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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. He is also an acting and dialogue coach. 

 

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Haemolymph-The Invisible Blood, Review: Mumbai Police’s worst kept secret

Haemolymph-The Invisible Blood, Review: Mumbai Police’s worst kept secret Some real-life stories have been turned into good films, some have not. Haemolymph belongs to the latter category. Had we not seen 500+ Hindustani films about police excesses and third degree torture, Haemolymph (Oxford definition: a fluid equivalent to blood in most invertebrates, occupying the haemocoel) would have had some novelty. As it transpires, the real-life story of a man falsely accused of the 2006 Mumba...

Adrushya, Review: Invisible man meets blind twins

Adrushya, Review: Invisible man meets blind twins In the last two decades, Marathi films have thrown-up some real gems. They have also not fought shy of experimenting with both form and content. We have been treated to some films that were rooted deeply in Marathi culture and ethos, while there were others with more universal themes. Non-Marathi speaking producers, directors and writers have made their way towards Marathi filmdom, with varying degrees of success. Directed and co-written by a ...

Dhaakad, Review: Kan-gana Ran-aut-do Charlize Theron?

Dhaakad, Review: Kan-gana Ran-aut-do Charlize Theron? Whenever director Razneesh ‘Razy’ Ghai shouted action on the sets of this film, he must have meant either of two things: A. Kangana Ranaut, Arjun Rampal and a battalion of cronies get at each other, either with arms and ammunition, or fists, kicks and ambition. B: Some version of a lullaby is sung by someone, from at least four characters. There is little else happening. So, what? Is something more needed? Yes, surely! But wher...

Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2, Review: Witch ghost will be the soul survivor?

Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2, Review: Witch ghost will be the soul survivor? Alternately calling itself a horror story and a humorous tale, Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 (Labyrinth, Maze) does raise a few laughs. The horror, however, fails to strike terror. Songs, literally thrust into the film and one of them relegated to the end credit titles, are catchy, but they are either mushy or foot-tapping, neither kind blending with the theme. There is indeed a labyrinth of explanations for some of the spooky goings on in...

Trailer success meet and song launch of Major: Lookout, big fish, here comes the goldfish

Trailer success meet and song launch of Major: Lookout, big fish, here comes the goldfish Three big, real BIG pictures are on the verge of release, simultaneously. Two are from the South, and one from Mumbai. Anybody who has been following release schedules will know that these three are Prithviraj from Yash Raj Films, KamalHaasan’s Vikram and a major film from Hyderabad, called, Major. I wonder whether the other two have been shown to anybody except the most selected of selective audie...

Trailer launch of Nikamma: Useful insights into the making of a ‘Useless’ (Nikamma) film

Trailer launch of Nikamma: Useful insights into the making of a ‘Useless’ (Nikamma) film Sony Pictures International Productions have put their faith in producer-director Sabbir Khan and a relatively new hero, an absolutely new heroine and a veteran who made her debut 30 years ago to deliver a vehicle that goes by the moniker of Nikamma. Translated, it means Useless. Abhimanyu, who has already acted in Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota and Meenakshi Sundareshwar, is the son of Himalaya Dassa...

Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2-Song launch at Imagicaa: How far will you go to watch a film song?

Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2-Song launch at Imagicaa: How far will you go to watch a film song? Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 is the second part of the franchise, the title of which means Maze or Labyrinth. Imagicaa is an amusement park situated at Khopoli, some 80 kms from Mumbai. The invitation from the Public Relations was tempting: 1.00 pm - Media assemble time at T-Series office, Andheri West   2:00 PM - Departure For Imagicaa, with Media   - Media to be segregated in 2 buses   5:00 PM - ...

Dhaakad trailer launch: Kangana Ranaut takes on the enemy, this time in the 21st century

Dhaakad trailer launch: Kangana Ranaut takes on the enemy, this time in the 21st century After the period piece about a freedom fighter, Manikarnika, Kangana Ranaut doing an action film should not come as any surprise. Dhaakad (a forceful person to contend with; formidable) brings you a few centuries forward and places the action in a modern-day setting, with hi-octane action of the James Bond ilk. The trailer was screened recently for the media at the high-profile PVR Phoenix Mall auditorium...

Sounds of The Kashmir Files: “Pray for all the oppressed people in the world”

Sounds of The Kashmir Files: “Pray for all the oppressed people in the world” Royal Opera House was a surprising choice for the event. Once a landmark for big-budget film releases, it remained shut for about two decades, before it was revived, with plays and other events being held there, but no film shows. Makers of the film The Kashmir Files decided to kill two birds with one stone: reinforce their theme of oppression, persecution, brutal murders and more of Kashmiri Pandits in ...

