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A thousand generations live in you now. See Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker in theaters December 20.

James Bond 007 No time to die 2020 Daniel Craig, Rami Malek

Trailers in 2020

 Edie is a 2017 British drama film directed by Simon Hunter and written by Elizabeth O'Halloran. Discovered at the SBIFF not to be forgotten.

Siraj Syed

Siraj Syed is the India Correspondent for 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. 



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...

Against the Sun, Teaser review: Water, water everywhere

Against the Sun, Teaser review: Water, water everywhere Harold Dixon (Garret Dillahunt), Radioman Gene Aldrich (Jake Abel), and Bombardier Tony Pastula (Tom Felton) take off from the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise to search for submarines in the glistening waters of the South Pacific. The three men are strangers, assigned to spend an afternoon together, flying a single-engine torpedo bomber. They should be back on board in time for dinner. But instead of enjoying dinner on the Enterprise, t...

The Lazarus Effect, Review: Death-act and cataract

The Lazarus Effect, Review: Death-act and cataract Back from the dead. Brought back from the dead. One dog and one woman brought back from the dead. The dog as a guinea pig (after a pig failed to make the grade), the woman because her fiancé cannot bear to live without her. But how? The couple and their team are research scientists working on a serum (Lazarus, the original title of the film) that could revive dead beings. One day, it works: a dog is brought back to earth from what the ...

Coffee Bloom, Review: Going thru the grind

  Coffee Bloom, Review: Going thru the grind Meet a Coorgi boy who speaks chaste Hindi with everybody, and practically no Coorgi or Kannada with anybody. Also, he in no way looks like his mother or brother. He meets his girl-friend in Bengaluru and she is a local. She speaks chaste Hindi with everybody too. Her husband is of a Coorgi-Keralite (colloquially called a Mallu after their language, Malayalam) mixed parentage. He has lived in the Middle East and in Australia, but it is Hindi a...

Kingsman—The Secret Service, Review: Tinkering tailors, soldiering spies

      Kingsman—The Secret Service, Review: Tinkering tailors, soldiering spies Opening titles assembled bond-style, prologue in the ‘father’s sacrifice will not go in vain, for the son will step into his shoes, to fight again’ mould, carefully crafted plot that is as contemporary as it could get, a canvas that grows bigger by the minute and a narrative style that is irreverent while paying rich tributes, and preposterous while tickling your ribs as many t...

Oscar Dozen: What this reviewer said about the winners

   Oscar Dozen: What this reviewer said about the winners 1.Best supporting actor WINNER: JK Simmons for Whiplash “J.K. Simmons (Break Point, JOBS, Dark Skies, The Words, long-running white-supremacist villain on HBO’s Oz) is devilish and supremely sadistic. He too is a musician and has been a conductor, which shows. Watch him terrify you and keep you rivetted in the second half of the film.” 2. Achievement in makeup and hairstyling WINNER: The Grand Budape...

Whiplash, Review: ‘Cymbalic decapitation’

Whiplash, Review: ‘Cymbalic decapitation’ On the heels of Birdman comes Whiplash, another, much bigger ode to jazz drumming. Confined to four lead actors—a student, his teacher, his father and his girl-friend—Whiplash builds its own legend around itself, not dissimilar to the way in which sports and war films push their protagonists to the brink, before they can reap the fruits of hard labour and either vanquish the enemy or win encomiums for themselves. Andrew Neyman...

Badlapur—Don’t Miss the Beginning, Review: Some things are missing

Badlapur—Don’t Miss the Beginning, Review: Some things are missing Funny line for a name. It is okay as a tag-line, but to make it part of the name? Did somebody object to the title Badlapur, and was the tag-line merged into the title to overcome that objection? Last December, a film titled Badlapur Boys was released in India, so there sure is some confusion. That one took its name from a fictional village in North India, and was about the game of kabaddi. Here, the name comes fro...

Wild, Review: On your hike to happiness, leave everything behind

Wild, Review: On your hike to happiness, leave everything behind Personal to the point of being alien, Wild is a well-intentioned film that picks incidents from a true story, brings the occasional tear to the eye, yet remains foggy and distant. Haunted by memories of her mother Bobbi who succumbed to cancer at a relatively young age, Cheryl gets into reckless behavior, a heroin addiction, several casual sexual relations and a divorce. Then, in what seems a hurried and unconsidered decision, ...

