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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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RIFF 2019, Jaipur, January 19-23, Winners list, Part II

RIFF 2019, Jaipur, January 19-23, Winners list, Part II Here is the second and final list of films and film personalities who were awarded at the Rajasthan International Film Festival (RIFF), Jaipur, 2019, which concluded last week: INTERNATIONAL FILMS (DOCUMENTARY) Lucia Barata, Director, The Brazilian *Best International Documentary Film: THE BRAZILIAN (BRAZIL) *Special Jury Award for Best International Documentary Film: FAMILY TYPEWRITER (ISRAEL) *Best International Documentary Fi...

RIFF 2019, Jaipur, January 19-23, Winners list, Part I

RIFF 2019, Jaipur, January 19-23, Winners list, Part I Here is the first part of the list of award winners announced at the closing ceremony of the Rajasthan International Film Festival (RIFF), on 23 January 2019, at the INOX Insignia, GT, Jaipur: *Lifetime achievement award in Hindi Cinema: KAMAL KUMAR BARJATYA, RAJSHRI PRODUCTIONS *Theme Award: RAJIT KAPUR for THE MAKING OF THE MAHATMA (THE MAHATMA ON CELLULOID) *PRIDE OF RAJASTHAN: ASHISH SHARMA Honorary Awards for Excellence &n...

Award winners at Diorama International Film Festival, New Delhi, 14-20 January 2019

Award winners at Diorama International Film Festival, New Delhi, 14-20 January 2019 Main award-winners of Diorama International Film Festival (DIIF) were listed in the earlier post. The remaining winners are named below: Silver Sparrow for Best Short Film--'AS THE FIRST TIME WE MET', Director: Emanuela Mascherini (Italy) Golden Sparrow for Best Short Film--'STORYTELLER/HIKAYECI', Director: Anıl Güldoğan (Turkey) Silver Sparrow for the Best Documentary Film--‘...

Diorama screens 104 films; DIFF Film Bazaar conducts $3 million business

Diorama screens 104 films; DIFF Film Bazaar conducts $3 million business The first Diorama International Film Festival (DIFF) concluded on the 20th of January, 2019, with a glittering function held at Siri Fort Auditorium No. 1. A total of 104 films were screened and 49 dignitaries attended. Iconic Iranian director Daruish Mehrjui and veteran Indian film producer-director Subhash Ghai won the lifetime achievement awards. The Golden Sparrow award for best Indian actor, male, went to Ayushma...

Red carpet personalities attending the Diorama International Film Festival, New Delhi, 2019

Red carpet personalities attending the Diorama International Film Festival, New Delhi, 2019 15 January 2019: Sudhir Mishra, Neetu Chandra, David Dhawan, Boney Kapoor, Chitrangada Singh, Anubhav Sinha, Rumi Jaffrey, Ambassador Of Spain, Rafael Kapelinski 16 January 2019: Dariush Mehrjui, Giogio Franchini, Alka Yagnik, Philip Cheah, Rituparna Sengupta, Rumi Jaffrey, Mozhgan Taraneh, Actor, Iran, Rafael Kapelinski, Sanjay P Chahuhan, Rahul Mitra, Shaad Ali, Ajit Andhare, Utpal Acharya, A...

France, Tunisia, China, Iran, Israel, Syria to be focus countries at RIFF 2019

France, Tunisia, China, Iran, Israel, Syria to be focus countries at RIFF 2019 The third and final list of films to be screened at the 5th Rajasthan International Film Festival was released yesterday by Somendra Harsh, the Founder of the festival. Overall, the festival will showcase 25 awarded films, from 10 different countries. Films like the Tunisian feature Benzine, directed by Sarah Abidi , the Zyang Yang directed Chinese feature, Paths of the Soul, Cheang Pu-soi directed Chinese feature...

The Mensile and Biennale International Film Festival of Bengal

The Mensile and Biennale International Film Festival of Bengal International Film Festival of Bengal, also known as Bengal Mensile (meaning monthly) has just been launched. The film festival aims to create a platform for independent Cinema in Bengal, to be showcased along with global cinema. Beside this, Bengal Mensile also provides a Film Market for buyers, distributors, exhibitors, etc. IFFB has just begun, as an online monthly event, and the annual event will be a physical one, to be held...

