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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 FLO Film Festival, Report, II: Films FLO

One look at the well-produced brochure and the handy schedule told me that a whole lot of personnel and corporate bodies had contributed, in cash and in effort, to put FFFF together. For the forty- two odd films screened, the festival sponsors and partners thanked for their participation numbered the same. With such support, a much better show could have been put up. But that’s another story. Question arose, why were there only 42 films in three days and three venues? Because many films...

FICCI FLO Film Festival, Report, I: FLO Mo

FICCI FLO Film Festival, Report, I: FLO Mo Known for organising India’s biggest three-day Media and Entertainment conclave in March every year, FRAMES, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) held its first film festival in the city of Mumbai, during February 18-20, a fortnight after the Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF) and six weeks before FRAMES. It was organised by the FICCI Ladies Organisation, FLO. Unfortunately, due to a host of reasons, FICCI F...

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Review: Gory pride, bloody prejudice

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Review: Gory pride, bloody prejudice It’s not quite like anything you have seen before. Imagine going on a cruise, in a carrier that is part horse-drawn and part ship. On board, there are two sets of activities going on: a family of five sisters and their parents are trying to get the girls married by hook or by crook, and another set of creatures, called the zombies or the undead, are fe eding on human flesh, threatening to eat up all the humans who in...

How to be Single, Review: Not this way, for sure

How to be Single, Review: Not this way, for sure There is no success formula to being single, just as there is no magic prescription for being married. Time was when you were either single or married. Time is when you could be single, married, twice married, thrice married, nth time married, divorced, nth time divorced, undergoing trial separation, in a relationship, into one-night stands…. But the title of this film indicates that is about persons who are single, so let’s keep i...

Deadpool, Review: Deaddy Cool

After it was shown to the Central Board of Film Certification in Mumbai last week, I learnt that Deadpool was offered a U/A (under 16 not allowed unless accompanied by adults), if they deleted some content, otherwise the certificate would say A (for Adults Only). The distributors were happy with an A rating, so the content was left intact. But the question that arose then, as it had arisen when I learnt that it was rated R abroad, was why is a super hero comic cartoon character film being rest...

Trumbo, Review: Oh my God! A Communist wrote Roman Holiday!

Dalton Trumbo (Bryan Cranston) is a successful American screen-writer in the Hollywood of the 30s and 40s. However, his outspoken support for labour unions, and his membership of the Communist Party of the USA, draws the contempt of staunchly anti-Soviet entertainment industry figures, such as columnist Hedda Hopper (Helen Mirren) and actor John ‘Duke’ Wayne (David James Elliott). J. Parnell Thomas (James DuMont) heads the House Committee on Un-American Activities. Trumbo is one o...

MIFF 2016: Winners’ list

  MIFF 2016: Winners’ list Manipuri documentary film Phum Shang (Floating Life) won the Golden Conch Award for the Best Documentary Film (up to 60 minutes) at the 14th Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF) for Documentary, Animation and Short Films, which ended on 03 February 2016.  Swiss film My Name is Salt, and Indian entry Placebo shared the Gold Conch award for the Best Feature length Documentary Film. In the picture are, l to r, Mukesh Sharma (Director,...

MIFF 2016: Q & A, with the International Jury

MIFF 2016: Q & A, with the International Jury In the last press conference of Mumbai International Film festival (MIFF), three of the five members of the international competition jury came up to the Media Centre on Tuesday, 02 February, met members of the press, and answered various questions related to their experience at MIFF. Jesper Anderson from Denmark is a journalist and film curator, Don Askarian a German film-maker of Armenian origin whose award-winning films are being screened a...

MIFF 2016: National Jury speaks its mind

MIFF 2016: National Jury speaks its mind Films in the competition section at the Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF) are divided into three main categories, national, international and Public Service Advertising (PSA). A five-member jury viewed the 27 films in the national category, and, after completing their task, met the press at the Media Centre, on 02 February, Tuesday. Two of them--internationally acclaimed wildlife film-maker Mike Pandey and Taiwan-based festival programmer and ...

