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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. He is also an acting and dialogue coach. 



IFFI: 1,000 entries from 100 countries

IFFI: 1,000 entries from 100 countries

Ten days to go for the commencement of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), and there is no confirmation for media accreditation as yet. This being the 47th IFFI and my 47th year in film journalism, I am sure the concern is unfounded, though. Also being missed is the customary press conference, which is held well before the event. Meanwhile, here are some of the major attractions expected in Panaji, Goa, during November 20-28.

*A staggering 1,000 films will be screened, from around 100 countries. Great news, if film-buffs can chop themselves into 1,000 pieces and be omni-present, at all 1,000 shows.

*The Festival authorities have announced that they are proud to introduce the Centenary Award for best Debut Feature, a special competitive section for debut films of young and aspiring directors from all continents, carrying substantial prize money for the winning team!

*IFFI, in association with International Council for Film, Television and Audio-visual Communication (ICFT)-UNESCO, will launch the ICFT-Gandhi Award competitive section this year, which will feature films that promote peace and non-violence. The film that best reflects the Gandhi ideals of peace, tolerance and non-violence, will be awarded a prestigious Gandhi Medal and Certificate.

India’s entry in this section is nine times national award winning director T.S. Nagabharana’s Kannada language musical-drama-historical venture, Allama. The film is about the 12th century meta-physician and poet, Yogi Allama (pronounced All’ma and not Allama; not to be confused with the Urdu-Arabic word for scholar, usually associated with poet Iqbal, though the term is relevant), a son of a temple dancer, who embarks on a quest for knowledge and answers, to his four core sentiments and quests, yearning, and obsession, failures and self-realisation.

When he evolves and becomes ‘Prabhu’, a master of monotheistic and non-dualistic philosopher, he begins to question many core values in his ideal world where he can foresee violence and advices people to find solace and departs on his final journey to become one with nature and a true spirit. Dhananjaya plays Allama Prabhu, from the time he was a teenager till he was much older. The film also stars Meghana Raj and Sanchari Vijay.

Other films that will vie for the honour are A Real Vermeer, Beluga, Cold of Kalandar, Exiled, Harmonia, The Apology and The Family: Dementia.

Allama Trailer:

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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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