MIFF returns, with a budget of 4-5 crores; will be organised and held at Films Division

MIFF returns, with a budget of 4-5 crores; will be organised and held at Films Division Biennial since its inception in 1990, the Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF) of documentaries, short fiction and animation films, will be held this year from 29 May to 04 June at the Films Division (FD)’s premises on Peddar Road (Gopalrao Deshmukh Marg). A total of 300+ films have been selected by the selection committees and the budget of the entire festival is estimated at Rs. 4-5 crore. It ...

After Govinda, Varun Dhawan now launches another Dehati Disco song

After Govinda, Varun Dhawan now launches another Dehati Disco song Ganesh Acharya and Varun Dhawan share a great camaraderie and the duo have always given good hits. In fact, Acharya, who is respectfully addressed as MasterJee, has choreographed more than 50 songs for Varun’s father, editor-director David Dhawan, during the early days of his career. Showing his support and love towards MasterJee, Varun recently paid a visit to The Club, at D.N. Nagar, in North Mumbai, on 11 May, and di...

Jayeshbhai Jordaar, Review: A ban on soap and kisses instead of foeticide

Jayeshbhai Jordaar, Review: A ban on soap and kisses instead of foeticide Even a relatively small budget film from Yash Raj Films (YRF), with only two known names to tout, succeeds to a large extent in highlighting the hideous Indian social practice, seen predominantly, in a few states, of killing/aborting the girl child. Since marriage involves a large sum as dowry, which is given by the girl’s family to the boy’s family, the birth of a girl child is considered the genesis of a m...

Three trailers of Prithviraj: On stage, on screen and off-screen

Three trailers of Prithviraj: On stage, on screen and off-screen This is what the invitation, received on Friday, 06 May 2022, by WhatsApp, from YashRaj Films read: “Hello, Yash Raj Films cordially invites you to the trailer launch of their first historical film - based on the life of Samrat Prithviraj Chauhan starring superstar Akshay Kumar and Manushi Chhillar and directed by Dr. Chandraprakash Dwivedi (Padma Shri). Date: 9th May 2022- Monday Time: 10.30am Venue: YRF Studios, Sta...

Village Council ‘Panchayat’ to have second session on Amazon Prime Video from 20 May

Village Council ‘Panchayat’ to have second session on Amazon Prime Video from 20 May One of the most loved web series, Panchayat, is all set to return on your small screen for its Season 2. Amazon Prime Video launched its long trailer at a packed media gathering at the swanky J.W. Marriott Hotel, Juhu, Mumbai, on May 09.  The village comedy-drama is based on the premise of a city man migrating to a village and the situations he faces there, which are poles apart from city iss...

Wonder-dancer AJ stakes claim as India’s answer to MJ

Wonder-dancer AJ stakes claim as India’s answer to MJ Amit Jadav, aka AJ, a Mumbai prodigy, is a singer-dancer who can leave you wonder-struck with moves that are leaves right out of Michael Jackson (MJ)’s work-book, including the moonwalk and spin. At the performance on 07 May at the Birla Matushri Sabhagar, South Mumbai’s prestigious hall, a packed auditorium found their jaws dropping when he wowed them with act after act, syncing hundreds of moves with video-projection of...

RIFF 08, 2022, 16: Awards presented at the closing ceremony

RIFF 08, 2022, 16: Awards presented at the closing ceremony Special Awards – [7] [01] RIFF 2022 --- LIFE TIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD FOR CONTRIBUTION IN INDIAN CINEMA: N CHANDRA (INDIAN FILM WRITER, DIRECTOR & PRODUCER) [02] RIFF 2022 --- LEGENDARY AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE AND CONTRIBUTION IN INDIAN CINEMA: RANDHIR KAPOOR (INDIAN FILM DIRECTOR, ACTOR & PRODUCER) [03] RIFF 2022 ---- INTERNATIONAL HONORARY AWARD FOR CONTRIBUTION IN INDIAN CINEMA & TELEVISION: CHARLES THOMSON (I...

