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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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Searching, Review: Top-notch laptop thriller?

Searching, Review: Top-notch laptop thriller? An Asian American plays the main lead in this girl gone missing tale, while the missing daughter is played by Asian American girls at four different ages. That’s not all. Her mother is a former K-Pop star and her uncle is essayed by another Asian, making it probably a first in mainstream American cinema. Searching has the makings of a taut, top-notch thriller, but since it is treated with restraint and a matter-of-fact approach, it remains a...

Yamla Pagla Deewana--Phirse/3, Review: YPDP 3, Y indeed?

Yamla Pagla Deewana--Phirse/3, Review: YPDP 3, Y indeed? Is good judgement failing the Deols? And did any well-wisher not bring to their notice that the story and screenplay of Yamla Pagla Deewana Phirse/3 is full of sound and fury, signifying nothing? Or is it both? Whatever the reality, fact is that we have the Dharmendra Deol, Sunny Deol and Bobby Deol starrer released this week, a weak exercise in futility. He Man Dharmendra, probably the first hero to show off his rippling muscles bare-...

Papillon, Review: Watchable remake of impressive 1973 prison escape saga

Papillon, Review: Watchable remake of impressive 1973 prison escape saga A hard act to follow, Papillon 2017 finds release a year after its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. Directed by Michael Noer and starring Charlie Hunnam and Rami Malek, reprising the roles of late Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman in the original made 44 years earlier, this prison escape epic nearly manages to match the original, but the operative word here is “nearly”. Based on the intern...

Alpha, Review: Man and his best friend surviving in the Ice Age

Alpha, Review: Man and his best friend surviving in the Ice Age It’s not a dog who is man’s best friend in Alpha, but a wolf given that name by Keda, a young man who lived in Upper Paleolithic Europe 20,000 years ago. He is the son of the Chief of a small tribe of hunter-gatherers that hunts bison in the steppes every year, to store meat for the coming winter. Boring history and a geography channel lesson? Banish the thought. Alpha is a classy movie that ranks among the best seen ...

The Stolen Princess, Review: Ukrainian animation comes of age, comes to India

The Stolen Princess, Review: Ukrainian animation comes of age, comes to India Indian media-house major Ultra, a diversified company, brings four language versions of the Ukrainian animation feature, The Stolen Princess, to India. You can watch it in English, Hindi, Tamil or Telugu. We saw the English version today, and since the content remains unchanged in the dubbed versions, I would recommend it to children who understand any of these languages. Parents, this is good holiday fare, with ani...

Aretha Franklin: Soul Music Loses its Queen, its Soul

Aretha Franklin: Soul Music Loses its Queen, its Soul American soul music queen, singer Aretha Franklin, died on August 18, aged 76, of pancreatic cancer in Detroit, where she grew up. Memphis, Tennessee born Aretha was the daughter of Rev. C. L. Franklin, a Minister and gospel singer, and a staunch church-goer herself. Unfortunately, her mother left the family when Aretha was just six years old and died when Aretha was 10. Her father was shot by burglars in 1979 and died in 1984, after five...

Final day of Sanhita’s theatre festival: Language of Hindustani theatre, and ode to an iconic Hindi poet

Final day of Sanhita’s theatre festival: Language of Hindustani theatre, and ode to an iconic Hindi poet August 17 marked the end of the three-day Natya Mahotsav (theatre festival) organised by Sanhita Manch, an initiative of Being Association, at the P.L. Deshpande Auditorium at the Ravindra Natya Mandir Complex in central Mumbai. The festival included several interactive sessions and staging of three Hindi/Urdu plays selected from 77 entries. Held for the second year in succession, th...

Sanhita’s 3-day festival of theatre: Good plays, poor audiences

Sanhita’s 3-day festival of theatre: Good plays, poor audiences Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, film and theatre personality, and his wife Rasika Agashe, together with like-minded veterans, have often lamented the dearth of new original work in Hindi, which beginning to appear like a lost art. This concern led to the setting up of the Sanhita Manch festival. This week, the second edition of the festival is being held at the P.L. Deshpande auditorium, located within the Ravindra Natya Mandir com...

Satyameva Jayate, Review: Blood-letting, blood curdling, blood-bath with pyre power

Satyameva Jayate, Review: Blood-letting, blood curdling, blood-bath with pyre power Milap Milan Zaveri declared in a press interview a week ago that he will never make a sex comedy again, after the disastrous Mastizaade. “I would like to make films which have drama, action and heroism. I want to make heroic films.” The first station on this journey towards his goal is Satyameva Jayate (Only Truth Be Victorious), a heroic film, or, more accurately, another vigilante pot-boiler with...

