My name is Tusshar Sasi and I hail from India. Filmy Sasi is a website where I write about cinema. I was raised in the southern edge of the country called Kerala – an Indian state known for its picturesque landscape and world-class cinema. Growing up in a family that was culturally and artistically inclined, going to the cinema was a habit from my days as a toddler. My first memory of being impacted by a film was in 1995. I watched renowned Indian director Mani Ratnam’s Tamil language film ‘Bombay’. It was instrumental in opening up several of my creative nodes. For the first time, I keenly observed how a soundtrack played a role in a mode of storytelling. A. R. Rahman’s music (especially K. S. Chithra’s Kannalane) mesmerized me as did actor Manisha Koirala who played the female lead. I strongly connected with its characters’ emotions even though their living conditions, struggles, and longings were far cry from mine. It was then that I realized how an audio-visual medium could make me a participant in someone else’s story. As opposed to reading a book or listening to a story from an elder, cinema was not entirely dependent on my imagination. The film, with its moving theme and effective acting, compelled me to discover similar works from its team members. The rest, as they famously say, is history.
From 1995 to 2006, I continued my process of watching films. In this period, I predominantly consumed cinema from Hollywood and those from Indian film industries (made in Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, Bengali, and Marathi languages). In 2006, as a youngster consuming volumes of literature on cinema, an idea germinated in me. I decided to pen my first amateur film review for a Bollywood film titled Ankahee. The short review was sent to the leading English film magazine Filmfare and they duly published it in the ‘Reader’s Review’ column. My penchant for reviews continued through 2011 and by then more than 25 of my amateur reviews/articles had appeared in the magazine. My tryst of writing reviews gave me the confidence to open a film review blog for myself in the same year. I continued to watch films and I penned reviews for a select few.
In late 2011, when I shifted to the city of Bangalore for work (and later study), I was introduced to world cinema by a community of avid film lovers. A local film society held occasional film screenings besides mentoring youngsters who had an aptitude for cinema. It opened up a whole new universe in front of me. Furthermore, my Master’s Degree had film studies as an active module that allowed me to develop my perspectives by assimilating knowledge from a range of feature, short and documentary films. It was around the same period that I discovered film festivals. I attended several editions of the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) and the Bengaluru International Film Festival (BIFFES), besides interning with the latter in 2013. In 2014, I was won the ‘Best Audience Reviewer Award’ at the closing ceremony of the 6th Bengaluru International Film Festival.
I moved permanently to Mumbai in December 2015 for work. In March 2016, I decided to launch my own web domain (Filmy Sasi) wherein I would go on to become an active reviewer of Indian films from a variety of languages aside from intermittent ones for Hollywood films. The website was received very well, which boosted my confidence to learn more about the craft. In 2016, I was invited to the 49th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), Goa as a media delegate, which kicked off a passion in me to actively cover film festivals. Between 2016 and 2019, I covered the Jio MAMI Mumbai International Festival. In 2019, I attended the KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival and the Jagran Film Festival, Mumbai while covering the latter.
In 2017, I undertook a course at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune – the country’s premium institute for film studies. Post my studies, I continued educating myself about the finer nuances of filmmaking as well as film reviewing. I also made it a point to unlearn the incorrect influences that had accumulated in my writing style over the years. I took to reading more about cinema and film criticism by accessing online journals besides frequent visits to the library at The U.S. Consulate General, Mumbai.
In autumn 2018, I was selected to be a member of the coveted Online Film Critics Society (OFCS). At OFCS, my reviews (chiefly of Indian cinema) were published frequently on the portal. I voted for the 2018 and 2019 editions of The Online Film Critics Society Awards. OFCS also expanded my access to world cinema, which was earlier limited to local film festival visits.
As of 2020, I continue to pursue my passion for film reviewing. Besides reviews, I also pen articles, lists, music reviews, tribute pieces, film festival coverage, and a series of year-end compilations (for Hindi, Malayalam, and non-Indian films) on Filmy Sasi. With most film festivals in India being canceled in 2020 due to the COVID19 pandemic, I remotely covered the 36th Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (September 24 to October 3). This was followed by the NewsFest New York LGBTQ Film Festival in the same year. I kicked off my 2021 film festival coverage with the 20th Tribeca Film Festival (June 9-20) followed by the 74th Locarno Film Festival.
Besides my website (Filmy Sasi), I also run the social media pages on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter where I create content around an array of film-related themes. My expertise lies in penning English reviews of films in Indian languages.
Hope you enjoy reading my work. Please leave a comment if you come across something that is particularly impressive. Thank you very much for reading.