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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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IFFI 51, 16-24 January, 33: Holy Rights and a Muslim woman marriage priest

IFFI 51, 16-24 January, 33: Holy Rights and a Muslim woman marriage priest

“Holy Rights documents the movement against triple ‘talaaq’, it portrays Muslim women’s struggles to break free of patronising voices within the community as well as resist external forces against appropriating their movement to suit their own political agenda. Though the film talks about the Muslim community in particular, I believe it's an all-pervasive one, on the problem of exploitation of powers of women. It also gives a message that all of us can achieve something if we want to.” This is what Director Farha Khatun had to say about her film Holy Rights, which was screened under the Indian Panorama Non-Feature film category. She was addressing a press conference at the 51st International Film Festival of India, held in Goa.

The film speaks about the exploitation women face in every walk of life, including in the sphere of religion, asserted Farah. Speaking about the seeds of the film, she mentioned about the influences she underwent during her childhood and the experiences that led to the shaping of the film. “I was quite aware of triple ‘talaaq’ since childhood. I have seen and heard many heart-wrenching stories about it; they really affected and influenced me. My quest to know more about the act and its interpretation in the Quran led me to make a film on Safia, a woman Qazi.”

On the choice of the theme, she added: “The subject was selected since, at the time of making of the movie, there was unrest prevailing in the country over the triple ‘talaaq’ issue. Any attempt to talk about patriarchy within religion is often dismissed.”

“Holy Rights has been quite an experience for me, it has been a journey of five years”, she added.

About ‘Holy Rights’

Safia, a deeply religious Muslim woman from Bhopal, is driven by her belief that Muslim women are denied equality and justice in the community because of the patriarchal mind-set of the interpreters of ‘Sharia’. She joins a programme that trains women as Qazis, (Muslim clerics who interpret and administer the personal law), which is, traditionally, a male domain.  

The film documents the journey of struggle and tension of Muslim women, with a special focus on triple ‘talaaq’.  It tries to capture the desperation that drives women like Safia to risk everything to change an oppressive system.

The movie also highlights social issues, human rights, women, justice, family and religion.

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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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