FTII row: Shatrughan Sinha offers to mediate

With no quick solution in sight to the imbroglio that has crippled the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), actor turned Bharatiya Janata Party MP Shatrughan Sinha has offered to mediate between the agitating students and the Information and Broadcasting Ministry in a bid to end the crisis.

Mr. Sinha, an FTII alumnus, paid a surprise, late-night visit to the campus on Tuesday and met the Director D.J. Narain. He offered to act as a bridge between the Ministry and the students who were agitating following the controversial appointment of TV actor and BJP leader Gajendra Chauhan as Chairman of the FTII governing council.

“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,” said Mr. Sinha, remarking that it was important to understand what was plaguing the students before the situation turned explosive.

Mr. Sinha, known for his work in films like Gulzar’s Mere Apne (1971) and Goutam Ghose’s Antarjali Jatra (1987), said while he was concerned about the strike afflicting the students’ academics, he was equally worried about the Central government’s credibility and commitment to the Institute.

The BJP leader has been known for speaking his mind against the party line in the past, with his vocal dissent leading to his branding as a ‘rebel’ within the BJP pecking order.

Mr. Sinha also brushed aside speculations about the I & B Ministry privatising or shutting down the institute, commenting that one ought not to take such rumours seriously. The indefinite strike entered its 26th day on Wednesday. Mr. Chauhan, who was due to join today, had earlier expressed his unwillingness to take charge as Chairman in the midst of the agitation.

Commenting on the recent >resignations of actor Pallavi Joshi and eminent director Jahnu Barua from the FTII society, Mr. Chauhan said that he had not yet received any resignations as he had not yet joined his post.

“They [Joshi and Barua] must have sent it to the Ministry or FTII director. They have quit owing to their personal problems. Once I take charge and then someone resigns, I will talk to them individually and try and sort out the matter,” Mr. Chauhan said.

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Printable version | Mar 2, 2021 10:54:02 PM |

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