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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, VI: Soul of Asia Retrospective of seven landmark movies

IFFI 50, VI: Soul of Asia Retrospective of seven landmark movies IFFI 2019, in its 50th edition, will be presenting a specially curated section which consists of some of the new and dynamic films that have made their mark, from across various Asian countries, and have been directed by Asian film-makers. With this spirit in mind, it has been named, Soul of Asia. Films to be showcased in this section are: Feelings to Tell, by Wen LI Summer is the Coldest Season, by Sun Zhou The Fourth Wal...

IFFI 50, V: Kaleidoscope selection of 20 films announced today

IFFI 50, V: Kaleidoscope selection of 20 films announced today 50th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) today announced the list of films to be screened in Festival Kaleidoscope, one of the most important sections of the festival. Festival Kaleidoscope section of 50th IFFI brings under one umbrella exotic films from around the world for film aficionados, who will flock to the festival at Panaji, Goa, in just under three weeks’ time. The section showcases 20 films, hand-picked a...

IFFI 50, IV: 17 films in specially curated Master Frames section

IFFI 50, IV: 17 films in specially curated Master Frames section 2019 marks the 50th year of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI). The 50th International Film Festival of India, 2019, will witness over 200 selected films from 76 countries, 26 feature films and 15 non feature films in Indian panorama section, and more than 10,000 people and film lovers are expected to participate in the golden jubilee edition. On the occasion, a special section has been curated, called Master Frame...

The Current War, Review: DC Edison v/s AC Westinghouse

The Current War, Review: DC Edison v/s AC Westinghouse Unless you do some background reading, this review included, you will not guess that the film is not about a conventional war but about the rivalry between Thomas Alva Edison, credited with inventing Direct Current operated incandescent bulbs, and their Alternating Current based, dynamo-run variants, developed by George Westinghouse, back in the 1880s. It’s a double-barrelled bio-pic that spouts too much jargon and is not saved by f...

Terminator-Dark Fate, Review: Terminal stillness

Terminator-Dark Fate, Review: Terminal stillness With a title like Dark Fate, they have already let the cat out of the bag. It is bound to end in one or more of its heroes/heroines dying, meeting their dark fate. That being a given, Terminator: Dark Fate provides some impressive action and unending shape-shifts/split bodies to keep you entertained, saving the best for the last. It is a long last, and it lasts really long. Three years after defeating the T-1000 and averting the rise of the ma...

Ujda Chaman, Review: Hair loss, weight gain

Ujda Chaman, Review: Hair loss, weight gain Barren follicles and overflowing lipids can, and often do, cause the corps to be subjected to taunts and ridicule for extended periods of time, maybe all through life. If you happen to be in the marriage market, sporting a bald patch up front, or ample girth across your perpendicular stance, these are distinct disadvantages, almost as bad as age differences of 20 or more years between prospective suitors. Highlighting the plight of obese and balding...

IFFI 50, III: 50th festival since 1952

IFFI 50, III: 50th festival since 1952 Started way back in 1952, the first ever IFFI was organised by the Films Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, with the patronage of the first Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. This was also the first International Film Festival held anywhere in Asia. It inspired many budding talents to become film-makers, especially the film Bicycle Thieves, which remains a classic 70 years later. Seen in the picture, r...

IFFI 50, II: Make a short film in 72 hours, win Rs. 1,00,000

IFFI 50, II: Make a short film in 72 hours, win Rs. 1,00,000 International Film Festival of India (IFFI) celebrates its Golden Jubilee edition, from 20th to 28th November 2019, in Goa’s state capital, Panaji. This year, it be having a short film-making competition called “Mini Movie Mania Short Film Competition”. The topic for the film will be given during IFFI, and the movie-makers have to submit their films within 72 hours, after the topic is announced. There will be two s...

IFFI 50, I: 10 Oscar winners to be screened

IFFI 50, I: 10 Oscar winners to be screened On the occasion of the 50th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), the festival has announced a special section which celebrates some of the most outstanding films which have won the Best Film award at the annual Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars. The section has been aptly named the Oscar Retrospective. The films to be showcased in this section include Casablanca (1942) by Michael Curtiz, Gone With the Wind (1939) by Victor Fleming,...

