FTII SHUT­DOWN OUT OF QUES­TION, SAYS FILM FRAT

Fa­mous alumni from the Film and Tele­vi­sion In­sti­tute of In­dia re­act to buzz that it may be shut down

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Front Page - Medha Shri Dahiya medha.dahiya@hin­dus­tan­times.com

As the stand­off be­tween the stu­dents of Pune’s Film and Tele­vi­sion In­sti­tute of In­dia (FTII) and the gov­ern­ment con­tin­ues, there is strong buzz that the lat­ter may ei­ther shut down the in­sti­tute or trans­fer its own­er­ship to Bol­ly­wood. While the stu­dents are de­mand­ing the re­vo­ca­tion of ac­tor Ga­jen­dra Chauhan’s ap­point­ment as the head of the in­sti­tute al­leg­ing lack of merit, the gov­ern­ment has other plans.

When con­tacted, Yashasvi Mishra, a mem­ber of the stu­dent body, told us, “The min­is­ter (Arun Jait­ley) made a pass­ing re­mark about a re­port that had sug­gested shut­ting down the in­sti­tute once, but it was dis­missed out­right.

We saw that as a threat. They can’t just shut down one of the most pres­ti­gious film in­sti­tutes in Asia. The peo­ple of the coun­try who voted the gov­ern­ment to power won’t let that hap­pen. We have a prob­lem with the ap­point­ment of peo­ple with ques­tion­able cred­its.” In the past, the in­sti­tute has had chair­men of the likes of theatre per­son­al­ity Girish Kar­nad and film­maker Adoor Gopalakr­ish­nan.

The alumni of the in­sti­tute is also against the idea of shut­ting down the col­lege.

“In­stead of wash­ing their hands off, maybe they should im­prove things. There are many mas­ters of cin­ema who are a prod­uct of the in­sti­tute, and can be con­sulted for a so­lu­tion,” says Padma Shri awardee ac­tor Om Puri, who is from the in­sti­tute’s 1976 batch.

Film­maker David Dhawan, who is also an alum­nus of the in­sti­tute, laughs off the buzz, say­ing, “That can’t be true. You know, for us, FTII is as sa­cred as a tem­ple and as holy as the Bi­ble. May be they should bring some­one from the pool of its se­niors — some­one who is qual­i­fied. Shift­ing the own­er­ship to Bol­ly­wood is also not a bad idea.”

One of the most noted mem­bers of the alumni and a for­mer chair­man of the in­sti­tute, Padma Bhushan Shyam Bene­gal says, “If this is true, it’s fright­en­ing ... it means the at­ti­tude of the cur­rent gov­ern­ment is that they no longer feel it is their re­spon­si­bil­ity to of­fer film ed­u­ca­tion to the stu­dents of cin­ema. They can’t ab­di­cate their re­spon­si­bil­ity. As for trans­fer­ring the own­er­ship to the Hindi film in­dus­try, there is no sin­gle body that runs the in­dus­try.”

Mean­while, Ga­jen­dra Chauhan says, “If the gov­ern­ment wants to shut it down, it’s their pre­rog­a­tive. As for the protests, I think it’s very un­fair to ag­i­tate against some­one who hasn’t even started work­ing. They aren’t even giv­ing me a chance.”

If it is true, it means the gov­ern­ment no longer feels it is their re­spon­si­bil­ity to of­fer film ed­u­ca­tion Shyam Bene­gal, ex chair­man

of FTII and film­maker FTII is an in­sti­tute of na­tional im­por­tance, and has honed many tal­ented film per­son­al­i­ties

Ra­jkum­mar Rao, award-win­ning ac­tor

PHOTO: ATUL YA­DAV/PTI

Stu­dents of the in­sti­tute are ag­i­tat­ing

against Ga­jen­dra Chauhan (L) be­ing ap­pointed as the

chair­man

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