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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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FICCI FRAMES 2015, Part IV

Vanita Kohli Khandekar                                                                                                                                   Myleeta Aga FICCI F...

FICCI FRAMES 2015, Part III

FICCI FRAMES 2015, Part III Shooting for the Stars India could well become global entertainment super-power, if key catalysts, such as flawless and timely execution of policies and interventions at a local level like speeding-up permissions for multiplexes, live events and film shoots, are put in place by the government. For the Indian media and entertainment players, it is imperative to have tailored content strategies for global, national and local audiences (India has dozens of local lan...

FICCI FRAMES 2015, Part II

FICCI FRAMES 2015, Part II At the inaugural session of FICCI FRAMES 2015, the government of India held out the assurance that it would address upfront the challenges before the media and entertainment sector, such as emerging technologies giving way to new media platforms, great diversification of content, industry trying out new business and revenue models and the fact that today every youngster was keen on installing and using mobile phone applications. “These are exciting times for ...

FICCI FRAMES 2015, Part I

                                                                               FICCI FRAMES 2015, Part I Hotel Renaissance in Powai, Mumbai, an area that can well be called the ‘lake district’, was once again the venue where thought leaders, entrepreneurs, creative artistes ...

Danny Collins, Review: Letter and spirit

Danny Collins, Review: Letter and spirit  Dan Fogelman, in his feature directorial debut, gives ample evidence of a truly fertile imagination that builds an edifice on an apparently flimsy premise. Considering he’s the man who wrote Crazy, Stupid, Love; Tangled and Cars, this should not come as a surprise. After all, a good screenplay means convincing fiction, doesn’t it? Almost anything can trigger a film script: a news item, a book, a biography, a personal experience, or, a...

Hot Pursuit, Review: Cool comic caper

Hot Pursuit, Review: Cool comic caper A go-by-the-book cop from San Antonio, Rose Cooper (Reese Witherspoon), who has a reputation for inefficiency and low intelligence, is assigned by Captain Emmett (John Carroll Lynch) to escort a murderous drug baron, Vicente Cortez (Joaquín Cosio)’s lieutenant, Felipe Riva (Vincent Caresca), and his wife Daniella (Sofia Vergara) to a court in Texas, where they are to testify against him. As soon as she arrives at the house, with her police co...

Playing it Cool, Review: He’s in love, she has a lover

Playing it Cool Justin Reardon’s debut film Convention started in 2011, but has yet to reach cinemas. His second effort, A Many Splintered Thing, began shooting in 2012, and we now have it released as Playing It Cool. If I were to choose between the two titles, I would find A Many Splintered Thing more interesting and cool, in spite of the obvious pun on Splendoured. Incidentally, the splintered line is actually used in the film. Playing it Cool is a drab title. Chris Evans’ char...

Gabbar is Back, Review: No, he’s not

Gabbar is Back, review: No, he’s not In his first incarnation, he was called Ramana. When the Tamil film was remade in Telugu, they called it Tagore. Then came the Kannada version, called Vishnu Sena (deriving its title from the lead actor, the late VishnuVardhan). Now, 13 years after the first film, we have a fourth version, called Gabbar is Back, starring Akshay Kumar, and hitting cinemas 40 years after Sholay, which starred late Amjad Khan as Gabbar Singh, the ultimate villain. Gabba...

While We’re Young, Review: Means and ends

While We’re Young, Review: Means and ends Documentary film-maker and lecturer Josh (Ben Stiller) and his wife Cornelia (Naomi Watts) are a middle-aged New York couple who befriend a free-spirited, liberal younger couple, Jamie (Adam Driver) and Darby (Amanda Seyfried). The young couple claim to be fans of his, and Jamie is an aspiring documentary-maker himself. Josh is struggling on the post-production of his new documentary film about leftist intellectual Ira Mandelstam (Peter Yarrow) ...

