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FTII seeks police protection

A day after being harried by right-wing protests and rattled by unidentified ‘vandals’, the administration of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) has sought police protection.

As the students’ indefinite strike entered its second month, a giant installation put up outside the FTII gate in the form of a ‘question mark’ designed out of wood and film reel was vandalized by drunken miscreants.

The installation was an expression of the students’ protest against the controversial appointments of TV actor-turned-BJP politician Gajendra Chauhan as the new FTII chairman along with four members of the FTII Governing Council who are known Sangh Parivar propagandists.

“I spoke to police authorities about the incident and they have agreed to provide protection as and when required,” said Prashant Pathrabe, the newly appointed FTII director.

Meanwhile, with the strike crippling the normal functioning of the institute, Mr. Pathrabe said he had advised the students to be flexible on their chief demand of reconstitution of the FTII Society and the removal of Mr. Chauhan as chairman in order to facilitate a possible dialogue with the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.

A Pune-based right-wing outfit, Patit Pavan Sanghatana, had rallied behind Mr. Chauhan on Monday decrying protests against him and branding the students’ as ‘Naxalites’.

But support for the students’ continued to flow with National Award winning director Aparna Sen and several Bengali filmmakers backing the strike and commenting that the Mr. Chauhan’s appointment was an attempt to “saffronise” the institution.

Ms. Sen said the Chairman ought to be someone who could inspire confidence among students.

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 | Apr 17, 2021 4:12:14 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/ftii-seeks-police-protection/article7447986.ece

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