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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: 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...

IFFI 50: Media creates movie genres, says Takashi Miike

IFFI 50: Media creates movie genres, says Takashi Miike Movies are not originally made in specific genres, but when the information about a movie gets transmitted, the media portrays it as belonging to a particular genre, said renowned film-maker Takashi Miike. He was participating in a media conference organised on the sidelines of 50th International Film Festival of India. Takashi Miike, one of the most outstanding film-makers from Asia and around the world, with a cult status, was the &lsq...

IFFI 50: Many makers, one press conference

IFFI 50: Many makers, one press conference Those who wish to make independent films must keep themselves away from government funding, said Ms. Mahnaz Mohammadi, Director of Iranian film ‘Son-Mother’. “The government will give funds to directors who follow their rules and listen to them. You have to be part of the system and norms. I used my earnings as a documentary film-maker to produce my films”, she said. She was participating in a media conference at the 50th Inte...

IFFI 50: Accessible Films’ Section at IFFI 2019

IFFI 50: Accessible Films’ Section at IFFI 2019 Three films were part of this special section that includes additional narration of visuals, non-dialogue portions. In a bid to create an all-inclusive festival, the 50th IFFI edition screened three films for those with special needs, under the ‘Accessible India-Accessible Films’ section. This is a joint collaboration between IFFI, Saksham (capable) Bharat and UNESCO. The aim is to promote the creation of inclusive spaces for ...

IFFI 50: Opening highlights

IFFI 50: Opening highlights A star-studded opening hosted the King of Bollywood Amitabh Bachchan, and legendary Rajinikanth, who flagged off the extravaganza at the Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Stadium, Bambolim, Goa, on 20th November. Official dignitaries present at the launch of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) 2019 were Honourable Information and Broadcasting (I & B) Minister in the Central Government, Prakash Javdekar, Honourable Chief Minister of Goa, Dr. Pramod Sawan...

6th Rajasthan International Film Festival, RIFF, 2020: Preparations in full swing

6th Rajasthan International Film Festival, RIFF, 2020: Preparations in full swing RIFF 2020 will have its Opening Ceremony on 18th January, 2020, 5 pm onwards, at Jawahar Kala Kendra (JKK Open Air Theatre), Jaipur, Rajasthan, India. The festival will have film screenings and talk shows at Cinépolis, World Trade Park (WTP), JLN Marg, Jaipur. RIFF 2020 Closing Ceremony and Awards Night will be held on 22nd January, 2020, 6 pm onwards, at Birla Auditorium. The organisers are pleased t...

IFFI 50: Press conference of the opening film, Despite the Fog

IFFI 50: Press conference of the opening film, Despite the Fog The 50th edition of the International Film Festival of India began in Goa on November 20 with the screening of the Italian film, Despite the Fog. Speaking at the press conference with the cast and crew, Director Goran Paskaljevic, who has also served as Jury head at the 44th edition of IFFI, said, that the film looks at the ‘serious issue revolving around minor (child) refugees in Europe. “It’s an intimate story....

IFFI 50: Films scene and partly seen films

IFFI 50: Films scene and partly seen films As is the norm at film festivals, I walked out of many a film that could not sustain my interest beyond the first few minutes. In one case, I sat till 90 minutes, before deciding that it had gone too far without going anywhere. International Film Festival of India (IFFI) 2019, Panaji, November 20-28, will go down as a festival where my choices, and in many cases, films which I had to see because I had no choice, were under-whelmingly disappointing. I...

IFFI 50: Screenplay, cinematography and production design are the 3 most important--Priyadarshan

IFFI 50: Screenplay, cinematography and production design are the 3 most important--Priyadarshan At the ongoing 50th edition of International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa, the Chairperson of the Feature Films Jury of Indian Panorama Mr. Priyadarshan Nair, eminent director, along with fellow jury members Mrs. Sreelekha Mukherji, Mr. Harish Bhimani and Mr. Vinod Ganatra   and Mrs. Aarti Shrivastava and Mr. Ronel Haobam, Jury members of Non-Feature Films Section, participated i...

NFDC’s Film Bazaar 2019 ends, with multiple awards for several projects

NFDC’s Film Bazaar 2019 ends, with multiple awards for several projects ~ The Prasad Digital Intermediate (DI) award by Prasad Labs and the Moviebuff Appreciation Awards (DCP) 2018 were awarded to ‘Pedro’ by Natesh Hegde and ‘Swizerland’ by Ajitpal Singh from the WIP Lab and ‘Pinki Elli?’ (Where Is Pinki?) by Prithvi Konanur, from the FBR section~ ~‘Laila Aur Satt Geet’ (The Shepherdess And The Seven Songs) by Pushpendra Singh won the VKA...

NFDC’s Film Bazaar 2019 showcases 14 projects

NFDC’s Film Bazaar 2019 showcases 14 projects The selection presents projects from India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, France, Nepal, Singapore and USA. The line-up is an eclectic mix of stories in Hindi, English, Bengali, Malayalam, Assamese, Nepali, Dzongkha (Bhutanese) and Gujarati from established filmmakers as well as new talent. After the success of Open Pitch, in previous editions, this year again, the selected filmmakers have been pitching their projects to a curated audience of nationa...

IFFI 50: Russian delegation press conference--Bringing the spirits of India, Russia together

IFFI 50: Russian delegation press conference--Bringing the spirits of India, Russia together Joint production of films and cultural exchange through films will bring the spirit of India and Russia together, said Russian Ambassador to India Mr. Nikolay Kudashev. A joint agreement was signed at Vladivostok in Russia, during September 2019, for expanding cultural exchanges between the two countries. It is time to take advantage of the agreement by working together and reaching our common aims, h...

Film Bazaar 2019: Film pitches, hectic meetings, panel discussions

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Film Bazaar 2019: Film pitches, hectic meetings, panel discussions Held on the sidelines of the 50th International Film festival of India (IFFI), Goa, 2019,  at the J.W. Marriott Hotel, the Film Bazaar is an annual event organised by the National Film Development Corporation of India, over four days.   The second day of the 13th Film Bazaar continued with hectic meetings, insightful knowledge sessions, and workshops filled with insights for participants. Here are...

IFFI 50: Filmfestivals.com recommends recognition of senior journalists, IFFI accepts

Very nice initiative from our correspondent in India Siraj Syed "A press conference was held on 19th November, on the eve of the inauguration of the 50th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), at Maquinez Palace, Panaji, Goa. It was addressed by the Chief Minister of Goa (ESG), Mr. Pramod Sawant, who is also the Chairman of the Entertainment Society of Goa, and Mr. Chaitanya Prasad, Director of IFFI, among others. It was revealed at the PC that the cost of organising IFFI 2019 was...

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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.


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