Avengers: Age of Ultron, Review: Fan-fare

Avengers: Age of Ultron, Review: Fan-fare Overloaded, campy and ‘fancentric’, Avengers: Age of Ultron is the Marvel Comics and Studios’ counterpart of the Justice League of America, the other array of comic book heroes that have thrilled young readers for several decades now. Just as readers were thrilled to find Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Cyborg, Firestorm and Element Woman (current line-up, different from original members) between th...

CommunicAsia2015, III: Creative Content and Film Production Zone

CommunicAsia2015, III: Creative Content and Film Production Zone CommunicAsia2015, from 2 - 5 June 2015, at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore, incorporates BroadcastAsia2015, SatComm2015 and EntepriseIT2015. What can be expected at CommunicAsia2015 and EnterpriseIT2015: SatComm2015, the strategic platform for the satellite communication industry, will see the gathering of over 160 satellite-based companies to address key issues within Asia-Pacific’s mobile ecosystem. Representatives includ...

CommunicAsia2015, II: Andrew Milroy on IoT and SDx

CommunicAsia2015, II: Andrew Milroy on IoT and SDx Andrew Milroy, Senior Vice President, ICT Practice, Asia Pacific, at Frost & Sullivan, is billed a summit speaker at CommunicAsia2015. Andrew has spent 20 years in the ICT industry. Besides holding held senior management positions at Frost & Sullivan and IDC, he co-founded NelsonHall, a BPO advisory firm, in the United States. More recently, he has led research and consulting projects in cloud computing, 'The Internet of Things...

CommunicAsia2015, I: What NXT?

CommunicAsia 2015, I: What NXT? Marina Bay Sands Hotel, among the top attractions in Singapore, is the venue for this year’s four-in-one event, CommunicAsia2015, BroadcastAsia2015, EnterpriseIT2015 and SatComm2015. It is the same venue where the 2014 event was held. The dates are June 02-05. Even content-wise, there is a triple focus: three themes, separated into clusters: NXT Cities, NXT Enterprises and, for the very first time, NXT Connected Lifestyle. NXT Connected Lifestyle will cov...

Margarita, With a Straw, Review: Heady Cocktail of Passions Raw

Margarita, With a Straw, Review: Heady Cocktail of Passions Raw Earlier titled Chhoone Chali Aasman (she’s reaching for the sky), the film settles for an even more abstract title. Margarita, as a drink, might be known only to the club/bar circuit among the upper middle class and upper class of Indian society. Moreover, a large part of the dialogue is in English, often-sub-titled. Then to discover that it is the story of a young woman struck with cerebral palsy, who wants to be a creati...

Ek Paheli Leela, Review: ‘Porn’ again?

Ek Paheli Leela, Review: ‘Porn’ again? Sunny Leone plays Meera, the pseudo-Italian model/performer who sets England ablaze with her hot numbers and even hotter anatomy. (Italy is the favourite real-life destination of the 34 year-old Canada-born porn-star, whose real name is Karenjit Kaur Vohra). A long and high profile assignment in the desert of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India, follows the London extravaganza, but Meera has a mental condition that makes her terrified of flying, so ...

It Follows, Review: STD (Sexually Transmitted Death)

It Follows, Review: STD (Sexually Transmitted Death) Some Detroit teenagers have pre-marital sex, and, in the process, get cursed with visions of stalkers, who appear as young and old, strangers and family members, clothed or naked—but with one definite aim: killing the latest in the chain of promiscuous youngsters. The target can buy time by having sex again, with another person, who will then be killed first, but the thing—IT—will get to you in the end. You can run, you ca...

Home, Review: Me & Oh

Home, Review: Me & Oh DreamWorks Animation's Home is a 3D computer-animated feature film set in the future, which is based on Adam Rex's children's book, The True Meaning of Smekday. It stars Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez, Jim Parsons, and Steve Martin, as the voices of its main characters. When Earth is taken over by the overly-confident Boov, an alien race on the run from its enemies, the Gorg, and in search of a new place to call home, all humans are promptly relocated to other ...

