pop-up appears. “Memory full. Please manage your storage in Settings.” Online...

San Andreas, Review: Earth, fire, water, disaster

San Andreas, Review: Earth, fire, water, disaster Almost all disaster films rely on one or more of the following elements: earth (quake), fire (inferno), water (flood, tsunami, sharks, piranha), wind (hurricane, tornado) and virus (epidemic). Since all of them have been done to death, we now have a category of alien invasions and inter-galactic warfare that has become extremely popular over the last 25 years or so. One wonders how much longer will this one last, though many of the films based...

Maggie, Review: My daughter, the zombie!

Maggie, Review: My daughter, the zombie! First-time writer John Scott 3 and first-time director Henry Hobson’s humane zombie tale Maggie treats the genre differently and has many poignant moments. It is slow, hazy and morbid, though there are several interesting twists to this pandemic tale. Most of the world has been plagued by the Necroambulist virus that turns people into zombies/cannibals. Farmers have burnt down their fields and crops to prevent further contamination. Wade Vogel (...

Poltergeist, Review: Respect the dead, or…

Poltergeist, Review: Respect the dead, or… Dictionary meaning of Poltergeist: A ghost or other supernatural being, believed to be responsible for physical disturbances, such as making loud noises and throwing objects about. Mid 19th century: from German ‘Poltergeist’, from poltern= to 'create a disturbance' + geist 'ghost'. Poltergeist 2015 is a reboot and remake of producer and co-writer Steven Spielberg's and director Tobe Hooper's 1982 film of t...

Tomorrowland, Review: Human dystopia, robotic utopia

Tomorrowland, Review: Human dystopia, robotic utopia You could look at as a mammoth promo for Disneyland. That might mean great advertising but cinematic disappointment for those you have not visited the parks, and a sense of déjà vu for those who have. Instead, I suggest you watch Tomorrowland for the bedazzling effects and compelling performances, and you will imbibe a science fiction story with a twist, that is smoothly packaged and painstakingly executed. Walt Disney Pictur...

Big Game, Review: Game on

Big Game, Review: Game on Incredible and ambitious, Big Game is also warm and infectious. It is a good example of how some thoughtful writing can make a far-fetched premise convincing and exciting. Jalmari Helander, the Finnish film-maker who first made a splash with the controversial Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010), has adapted a 2013 novel by Petri Jokiranta and blended both Hollywood and northern Finland with bartender-like finesse. A hunting clan in Finland is initiating 13 year-ol...

Surkhaab, Review: Where are the feathers?

Surkhaab, Review: Where are the feathers? First things first: the title. It is an Urdu/Persian word, also part of Hindi, that means the ruddy sheldrake/shelduck bird. Literally translated, ‘surkh’ means red and ‘aab’ means water. There is a river in north-west Asia that is also called Surkhaab, which is easy to link to the meaning. The bird has rare type of feathers, and so, someone who has special qualities is said to be possessing 'surkhaab ke par' (surkhaab&...

FICCI FRAMES 2015, Part IV

Vanita Kohli Khandekar                                                                                                                                   Myleeta Aga FICCI F...

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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

India



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