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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 53, 2022, 09: Bihar as a shooting destination

IFFI 53, 2022, 09: Bihar as a shooting destination

The Bihar pavilion at the 53rd IFFI has called out to budding film-makers to explore the historical, archaeological, cultural and natural heritage of the land of Buddha and Mahaveer.

This year, at IFFI, as an initiative, several state governments had installed their pavilions at the Film Bazaar, to promote film-making industry in the states. States such as Manipur, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Delhi and Puducherry had set-up their respective pavilions.

Anurag Singh Thakur, Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, had visited the Bihar pavilion, at the inauguration.  

Earlier, renowned actor Pankaj Tripathi, who inaugurated the Pavilion of Bihar, was delighted to see his home state being represented at IFFI. He said that the state has immense film-making potential, which needs to be harnessed.

Mrs. Bandana Preyashi, a Bihar government official, said, "The state government has taken several initiatives to attract film-makers for shootings in Bihar." She talked about the improved security scenario and availability of rapid connectivity and robust infrastructure.

A state government official present at the Explore Bihar pavilion said that there is the need to break the stereotype of Bihar as a poverty-stricken state. Actually, the infrastructure of Bihar has grown manifold, in terms of rail, road or air connectivity, and other forms of infrastructure. Explore Bihar pavilion highlighted the fact that several renowned actors, directors and technicians of mainstream film industry have their origins in Bihar.

It was expected that accomplished film-makers and actors, who have migrated from Bihar and established themselves in mainstream Bollywood industry or any other regional film industry, shall be inspired to return to their homeland and contribute in the establishment of a robust film-making industry.

The pavilion highlighted cultural, natural and archaeological wonders, such as Sonepur cattle fair, which is the largest cattle fair of Asia, and the Harmandir Takht Shri Patna Sahib, which is one of the holiest pilgrimage sites for the Sikh community.

The pavilion also highlighted the heritage of film-making in Bihar. Some of the most iconic scenes in Richard Attenborough’s Oscar-winning Gandhi were filmed at the centuries-old Patna Collectorate.

The iconic song O Mere Raja from the movie Johny Mera Naam (1970) was shot at various spots of Rajgir.

Manjhi -the Mountain Man (2015), the critically acclaimed Hindi language biographical film, is based on Dasarath Manjhi, who was a poor labourer from Gaya, Bihar.

Several scenes of India’s Most Wanted, a 2019 Hindi-language action thriller film, directed by Raj Kumar Gupta, and starring Arjun Kapoor,  were shot in Patna. 

Recently, a film titled Grinding Humanity has been entirely shot in Bihar. Grinding Humanity is a 2022 Hindi-language film, directed by Ruchin Veena Chainpuri.

The department of Art, Culture and Youth of the Government of Bihar will soon publish the Bihar State Film-making policy. The policy, among other things, would include a Single Window Clearance mechanism, which would help film-makers to get different permits in very little time.

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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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