MIFF 2016: Festival Director and Jackie Shroff meet the press

Midway through Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF), the Director and the Brand Ambassador met the press on Monday, 01 February, at the Media Centre, in the Films Division Complex. It was the customary mid-fest conference, but with the addition of a new feature, the brand ambassador. “I am delighted to see that large numbers of viewers are sitting in our halls and watching documentary, short and animation films from around the world,” began Mukesh Sharma. (He was being...

MIFF 2016: Indian women pack a punch

MIFF 2016: Indian women pack a punch Ameesha Joshi, born in Canada to immigrant Indian parents, and Anna Sarkissian, of Egyptian/Armenian-Irish parentage, could not have imagined that their documentary on Mary Kom, Sarita Devi and Chhoto Loura, famed women boxers of India, would take 10 years to complete. But, like resolute boxers, they never let circumstances knock them out, and, to their delight, their ambitious 87-minute film, With This Ring (not be confused with the 2015 American TV film ...

MIFF 2016: Harshal Wadkar: Cyclic emotions

MIFF 2016: Harshal Wadkar: Cyclic emotions Pune-based amateur film-maker Harshal Wadkar, whose film 30-minute short fiction film Cycle was screened at the Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF) in the national competition section, met the press at the Media Centre, Films Division, on the 31st of January, and followed it with a Q and A session. To begin with, some clips of his film were shown, to set the tone, after which he made his opening remarks. Wadkar said he and a group of his fri...

MIFF 2016: FD’s North-East outreach

MIFF 2016: FD’s North-East outreach Films Division (FD) has initiated an outreach programme to inculcate the fine art of film-making in the far-flung areas of India’s North-East. Six young, first-time film-makers were taught the intricacies of the craft at a prolonged mentoring effort. It was literally ‘a dream come true’ for Pi Lallianpuii (Deputy Director, Information and Public Relations, Mizoram), Aldrin Losanghina (Mizoram), Anungla (Nagaland), Tiakumzuk Ao (Nagal...

MIFF 2016: Mike Pandey: “We need many more documentary makers”

MIFF 2016: Mike Pandey: “We need many more documentary makers” In 1994, Mike Pandey won the Wildscreen Panda Award, better known as the Green Oscar, for his film on the capture of wild elephants, The Last Migration: Wild Elephant Capture in Surguja.  Till he made the film, nobody believed they existed off the Indian coast! He won the award twice again, in 2000 for Shores of Silence: Whale Sharks in India, and another Panda came for Vanishing Giants (2004), making it a total o...

MIFF 2016: Daredevil Naresh Bedi and his stunning documentaries

MIFF 2016: Daredevil Naresh Bedi and his stunning documentaries          World-renowned wildlife filmmaker Naresh Bedi was honoured with the V. Shantaram Lifetime Achievement Award at the opening ceremony of the Mumbai International Film Festival for Documentary, Animation and Short Films, MIFF 2016 on Thursday, 29 January.  The next day, Bedi shared his wildlife film making experiences with media persons at the MIFF Media Centre. Love of n...

MIFF 2016: Master Class by Festival Director Mukesh Sharma

MIFF 2016: Master Class by Festival Director Mukesh Sharma Varied experience and a long, eventful career, make Mukesh Sharma just the person to speak on ‘How not to make films’. And he speaks so fast that he can compress so much in an hour-and-a-half! On 30 January 2016, a packed and refurbished RRIII theatre, on the 10th floor, of the Phase I building, at the Films Division headquarters in Mumbai, heard him talk about his acclaimed film children’s feature film Anokha Aspata...

MIFF 2016: Open Forum V: Embedding documentaries in film studies

MIFF 2016: Open Forum V: Embedding documentaries in film studies Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF)’s fifth and last Open Forum was held on 02 February. It was organised by the Indian Documentary Producers’ Association (IDPA) every day, for five days, in the step-garden of the Films Division (FD) Complex. For this adieu session, topic chosen was ‘Building awareness of documentary and non-feature films in the younger generation: Is the documentary genre getting suffici...

