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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 52, 026: Garhwali film Sunpat addresses the migration crisis

IFFI 52, 026: Garhwali film Sunpat addresses the migration crisis

‘Sunpat’ is a story of love and friendship set in the backdrop of migration driven crisis in the villages of Uttarakhand, a state in North India.

The word Sunpat denotes the loneliness felt by us, and even the nature and mountains, when everyone around leaves. It is the emptiness at a festival ground when crowds desert the place after the celebrations are over. In his Garhwali language film Sunpat, director Rahul Rawat (not to be confused by Hindi director Rahul Rawail, who was also present at IFFI) tries to capture this emptiness and void in the ghost villages of Uttarakhand, which were left lifeless, as a result of migration of its people to urban areas for jobs.

“Due to lack of opportunities, people of Uttarakhand, for long, have been migrating to other parts of the country. These migrations, which have happened due to various socio-economic factors have created approximately 1,500 ghost villages in the state. More than 4000 villages are left with very few people, and due to this the society, culture and tradition of these regions are at stake. I wanted to tell this story and tell people how migration is wreaking havoc in my state.” said Rawat.

Sharing his experience of about making the film, Rawat said the film were inspired by real life people whom the unit met and interviewed, across the state. The shooting of the film was completed in 20 days, once the persons were short-listed.

Veeru Singh Baghel, who is DOP, of the film narrated, his experience of the shoot. “We used to get up early in the morning and had to literally run from mountain to mountain in search of sunlight, as sun moves very quickly on the mountains. Whole cast and crew of the film used to help in shifting the equipment. I shot the whole film on 2 LED lights.  It was an awesome experience, all in all.”

Sunpat was screened in Indian Panorama non-feature film section in 52nd International Film Festival of India, Goa, and it was first film from Uttarakhand to find a place in IFFI.

About the film

It is the story of twelve-year-old Anuj, and his friend Bhartu, who go on a mission, to find out if the girl the former likes, pays any heed to him. As they plan out the ways to propose to her, we see, through their journey, the emotional trauma large parts of the villages in Uttarakhand are facing due to the long-prevailing socio-economic migration. ‘Sunpat’ is a story of love and friendship blooming at the time of hopelessness.

About Rahul Rawat

Director & Producer: Rahul Rawat worked under renowned ad-film directors, before joining Percept Pictures as a writer-director. Later, he shifted from advertising to films as he believed films can have life changing impacts on people, and found it meaningful to pursue a career in cinema. Rahul Rawat has earlier worked with Amit Sharma (Director of Badhaai Ho)

Sunpat is his first film as a writer, director, co-producer and screenplay writer and editor.

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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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