Stir against new FTII chief intensifies

Despite plea from Chauhan for a chance to prove his worth, protests continue.

Updated - November 16, 2021 05:30 pm IST

Published - June 16, 2015 04:02 am IST - Pune:

The indefinite strike by students of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) over the appointment of television actor-turned BJP politician Gajendra Chauhan as chairman intensified on Monday.

At a press conference, the Students Council said it was opposed to the “ad hoc nature” of Mr. Chauhan’s appointment and had written to the Information and Broadcast Ministry urging the appointment of another person as chairman.

The protests continued despite earnest appeals by Mr. Chauhan that he be allowed to prove his credibility.

“We have informed the [I & B Ministry] that we cannot accept a person whose competence and artistic credibility is in strong doubt. We are awaiting a response from the Ministry,” said Harishankar Nachimuthu, president, FTII Students’ Association. Progressive film-makers and leftist organisations and student bodies have spoken in support of the students’ strike.

Documentary film-maker Anand Patwardhan, who visited the campus on Sunday with Swaraj Abhiyan leader Yogendra Yadav, said: “It is a blatant attempt by the BJP to saffronise the institution.”

Flagging the pattern of appointments across film bodies and institutes, Mr. Patwardhan criticised the selection of Pahlaj Nihlani as Censor Board chief and of actor Mukesh Khanna as Chairman of the Children’s Film Society of India. Mr. Yadav said: “I sincerely believe that the students’ objection to Gajendra Chauhan’s appointment… is just. He [Chauhan] pales into insignificance when compared with luminaries such as Adoor Gopalakrishnan and Girish Karnad.”

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