Blind Date, Review: A ‘play’ upon words, in which the blind lead the blind

Blind Date, Review: A ‘play’ upon words, in which the blind lead the blind Film and TV professionals got together to present a play at the RangSharda Auditorium, Bandra, Mumbai on August 12, under the title, Blind Date. It was about two blind persons alright, but there was no ‘date’, blind or otherwise. Punning on the concept, actor Pranav Tripathi wrote the original version in Gujarati and got Hindi film, TV and theatre veteran Raman Kumar to translate and adapt it in...

Shayan Italia and Farhad Vijay Arora recreate Indian National Anthem in 8K Ultra HD

Shayan Italia and Farhad Vijay Arora recreate Indian National Anthem in 8K Ultra HD In just 48 hours, the Indian National Anthem #IWouldStandForThis version became the most successful Indian National Anthem video on YouTube securing over 8.6 million views. #IWouldStandForThis honours the Indian National Anthem (Jana Gana Mana), performed by Shayan Italia in 8K Ultra HD, on the world’s grandest piano, to pay homage to his mother. #IWouldStandForThis brings together multinational cross-cu...

Christopher Robin, Review: It’s always a sunny day, When Christopher Robin comes to play

Christopher Robin, Review: It’s always a sunny day, When Christopher Robin comes to play Christopher Robin was seen by us critics on the day when he was much needed in England as the day’s play in the cricket test match between India and England was washed out due to rain. There was no sun around. It is this sunny demeanour of helping people--living by principles and loving animals as if they were people--that is at the core of Christopher Robin. And with Winnie the Pooh at the ce...

The Spy Who Dumped Me, Review: Jumped, Pumped, Slumped, Stumped

The Spy Who Dumped Me, Review: Jumped, Pumped, Slumped, Stumped Pre-credit scenes à la James Bond, the JB theme variation in a couple of scenes and a title that is a clear Ian Fleming lift—remember The Spy Who Loved me? This one is an action comedy, with both components in equal measure. Action is fast and furious and the comedy punctuates the thrills, with the help of a comedians+mimics cast. The Spy Who Dumped Me is funny enough to make you chuckle and laugh at regular interval...

The Redrum-A Love Story, Review: Tell-tale heart has no tale, no heart and little story

The Redrum-A Love Story, Review: Tell-tale heart has no tale, no heart and little story Did you notice? Edgar Allan Poe just turned in his grave. And what might have caused that change of posture, you might ask. Valid question. He learnt from his underground network of informants that a short story he wrote 175 years ago called Tell-Tale Heart has been made into a film. Not just any film, a ‘psychological thriller’ called The Redrum. Curiosity aroused? For those without a murdero...

ConnecTechAsia/BroadcastAsia 2018, XIV: “Three sectors poised for IoT disruption in 2018”--SOTI

ConnecTechAsia/BroadcastAsia 2018, XIV: “Three sectors poised for IoT disruption in 2018”--SOTI Businesses across a number of industries stand to benefit from adopting IoT technologies Despite the huge rise in connected devices, there are still some industries that are hesitant to adopt new technologies, regardless of the business benefits. With nearly 20 billion devices predicted to be connected to the IoT by 2020, it is essential that organisations invest in new IoT technologie...

ConnecTechAsia/BroadcastAsia 2018, XIII: Wohler’s Signal Monitoring For Every Requirement

ConnecTechAsia/BroadcastAsia 2018, XII I: Wohler’s Signal Monitoring For Every Requirement Whether you are looking to replace their existing signals with IP completely or simply want to bridge between both classic and IP infrastructures, Wohler’s IP monitoring solutions can help you solve their challenges today. AMP2-16V – The World's Finest Audio/Video Monitor™ now has modules for AoIP including Dante and Ravenna /AES67. Already own a unit? Their simple modular u...

Karwaan, Review: Falls just short of its destination

Karwaan, Review: Falls just short of its destination Quite predictably, the two primary reasons for wanting to see Karwaan would be the Hindi debut of Kerala’s superstar, Mammooty’s son, Dulquer Salmaan, already a heart-throb, and a chance to watch the (these days) seriously ill Irrfan, in a major role. Director Akarsh Khurana’s second outing comes after the forgettable High Jack, released a few months ago, so that is not an attraction. Both, the debutant and Irrfan, impress...