RIFF 08, 2022, 15: Films I saw at the Rajasthan International Film Festival

RIFF 08, 2022, 15: Films I saw at the Rajasthan International Film Festival Princes and Vagabonds, Directed by Fabienne Le Houérou: Brave attempt but low cinematic values make this documentary watchable only for its informative and curiosity factors.   Pilibhit (The Yellow Wall), Directed by Ashutosh Chaturvedi, Pankaj Mavchi: Inspired from true stories, it tells you how the place got it curious name, has a good treatment and powerful performances.   ...

Mere Desh Ki Dharti, Review: Suicide or pesticide, you decide

Mere Desh Ki Dharti, Review: Suicide or pesticide, you decide You get two films for the price of one when you, or if you, go to see Mere Desh Ki Dharti. Now, if you happen to arrive a little late, after the opening credits, the first half makes you wonder whether you have been ushered into the wrong auditorium of a multiplex, and the film you are watching is not Mere Desh Ki Dharti. On the other hand, if you arrived on time, you must wonder whether the reels have got mixed-up (what an archaic...

Dr. Strange-The Multiverse of Madness, Review: Averse, obverse, inverse, diverse, reverse, converse, traverse, transverse

Dr. Strange-The Multiverse of Madness, Review: Averse, obverse, inverse, diverse, reverse, converse, traverse, transverse Of all the screen movements in Dr. Strange-The Multiverse of Madness, floating and jumping are the main competitive events, closely followed by light rings that are twirled and hurled as weapons by either side. If you can excel in these events, you win the battle. The battle, yes, but the war, no. It is a completely unequal war, with a witch who keeps winning any which way...

Parveen Babi, A Life--by Karishma Upadhyay: Break-ups and break-downs

Parveen Babi, A Life--by Karishma Upadhyay: Break-ups and break-downs Appearing out of nowhere, Parveen Babi made her screen debut with the film Charitra, acting opposite cricketer Salim Durani, in 1973. That was not the first film she had signed, which credit goes to Dhuen Ki Lakeer, released the following year. Her career really took off with Majboor (1974, co-starring Amitabh Bachchan) and she was seen in some 58 films totally, the last one releasing in 1991, years after she had given up a...

Dehati Disco, trailer launch: Ace choreographer Ganesh Acharya debuts as leading man

Dehati Disco, trailer launch: Ace choreographer Ganesh Acharya debuts as leading man They chose International Dance Day to release the trailer of the film Dehati (Rural) Disco at the deserted and decrepit Golden Tobacco cigarette factory, in suburban Vile Parle, Mumbai, which stopped production of their Panama brand decades ago, and the place, which was a landmark once upon a time, now constitutes vestigial remain. Dance has always been the heart of our Indian cinema. We have seen several ic...

Heropanti 2, Review: A bullet in his bum

Heropanti 2, Review: A bullet in his bum Denizens of Mumbai and environs might not need the meaning explained, but this is an international portal, and an explanation is in order. The title comes from two words, hero, which needs no translation, and panti, which does. Most probably, it is derived from panthi, which mean traveller. Panthi easily becomes panti, the combination with hero standing for one who follows the hero’s, or heroics’, path. Lead actor Tiger Shroff took a walk a...

Memory, Review: Contract killer with Alzheimemory

Memory, Review: Contract killer with Alzheimemory In India, as I guess in many other parts of the world, Liam Neeson is instantly associated with Schindler’s List (1992), when he was 40, wherein he played a businessman who saves several Jews from being sent to concentration camps. In the thirty years since, we have seen him play several action heroes. But after 2008, he became synonymous with Bryan Mills of the Taken series. Taken 2 came in 2012 and Taken 3 in 2015. At the Toronto Film ...

Runway 34, Review: Plane truth

Runway 34, Review: Plane truth Yes, the film is about an aircraft, and a pilot’s attempt to land against all odds on Runway 34. But that is exactly half the story. The film has no action whatsoever, not even a single blow, and it is not even about hijacking. A married man, with a young daughter, is piloting a plane with 150 persons on board, when it hits rough weather. How he manages to avoid disaster constitutes the portion before the intermission. Next appears a much feared man who is...

Escaype Live, trailer launch and press meet: Two Sidhharths, one JJ, many escaype artistes

Escaype Live, trailer launch and press meet: Two Sidhharths, one JJ and many escaype artistes Disney + Hotstar, one of a handful of leading OTT platforms, has formulated what it calls the “biggest social thriller of the year”. They have named it Escaype Live and it is described as “the most relevant story of current times.” Created and directed by Siddharth Kumar Tewary, it took three years to make, against an estimated six months, and will release only on Disney+ Hot...

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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

India



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