MIFF 2016: Open Forum IV—Pointing inwards, pointing outwards

MIFF 2016: Open Forum IV—Pointing inwards, pointing outwards Mathieu Roy, Canadian film-maker and member of the jury at MIFF, a former personal assistant to Martin Scorsese whose films include Ecclestone’s Formula (1) and Surviving Progress, and the feature; Ziba Bhagwagar, ad film maker and former journalist, who has moved on to make all kinds of non-feature films with partner Roohi Dixit, known for her films Freaky Chakra, Spaces between and Scattered Windows, Connected Doors; K...

MIFF: Open Forum III--Real documentaries, and faking it!

MIFF: Open Forum III--Real documentaries, and faking it! On the 31st of January, four passionate speakers and one moderator discussed another complex issue at the Mumbai International Film Festival’s Open Forum. Bina Paul, film editor and former Artistic Director of the International Film Festival of Kerala, had Miriam Chandy Menacherry and Audrius Stonys seated to her right, and Mamta Murthy and Sophy Sivaraman to her left. Facing the panel was an audience composed of Indian Documentar...

MIFF 2016: Open Forum II--The travails of docu-makers

MIFF 2016: Open Forum II--The travails of docu-makers ‘The challenge of filming documentaries in public places—legitimate documentary film-makers need to be distinguished from the feature film industry, press and media, and the passing tourist. What can be done to better establish documentaries as a separate genre of film and liberate its spirit from unnecessary obstruction; what incentives need to be provided for its growth?’  The second day’s Open Forum at the Mum...

MIFF 2016: Open Forum, I--Balancing Act

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MIFF 2016: Open Forum, I--Balancing Act Open Forum, a platform for discussing and debating ideas related to several aspects of documentary, short and animation films, is a permanent feature of Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF). It is organised by the Indian Documentary Producers’ Association (IDPA). The first of these forums was held on 29th January 2016, in the open space outside J.B. Hall, Films Division Complex, the main venue of the festival. ‘Ethical and moral dilemmas...

Naresh Bedi and his wildlife world

Love of nature and wild-life was inculcated in Naresh Bedi by his father, Dr. Ramesh Bedi, an international expert in plant medicine and a consultant to the government of India. Born and raised Haridwar, close to forests and animal habitats, Naresh Bedi recalled the days when his father carried him on his shoulders into the forests. He also remembered the day when he, all of eight years old, was returning from a trek, and suddenly spotted an elephant waking up from slumber. Terrified, he had ...

Astérix and Obélix-The Mansions of the Gods, Review: Caesar’s seizure

Astérix and Obélix-The Mansions of the Gods, Review: Caesar’s seizure Adventures of  French cartoon characters Asterix and Obelix, created by René Goscinny (stories) and Albert Uderzo (illustrations), were originally serialised in the magazine Pilote, in 1971, and translated into English in 1973. They have been made into films too. This is the first Asterix film animated in 3D, and was released in France on November 26, 2014, with DVD, VOD and Blu-ray versions ...

Room, Review: Psychopathos

24-year-old Joy (Brie Larson) and her five-year-old son Jack (Jacob Tremblay) live in a squalid shed they call “Room”. They share a bed, toilet, bathtub, a rickety old television, and a rudimentary kitchen; the only window is a skylight. They are captives of a man they call ‘Old Nick’ (also an old Christian nickname for the Devil), Jack's father (Sean Bridgers), who abducted Joy seven years ago, and routinely rapes her, while Jack appears to be sleeping in the wardr...

MIFF starts tomorrow in Mumbai, screenings in 9 other cities too

MIFF starts tomorrow in Mumbai, screenings in 9 other cities too The 14th edition of Mumbai International Festival for Documentary, Short and Animation Films, popularly known as MIFF, will be held between January 28 and February 03, 2016. MIFF, which began as BIFF (Bombay International Film Festival), became MIFF when the city had a change of name. The biennial festival, restricted to Documentary, Short and Animation Films, with some rare or restored features thrown in, is organised by the 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

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