Mulk, Review: Half-baked attempt at addressing a burning national issue

Mulk, Review: Half-baked attempt at addressing a burning national issue Right in the beginning, the makers tell you that the film is inspired by real-life incidents, as reported in Indian media, and that they have no intention of suggesting that some acts of some persons are representative of the entire community. Mulk addresses the burning issue of terrorism and tries to convey the triple messages that perpetrators of terror should not be identified on the basis of their religion, that terr...

Mama Mia 2! Here we go again, Review: ABBAsolutely delightful--See that film, enjoy the scenes

Mama Mia 2! Here we go again, Review: ABBAsolutely delightful--See that film, enjoy the scenes Co-incidences and flashbacks galore dot the story of Mama Mia 2! Here We Go Again, a sure-fire recipé for disaster in so many films. Not here, though. Here, they are never one too many. And linking them all are some delightful songs and dances, in a 114 minute long ode to bittersweet things called life and love. A jukebox romantic comedy it is, but so well executed and integrated that it almo...

ConnecTechAsia 2018, XII: American, APAC business turns to HokuApps for enterprise mobility

ConnecTechAsia 2018, XII: American, APAC business turns to HokuApps for enterprise mobility  Organisations in the US and APAC are increasingly choosing HokuApps’ Enterprise RAD model to build the right kind of enterprise-level app eyeing digital business transformation. HokuApps’ uniqueness lies in its data integration platform that offers rapid connectivity to suit all API specifications at 10X faster speed and at a surprisingly affordable price. Businesses can choose from m...

Nawabzaade, Review: One woman, three men, infinite boredom

Nawabzaade, Review: One woman, three men, infinite boredom No, I did not do that! Really! Why would a conscientious critic invert half the picture from the poster? It’s there, on their Facebook page. See for yourself. Those three upside down bodies belong to young bachelors, who go under the euphemism of princes’ sons, but are paupers in real life. They are desperate to find suitable girls to marry, but who will even look at them, let alone marry them? Enter a family that moves i...

ConnecTechAsia/CommunicAsia 2018, VIII: AsiaSat collaborates with KBZ to provide OTT via satellite in Myanmar

ConnecTechAsia/CommunicAsia 2018, VIII: AsiaSat collaborates with KBZ to provide OTT via satellite in Myanmar Asia Satellite Telecommunications Company Limited (AsiaSat – SEHK: 1135), Asia’s leading satellite operator, has announced its collaboration with KBZ Gateway Company Limited (KBZ) to explore business opportunities for providing OTT (Over-the-Top) via Satellite video service in Myanmar. This initiative will initially support the free to air distribution of national TV chan...

Pipsi, Review: A Fish Called Faith

Pipsi, Review: A Fish Called Faith Maharashtra state in western India has faced several years of successive droughts in its Vidarbha area. This has led to farmers committing suicides, unable to repay loans and faced with humiliation and recurrent demands from banks and money-lenders, being recurrent defaulters. Pipsi is set in Raakh village of Vidarbha and tells the touching tale of a two kids, a girl and a boy, Chaani and Balu, who go all out to keep a small, dying fish alive, in the belief ...

Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster 3, Review: Russian Roulette, House of Lords, the Nautch Girl and Privy Purses

Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster 3, Review: Russian Roulette, House of Lords, the Nautch Girl and Privy Purses Here’s a film, about two hours long, that has some great cinematography and imaginative camera angles, impactful music, classy sets and décor, an ambience that lays the foundation of a riveting saga of ‘deceit conspiracy, greed and lust’. You wait anxiously for some great lines of dialogue, some battle of wits, some royal clashes…Alas! You wait in vain. When t...

Mission Impossible-Fall Out, Review: “The greater the suffering, the greater the peace”

Mission Impossible-Fall Out, Review: “The greater the suffering, the greater the peace” Sixth in the TV series-to-big-screen franchise, Tom Cruise’s Mission Impossible is aptly titled Fall Out. Besides the threat of a triple nuclear fall-out, there are falls, and fall outs of/from all possible kinds, in the universe of CIA operative Ethan Hunt: Motorcycles, cars, trucks and helicopters constitute one bunch; land, water and snow are the nature division; CIA-spurned rogue orga...

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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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