FTII chairman appointment: An attempt at saffronisation, says Aparna Sen

Filmmaker Aparna Sen with film director Suman Mukhopadhyay at Press Club in Kolkata on Monday. - Photo: Sanjoy Ghosh  

Voicing apprehension over the negative effects of so many persons from one political party being nominated in the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) Society, eminent actor and director Aparna Sen on Monday said a possibly of saffronisation remains in such a situation.

The FTII Society, consisting of luminaries from the world of art and culture, elects members of the governing council, the institute’s apex decision-making body. The students of the FTII have been on strike for about 39 days demanding the removal of actor-turned-politician Gajendra Chauhan as the institute’s chairman.

“When so many persons from a particular political party get nominated, there is a very negative aspect to it. Here I think that the voices of protest will get muzzled and there is a possibility of saffronisation,” she said here.

Speaking to the media along with other luminaries of the film fraternity of Bengal, Ms. Sen said that it was from institutions such as FTII “anti-establishment protests” take place.

Former FTII student and award-winning film-maker Indranil Roychowdhury said that the appointment of actor-turned politician Gajendra Chauhan as the FTII chairman was an attempt to further the agenda of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

Another FTII alumnus and noted documentary film maker Sourav Sarangi wondered whether Mr. Chauhan was being rewarded for his allegiance to the ruling BJP.

FTII Limbo

Gajendra Chauhan, an actor-turned-politician, was appointed as the chairman of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) on June 9, 2015. His appointment triggered an >indefinite strike by students of the institute on June 12.

Who is Chauhan?

Mr. Chauhan is best known as 'Yudhisthira' in the Mahabharata TV series aired on television in 1988-90. He has been associated with BJP for over two decades but formally joined the party in 2004.

Why protest?

Students of FTII have questioned Mr. Chauhan's body of work and "creative credentials." The students doubt if Mr. Chauhan can fit in the shoes of predecessors like R.K. Laxman, Syam Benegal, Girish Karnad and U.R. Ananthamurthy.

Political vendetta?

Students claim that Mr. Chauhan's appointment is an attempt of the ruling party to foist its right-wing agenda upon the Institute.


Besides, prominent film personalities, All India Students' Association (AISA), the Kolkata-based Satyajit Ray Film Institute, and students at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) are all coming out strongly in support of the striking students.

  • If they don't want you, they don't want you. Pushing for the chairmanship is getting you no where. Let self pride play a role and retire

    - >Rishi Kapoor

  • FTII needs to be in safe hands. Students need somebody who they can trust and look up to. It's their future which is at stake here.

    >- Rajkumar Rao

  • This is something we should be talking about and by this we will clearly know that it is a mistake and that he has no credentials...If I would have been in place of Chauhan and I would have seen that my fraternity does not want me, I would have withdrawn.

    >- Amol Palekar

  • Don't think what the students are asking for is illogical, don't think they are asking for the moon. They are just asking for a fair chance, a fair opportunity, correct faculty, correct syllabus.

    - Ranbir Kapoor

  • I have neither been approached by students nor by authorities. But being an alumnus of this institute to which I owe my film career, I am more than willing to step in and sort out matters if given the chance to do so.

    - >Shatrughan Sinha

Prominent chairmen

Anwar Jamal Kidwai
(1974 - 1977)

First chairman, founder of Mass Communication Research centre at Jamia Millia Islamia.

>R.K. Laxman
(1977- 1980)

Legendary cartoonist, Padma Bhushan, Vibhushan. Known for creating the character "Common Man".

> Shyam Benegal
(1981 - 1983)
(1989 - 1992)

Known for pioneering parallel cinema. Recipient of Dadasaheb Phalke Award among others.

> Mahesh Bhatt
(1995- 1998)

Award-winning director, screenwriter, producer in mainstream Hindi cinema.

>U.R. Ananthamurthy

Eminent author, Padma Bhushan. Pioneered Navya movement in Kannada language.

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Printable version | Mar 2, 2021 10:42:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/ftii-chairman-appointment-an-attempt-at-saffronisation-says-aparna-sen/article7444741.ece

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