Both Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi began supporting cinema by setting up the Federation of Film Societies of India in 1959. On the recommendation of the film inquiry committee, the I&B ministry decided to set up an institution to impart training in screenplay, direction, cinematography, sound recording and editing. It acquired premises and properties from the defunct Prabhat Film Studio in Pune (the third and fourth generation of its employees still hold various jobs on the 21-acre campus). Remy Tessonneau, director of the Paris Institute des Hautes Etudes Cinematographiques, was recruited in March 1961 to help lay down a syllabus. Initially known as the Film Institute of India, it acquired its present name after the television wing was relocated from New Delhi to Pune in 1974. It has produced some of the finest artistes in cinema in Mumbai and elsewhere—actors Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, Smita Patil, Shabana Azmi, Jaya Bachchan and Rajkummar Rao; technicians (editor Renu Saluja, cinematographers K.K. Mahajan and Santosh Sivan, Oscar-winning sound designer Resul Pookutty and composer Pritam) and filmmakers (Mani Kaul, Saeed Mirza, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Girish Kasaravalli, Kundan Shah, Vidhu Vinod Chopra). David Dhawan and Rajkumar Hirani graduated in editing from here.
Diploma films from here have earned accolades at home and abroad. If Kannada filmmaker Girish Kasaravalli’s Avashesh won the National Award for best student film in 1975, directing student Payal Kapadia’s Afternoon Clouds was shortlisted at the Cinéfondation selection at Cannes 2016.
Seats for film, TV and screenwriting courses have been reduced and courses restructured to ensure they are completed on time and students don’t overstay beyond three years. But infrastructural woes remain, with allotment and maintenance of equipment still an issue and the administration accused of delaying funds allocated to finish diploma films.
MOVIES IN THE MAKING Editing room at FTII