8th edition of Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF) from 7 November, announces full line-up

8th edition of Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF) from 7 November, announces full line-up Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF) will be held from 7 to 10 November, 2019 in the beautiful mountain town of McLeodGanj, Dharamshala, home of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, and the meeting point of a rich and cosmopolitan mix of people and cultures. As is the past, the eighth edition will continue to showcase an eclectic mix of the best of independent features, documentaries, shor...

MFF 21, 2019: Fernando Meirelles’ Masterclass

MFF 21, 2019: Fernando Meirelles’ Masterclass Brazilian filmmaker Fernando Meirelles took a master class on the fifth day of MAMI’s 21st Mumbai Film Festival. Best known for his globally acclaimed and award-winning films such as The Constant Gardener, City of God and Blindness, the director was speaking after the screening of his 2019 biographical comedy-drama titled The Two Popes, starring Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce. Festival Director Anupama Chopra presented the Excell...

MFF 21, 2019, 05: The rest, with ratings, and the best of the fest

MFF 21, 2019, 05: The rest, with ratings, and the best of the fest It is over now, and I have seen my quota of films, ending with a show at Mumbai’s classy Le Reve single screen mini-theatre in Bandra West. Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI)’s 21st Mumbai Film Festival MFF), took off on 17th October, with screenings beginning on the 18th,  and ended on the 24th. Both days inclusive, I managed to see films. I wrote about 10 of them earlier this week. Here are cryptic review...

Housefull 4, Review: Emptiness to the core

Housefull 4, Review: Emptiness to the fore In the age of the multiplex, a sign saying that a particular show is House-Full, meaning all the tickets have been sold in advance, is about as rare as discoveries of the abominable snowman. Producer Sajid Nadiadwala is a grandson who carries on the business his grand-father started, and even calls his company Nadiadwala Grandson, complete with an animated logo featuring an old man and a young child. Housefull 4 is Sajid’s fourth foray with the...

MFF 21, 2019, 04: Ten films seen, with ratings

MFF 21, 2019, 04: Ten films seen, with ratings Halfway through Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI) 21st Mumbai Film Festival MFF), till 21 October, I had managed to see the following films. Here are cryptic reviews, with their star ratings: A Son, France-Tunisia-Lebanon-Qatar, Directed by Mehdi M. Barsaoui, Rating: *** ½ Influences of Iranian cinema apart, the film has some real depth. It leaves several questions unanswered, but that turns out to be its strength. Perform...

Yaaram, Review: Single blues, double whammy and triple talaaq

Yaaram, Review: Single blues, double whammy and triple talaaq Actor Siddhanth Kapoor, a part-time DJ (disc-jockey), makes his singing debut in Yaaram. The number, titled, ‘Kaash phir se’, is composed by Jeet Gannguli and penned by Kumaar. According to a newspaper report, the actor took a single take to record it, after a mere two days of rehearsals. The song recording is shown as a live studio event while the end credits roll. Credits over, let’s get down to debits and brass...

Downton Abbey, Review: The King, the butler, the chef, the assassin and the maid

Downton Abbey, Review: The King, the butler, the chef, the assassin and the maid It’s no secret that royals are very particular about almost everything. This is partly due to security concerns and partly a result of ritualistic tradition, passed on from generation to generation. Seeing Downton Abbey not only reaffirms these facts, but also reinforces the theory that Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) may be a result of regal genes, given that kings and queens make such a fuss about eve...

Maleficent-Mistress of Evil, Review: Feynix rises from the ashes

Maleficent-Mistress of Evil, Review: Feynix rises from the ashes When a studio like Disney decides to give it the works, it usually works. It is difficult to find fault with the execution of the plot in Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, unless, of course you begin with the title itself. As viewers will discover early in the film, she is not the mistress of evil. Then you might consider the fact that there are several killings and a full-blooded war depicted, in a film aimed at young children and ...