Kaay Raav Tumhi, Review: Come off it, you three

Kaay Raav Tumhi, Review: Come off it, you three Three here means three old men, out to have one sexual encounter with a young woman as vindication of their ‘old is gold’ brand of virility. Sounds bold for an Indian film, and bolder for a film made in the regional Marathi language, spoken mainly in Maharashtra. Roughly translated, the title would read ‘Come off it, Sir’. Can’t help it if it sounds like a double-meaning line. Incidentally, the film is full of doubl...

Nanda’s first death anniversary: One Nanda-less year, plentiful legacy, nonetheless

Nanda’s first death anniversary: One Nanda-less year, plentiful legacy, nonetheless March has its Ides in Shakespeare. In the life of the Karnataki family, it has two significant dates. Jayprakash Karnataki was born on the 14th. His older sister, Nanda, died on the 25th. Born Nandini Winayak Karnataki, on 08 January 1941, today is her first anniversary, and the first time Jayprakash did not get her gift of Rs. 5,000 to buy a new shirt, wear it and show it to his loving sister on the oc...

Insurgent, Review: Prior knowledge

Insurgent, Review: Prior knowledge Metaphors, here, metaphors there, metaphors everywhere. Besides metaphors, there’s a lot of pain and anguish and a large take-away moral in Insurgent: unity in diversity/let a thousand flowers bloom/different does not mean bad or hostile/religion or caste should preach respect and love for others, not hatred. In that milieu, the appropriate title for the second coming, Divergent being the first foray, should have been Convergent. Obviously, that would ...

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Review: Ode to Mari-age and Ageless Love

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Review: Ode to Mari-age and Ageless Love Title reminds you of the first film in the franchise, released three years ago? Of course it does. It also reminds you of My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding, Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines and Oh Dad! Poor Dad! Mama’s Hung You in the Closet and I’m Feelin So Sad! There’s something about long titles! No surprise though that most of them are comedies. This one has lots of comedy, while garn...

Cinderella, Review: Kinder Ella and some Branagh courage

Cinderella, Review: Kinder Ella and some Branagh courage Eschewing 3D and confining the classy animation/effects to only relevant scenes, Cinderella is a new take on the fable of the tortured step-daughter and her Prince Charming, with major roles played by animals and objects, led by a dazzling and highly desirable glass slippers that many teenagers would be willing to die for. It is the same old story, with minor cinematic license and major positive shift in logic. Ella (Eloise Webb) is an...

CHAPPiE, Review: Narcotics and Robotics

CHAPPiE, Review: Narcotics and Robotics South Africa, Canada and the USA come together in this science fiction/crime/human machines saga. To reduce the high crime rate in Johannesburg, the South African police force purchases armour-plated attack robots (Robocops?) from weapons manufacturer Tetravaal (Neill Blomkamp's 2004 short film Tetra Vaal is the basis for this film--not the Transvaal--released 11 years later), which prove highly successful and the company gets repeat orders. The rob...

Focus, Review: Romcom.Concon

Focus, Review: Romcom.Concon Romantic comedy masquerading as sublime love tale pretending to be a confidence trickster story... is about as deFocused as it could get. The title is relevant after you have seen the film, but adds to the complexity of the film’s profile before you decide to watch it. Indeed, it is a highly unlikely romcom involving a pair of con persons (one is a woman). Will Smith is a seasoned pro, while Margot Robbie is a bumbling amateur, whom he takes under his tutela...

The King Speaks: Dilip Kumar - The Substance and the Shadow - An Autobiography - As Narrated to Udayatara Nayar

In many ways, Dilip Kumar is an enigma, even if part of the enigma is designer stuff. Very little is known about his early life, and he quit films in 1998, so even less is known about the last 17 years of his life. It is in this scenario that we see the publication of his long-awaited autobiography, written with the help of chronicler Udayatara Nayar, among the senior-most film journalists and editors in Mumbai and the daughter of a the well-known S.S. Pillai, who edited Screen (she was to suc...

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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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