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
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
Students of the institute are agitating
against Gajendra Chauhan (L) being appointed as the