I Am Offended, Review: Defending the right to offend

I Am Offended, Review: Defending the right to offend It’s all about an idea, says director Jaideep Varma, about film-making. Seeing the timing of his film’s release, one can add another doctrine: It’s all about timing. I Am Offended, a feature length documentary about humour and intolerance, was released on Being Human/You Tube in February 2015, bang in the middle of the ongoing AIB Roast (more on that below) controversy which has polarised the Indian entertainment industry....

Love, Rosie-Review: Love, for Rosie, is not rosy

Love, Rosie-Review: Love, for Rosie, is not rosy When a film is full of tender and emotional moments but peppers itself with half-a-dozen comic interludes, it ends up confusing your sentiments. You ask yourself whether the characters deserve sympathy or should be laughed at. Considering the swings in the narrative, you begin to feel that the writers cannot be serious. So, why do they bring in grim, sad events so strongly? In its defence, Love, Rosie is a bit like life, of the fact-is-stranger...

Roy, Review: ROYters’ block alias ‘balle t balle t’

Roy, Review: ROYters’ block, alias ‘balle t balle t’ Papa Anupam Kher thinks it is something to do with a woman. Son Arjun Rampal calls it writers’ block. Both are right. Grewal Senior was referring to writer-director Kabir Grewal’s predicament in the film, while Rampal was explaining to the viewers why this film was going nowhere! Casanova Grewal has fallen in love with a documentary film-maker named Ayesha Aamir, from London, while shooting his film Guns III in...

Jupiter Ascending, Review: Earthling, give me the Earth!

  Jupiter Ascending, Review: ..and the Earth goes to... Delayed for over seven months beyond its scheduled release, the Wachowskis’ Jupiter Ascending released this week in India and many other territories. The Wachowskis are writers, producers, and directors, most famous for creating The Matrix series. Their last two films, Cloud Atlas and Speed Racer, tanked at the box office. Jupiter Ascending marks the siblings’ long-awaited return to the science-fiction genre. Named after ...

The Boy Next Door, Review: Lo ranking

   The Boy Next Door, Review: Lo ranking Shortly after her divorce from a philandering husband, a woman (school teacher) gets seduced by a mysterious younger man, ostensibly to look after his grand-uncle, who just moved-in across the street. Her ‘reformed’ ex-husband is keen on reconciliation, while the obsessed ‘boy next door’ resorts to stalking and blackmail, to keep them apart. He first befriends her teenage son and brain-washes him against her, and then j...

Wild Card, Review: Raw Deal

  Wild Card, Review: Raw Deal Based on the novel Heat, by William Goldman (now 84, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, All the President’s Men, Marathon Man, Dreamcatcher), who also wrote the screenplay, Wild Card is a lukewarm  a remake of the 1986 movie, starring Burt Reynolds. Las Vegas bodyguard Nick Wild (Jason Statham), who insists on being called a “chaperone”, has a gambling problem, drinks a lot and wants badly to get away for a long holiday. He figures he...

Jaideep Sahni’s Master Class at Film Writers’ Association, Mumbai: 15 years in 150 minutes

  Jaideep Sahni’s Master Class at Film Writers’ Association, Mumbai: 15 years in 150 minutes Bumping into Rajashree, urf (alias) Raju (that is how she likes to be known), a Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) alumnus and novelist, at Mumbai’s Linking Road, on Thursday evening, I told her I was considering attending the Film Writers’ Association’s Master Class by popular film-writer Jaideep Sahni, but the Facebook listing said it was only for members...

Foxcatcher, Review: Catch it now

  Foxcatcher, Review: Catch it now Based on true events, Foxcatcher tells the dark story of the unlikely and ultimately tragic relationship between an eccentric multi-millionaire and two champion wrestlers. When Olympic Gold Medal winning wrestler Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) is invited by wealthy heir John Eleuthère du Pont (Steve Carell) to move on to the du Pont estate and help form a team to train for the 1988 Seoul Olympics at his new state-of-the-art training facility, Schul...


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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 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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