‘I do not support any film which portrays JNU in bad light,’ says V-C Santishree Pandit

April 09, 2024 11:54 pm | Updated April 10, 2024 08:48 am IST - New Delhi

Jawaharlal Nehru University Vice-Chancellor Santishree Pandit. File photo

Jawaharlal Nehru University Vice-Chancellor Santishree Pandit. File photo | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Vice-Chancellor Santishree Pandit on Tuesday said she “does not support any film which portrays JNU in a negative light”, amid ongoing protests by students against the shooting of a web series on campus.

The web series, which is based on the Emergency imposed between 1975 and 1977, is being filmed on the JNU campus for a period of nine days. Directed by Sudhir Mishra, the series comes hot on the heels of the release of film Bastar: The Naxal Story and the poster reveal of JNU: Jahangir National University — films that JNU students have written to the V-C over in the past, urging her to take legal action against their “defamatory” content.

“I do not stand for any film that portrays JNU in bad light. Why target JNU in particular? JNU has produced several brilliant people in the past, like [Finance Minister] Nirmala Sitharaman, [External Affairs Minister] S. Jaishankar, and [G20 sherpa] Amitabh Kant. It is unjust to brand a university that has contributed so much to the country. This stereotype stems from the unfortunate incidents that took place on campus before I joined as V-C,” Ms. Pandit told The Hindu, referring to the two previous films.

The cost generated by the filming, which was raised from ₹5,000 to ₹1 lakh per day, will “generate revenue to benefit the campus and be utilised for student activities”, the V-C added, saying that several films, including Lakshya, have been shot on university premises for the “last 25 years”.

Meanwhile, the JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU) accused the administration of “infringing” on students’ academic spaces with its “corporate filmmaking agenda”.

“It is a public university. Funds should come from the government and not commercial activities,” said Dhananjay, the recently elected JNUSU president, adding that the reading room in the School of Social Sciences was being used for filming purposes, “barring” students from accessing the area.

While JNUSU held that it was not against the series, but against the administration for permitting it, the V-C said JNU “played an important role during Emergency”.

“The director is reputed, and we trust that he won’t portray the university negatively,” she said.

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