Deadlock over FTII chief's appointment continues

Filmmakers come out in support of agitators

Deadlock over FTII chief's appointment continues

The deadlock over the government's appointment of veteran TV actor Gajendra Chauhan as the chief of the Pune-based Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) continued for the fifth day on Tuesday, with both sides refusing to budge, thus compounding the problem.

More than 150 FTII students boycotted classes and continued their protest on the campus, raising slogans against Chauhan, who was appointment chairman of the institute's Governing Council exactly a week ago.

“It is not a question of BJP, NDA or saffronisation. It is a question of minimum qualifications. We are not against him, but you have to see who have occupied the post in the past. This would answer all questions,” they said.

Meanwhile, backing for the students continue to grow, with several filmmakers coming out in their support.

“We feel very disturbed by the developments at FTII Pune. One cannot allow this institution to be pulled down by the government with such insensitivity. These are places of higher learning and cutting-edge technology. The FTII has a great legacy, and it has to continue on that path. We fully support the students' protest. Saving the FTII is to save the freedom of expression and intellectual freedom,” said M K Raina, of the New Delhi-based Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust.

“Film institutions always suffer as I&B minister is never from the Entertainment Industry. Sunil Dutt (Sports), Shatru Ji (Health) or Smriti Irani (HRD) etc… Nobody apart from the entertainment industry can identify with its real issues (sic),” tweeted veteran filmmaker Ashoke Pandit, elaborating on actor-turned-politicians never holding the information and broadcasting posrtfolio.

“From icons like Mrinal Sen, Adoor, Shyam Benegal who once were Chairman of Governing Council of FTII, we now have a B grade film star (sic),” tweeted Ramesh Sharma, another filmmaker.

Meanwhile, an open letter by FTII students said: “We began to smell a rat. Given your political affiliations and the fact that the ruling party is becoming notorious for making completely irrational and high-handed appointments since it has come to power, it was clear to us you were meant to be a puppet of the government and chosen despite your capabilities and in spite of your body of work.”
 

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