MFF 21 Movie Mela, III: Kareena Kapoor-Khan, Alia Bhatt and Karan Johar in Big Talk

MFF 21 Movie Mela, III: Kareena Kapoor-Khan, Alia Bhatt and Karan Johar in Big Talk Kareena Kapoor Khan and Alia Bhatt discussed their favourite roles, film icons and handling success, with producer director and itinerant actor Karan Johar at the Jio MAMI Movie Mela with Star 2019, held on 13 October 2019 at the Rang Mandir, Bandra, Mumbai. This was the last session of the ‘feast/fest’. The Rapid-Fire session witnessed a surprising twist from close friend, young actor Varun Dhawan...

P se Pyaar F se Farraar, Review: On a killing

P se Pyaar F se Farraar, Review: On a killing Alarming statistics at the end of the film reveal that killing of young men and women who elope or marry into other castes or religions increased by 769% last year. Reports of such barbaric brutality, called ‘honour killing’, appear in the newspapers and on TV channels regularly. States in the North, North-west and central parts of India are most severely affected. So, in the footsteps of Sairaat (Marathi) and Dhadak (Hindi), we have a...

MFF 21, 2019, 3: Excellence in Cinema Award goes to Deepti Naval

MFF 21, 2019, 3: Excellence in Cinema Award goes to Deepti Naval Mumbai Academy of Moving Image(MAMI), organisers of the Mumbai Film festival, 17-24 October 2019, have chosen Deepti Naval as the recipient of the Excellence in Cinema Award, in the Indian section. Fernando Meirelles is the recipient in the International section. Born in Amritsar, Punjab, India, in 1952, Deepti Naval is an acclaimed actor. After her schooling, she migrated to the United States, where she was educated at the C...

MFF 21 Movie Mela, II: New Blood- Ananya, Janhvi, Mrunal, Radhika & Avinash ring in the Next Generation

MFF 21 Movie Mela, II: New Blood- Ananya, Janhvi, Mrunal, Radhika & Avinash ring in the Next Generation Five of the most promising new generation actors--Ananya Panday, Janhvi Kapoor, Mrunal Thakur, Radhika Madan and Avinash Tiwary—jammed with anchors Anupama Chopra and Rajeev Masand, without inhibitions, at the Jio MAMI Movie Mela with Star 2019, held on 13 October 2019 at the Rang Mandir, Bandra, Mumbai. This was a precursor to the film festival proper, which gets going on the 17t...

Angelina Jolie speaks with Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan’s voice in Maleficent II

Angelina Jolie speaks with Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan’s voice in Maleficent II Mistress of Evil’s voice has been dubbed in Hindi by Indian star actress Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan in Disney’s Maleficent II, which opens in India on 18th October, 2019. In a press meet held in Mumbai’s J.W. Marriott Hotel on a Monday afternoon, Bikram Duggal, Executive Director and Head for Disney’s Studios business in India, revealed that hers was the first, and only, name that came-up duri...

MFF 21, 02: Fernando Meirelles to get Excellence in Cinema Award

MFF 21, 02: Fernando Meirelles to get Excellence in Cinema Award "My deepest thanks to MAMI and the Mumbai Film Festival for this honour. As a director who makes his home on the opposite side of the world from where this festival takes place, I am humbly reminded that cinema is the perfect conduit for people to recognise and celebrate our shared humanity. I have strived to convey in my films an understanding between people who do not seem to have anything in common. To show that we have...

Deepika Padukone in MFF 21 Movie Mela: Pre-festival feast of conversations with stars, directors

Deepika Padukone in MFF 21 Movie Mela: Pre-festival feast of conversations with stars, directors For the last few years, Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI) has been holding Movie Mela as a forerunner to the Mumbai Film Festival (MFF). They skipped it last year because some of the likely male panellists were facing groping and molestation charges, but it came back this year with renewed vigour. Mela is Hindi/Urdu for feast/carnival. It is held in the shape of interviews/interactions between...

Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival with Star begins on the 17th of October

Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival with Star begins on the 17th of October The platform announced its stellar film and talent line-up for the upcoming edition at a press conference held at JW Marriott, Juhu, on 30 September. The below report is based on their press release, as this correspondent was not invited to the event, which was attended by MAMI Board of Trustees: Zoya Akhtar, Vishal Bhardwaj, Siddharth Roy-Kapur, Rohan Sippy, Ajay Bijli, along with Festival Director Anupama Chopra, and Arti...

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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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