Manthan and the churning of good cinema: Master Class with Shyam Benegal

Manthan and the churning of good cinema: Master Class with Shyam Benegal Standing upright at 82, the one-time swimming champion and one of the foremost directors of Indian cinema, Shyam Benegal, reminisced about the making of his milestone project Manthan (The Churning/1976), in particular, and about films and film-making in general. The occasion was a Master Class, organised on the platform of White Wall Screenings, at the Habitat, Hotel Uni-Continental, Khar, Mumbai.   Founded by...

RIFF: Second list of films released

Rajasthan International Film Festival : Second list of films released; check our previous release Somendra Harsh, Director and Founder of the Rajasthan International Film Festival (RIFF), today released the second list of films to be screened at the event, which takes place in the state capital, Jaipur, during January 19-23. The films include: TV Actor Ashish Sharma (of Rajasthan) starrer Khejdi, by Rachita Films, about a transgender person, Directed by Rohit Dwivedi ...

Tashi, made with a 5-member cast and a 5-member crew, for $25,000, proves auspicious

Tashi, made with a 5-member cast and a 5-member crew, for $25,000, proves auspicious Tashi means 'auspiciousness' or 'good fortune' in the Tibetan language, and the first time I heard this word was when I was introduced to an actress from the north-east of India, with this name. This time, I find it to be the name of a film, made by a Keralite Indian woman, living in Singapore. The film has been shown at 14 festivals and has won 11 awards, so far. That sure is auspicious, by a...

RIFF selections

RIFF selections Here are some of the films selected for the Rajasthan International Film Festival, Jaipur, January 19-23: Short Film "#AkhbaarWala (The #Newspaper #Vendor)" India, | Hindi | 14 min, Directors: #AnandSinghChouhan & #Sayed Sharafat Ali, Produced by #DS Chauhan. Hindi Short Film "#BLURRED" India l Hindi | 16 min Director: #Raghav Sharma & #Madhav Bairathi, Produced by #Devansh Ahuja. Short Film "#Adhura Antariksha" India...

Diorama encouraged by Rahul Rawail, Shaji Karun

Diorama encouraged by Rahul Rawail, Shaji Karun The first Diorama International Film Festival (DIFF) will be held from the 14th to the 20th of January, 2019, at the Siri Fort Auditoria, New Delhi. Here’s how and why the organisers came up with this uncommon name: The word "diorama" originated in 1823 as a type of picture-viewing device, from the French, in 1822. The word literally means "through that which is seen", from the Greek di- "through" + orama &q...

15 years after its last IFFI, Delhi gets its Diorama

15 years after its last IFFI, Delhi gets its Diorama After hosting the 34th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in October 2003, Delhi lost its place to Panaji, Goa, which is the venue for IFFIs since then, beginning with the 35th, in November-December 2004. One man who was associated with several editions of IFFI Goa, first as Deputy Director in the Directorate of Film Festivals (DFF), Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, and later as the CEO of the Entertainment Society of Goa ...

5th Rajasthan International Film Festival’s poster unveiled

5th Rajasthan International Film Festival’s poster unveiled Rajasthan’s Tourism Minister, Mr. Vishvendra Singh, launched the poster of the 5th Rajasthan International Film Festival (RIFF) today at the Ministry’s Secretariat. The festival will take place from the19th to the 23rd of January. On this occasion, Somendra Harsh, founder of the festival, Anshu Harsh, Director of the Festival, and member of the Advisor Committee and Chairman of the Forti Women’s Wing, Ranoo N...

Half Songs, Review: Melodies of nostalgia, dew-drops of sublime love

Half Songs, Review: Melodies of nostalgia, dew-drops of sublime love A simple tale, with few characters, executed with wholesome grace, Half Songs strikes a chord with its theme of incomplete, or ‘half’, human relations and endeavours, in the backdrop of modern urban life, juxtaposed with an era just gone by. A fresh, new team brings a dew-drop quality to the images and performances. No real hero or heroine, no comedian, no villain, no real character actor, no item numbers, but ye...

Cinestaan’s second storytellers script contest accepting entries till 22 January 2019

Cinestaan’s second storytellers script contest accepting entries till 22 January 2019 Rs. 25,00,000 prize to the winner and another Rs. 2,50,000 to be shared among four Runners Up—a total of Rs. 50,00,000 (US$714,000, approx..) are on offer in Cinestaan’s second storytellers script contest. The application fee is a mere Rs. 1,500. In addition to the prize money for the winners, there is an initiative of Cinestaan Digital Pvt. Ltd. (CDPL): once you are part of the Cinestaan ...

Simmba, Review: Slo mo shun

Simmba, Review: Slo mo shun It would be unrealistic to expect anything but action comedies from director Rohit Shetty, showcasing bad guys turning good guys along the line, with tons of slow motion action, having the protagonist landing blow after blow, and the goons rotating before landing on the floor or table or chair or cupboard or door or window or car or cycle or motor-cycle or truck or hand cart or whatever. This time around, the theme, ostensibly, is the heinous crime of rape, with t...

RIFF 2019 releases first list of films to be screened

RIFF 2019 releases first list of films to be screened Founder of Rajasthan International Film Festival (RIFF), (Jaipur, January 19-23), Somendra Harsh, said today that in this five-day event, film screenings, seminars, workshops, knowledge series and a film market will be organised. The festival will screen feature films, short films, documentary films and animation films. On the last day of the festival, RIFF Award Night 2019 will be held on, in which the best film artistes will be honored. ...

Rajasthan International Film Festival coming up

Rajasthan International Film Festival coming up Rajasthan International Film Festival (RIFF), named after the north-western state of India where it is held, endeavours to impart a novel identity to world cinema, through conducting film festivals in the state-capital city of Jaipur every year. It is now in its fifth year. RIFF will continue to work in areas concerning technical and academic aspects of cinema. Film-buffs can earmark January 19-23, 2019, in their new year diaries, to be there, a...

Indo-BanglaDesh co-production Meenalap wins Best Short Film Award at the 17th TEAFF

Indo-BanglaDesh co-production Meenalap wins Best Short Film Award at the 17th TEAFF There was only one competitive section at the 17th Third Eye Asian Film Festival (TEAFF), held during December 14-20, in Mumbai: The short film section. 24 films competed. They ranged in duration from 4 mins. to 30 mins. A jury comprising Premendra Mazumder (film society veteran, journalist and FIPRESCI* member), Menasha Shedde (journalist, curator and FIPRESCI member) and Rekha Deshpande (journalist, author ...

17th Third Eye Asian Film Festival screened 32 features, 24 shorts

17th Third Eye Asian Film Festival screened 32 features, 24 shorts Mumbai’s 17th Third Eye Asian Film Festival (TEAFF), held during December 14-20 at the Citylight Cinema in Central-North Mumbai, was a single venue venture, having five shows a day, at 10.30 a.m., 12 noon, 2.45 p.m., 4.45 p.m. and 7.30 p.m. At five shows a day, 32 features were accommodated, while three show slots were allotted to short films, on the second, third and fourth day respectively. During the 2 p.m.-2.45 p.m....

Third Eye Asian Film Festival moves to new, bigger, better venue

Third Eye Asian Film Festival moves to new, bigger, better venue In its 17th edition, the Third Eye Asian Film Festival (TEAFF) chose to move to Citylight, a single screen cinema located in Matunga/Mahim West, Central Mumbai. Before the multiplex era, Citylight used to be a regular, medium-capacity theatre, which was demolished to make way for an office complex, some years ago. However, the owners retained space on the upper levels to include a cinema, with a capacity of 250 seats. It is not...

Ben is Back, Review: Super Mom’s benediction v/s Son’s drug addiction

Ben is Back, Review: Super Mom’s benediction v/s Son’s drug addiction Ben, the titular character, is a nineteen year-old boy who’s come back home for a Christmas visit from his rehabilitation centre. A hardcore drug addict, he has been clean for long enough to earn his holiday. Yet, his visit is going to hurtle his family into a crisis they could never have imagined. Ben is Back is not the routine drug-mafia/gang-war film. Instead, it is a thoroughly watchable hearts and min...

The Possession of Hannah Grace: Show me demoney

The Possession of Hannah Grace: Show me demoney A scary movie that does not scare can do little else. As the title suggests, the film is about the possession of a woman called Hannah Grace, though there is no reason or logic given behind the possession. In an 85-minute film, you can count the frightening scenes on the fingers of one palm. Originally titled Cadaver, the supernatural film was made under $10 million, and in spite of low merits, it might even end-up making some money. A woman ca...

Mortal Engines, Review: Municipal Darwinism in a dystopian future

Mortal Engines, Review: Municipal Darwinism in a dystopian future Charles Darwin’s theory of survival of the fittest is taken to its logical conclusion in the future, where mini cities stand on mobile machines that serve as crushers and gobblers of smaller ones, appropriating their resources and enslaving the captured populace. The process is called Municipal Darwinism, and no one is safe. Slick and deeply disturbing, Mortal Engines is thought-provoking viewing and full of metaphors. T...

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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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