Tuesday October 24, 2017
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FTII Midnight arrest: Shyam Benegal and others speak out

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

In the scorching heat, amidst the placards and posters sit the students of FTII, the fraternity that nurtures upcoming storytellers and producers. For the past 68 days these students have been sitting diligently in a protest against the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as the institute’s Chairman or rather the saffronization of the institute.

The protest which is being termed as the FTII Mahabharta, saw a new yudh yesterday when the police arrested 5 students around midnight for rioting and alleged mishandling of Prashant Pathrabe, the director of the institute. The latter had lodged a complaint against a few students who had gheraoed and “mishandled” him.

With the arrest of these students, the social media was ushered with sundry responses. While Kejriwal offered the students a temporary space to conduct classes, prominent celebrities have come forward to express their solidarity with the students.

Former FTII chairman, Shyam Benegal, for example, in an interview with The Indian Express, said,

This is the worst thing that could have happened. The worst thing. This is something we have been preventing for a long time, even when I was chairman. Twice I was chairman, there were strikes but we never ever even once invited the police into the campus. And I believe that whatever problems the institution might have between the powers that be and the students, I don’t believe a third-party is necessary there at all,

on being asked what does he feel about Pune police swooping down on the protesting students and a few being arrested.

In an article to India Today Anupama Chopra mentions,

“Not just market pressures and structural changes, FTII is beset with a whole lot of problems.”

The article is clearly loaded with the problems FTII has been going through and that the whole thing has now taken a political inclination.

Barkha Dutt tweeted-what’s happening at FTII is so unbelievable it would be a bad film, if it weren’t for the sorry fact that it’s all true midnight crackdown

Clearly the political and administrative intervention in this premier institute is taking it to the dogs. No respite or solution has hitherto been achieved. The entire institutional impasse and the lingering protests of the students bring to fore the larger question about a state’s power to transgress on an educational institute’s working.

And this endeavor by the film personalities and media journalists in favor of FTII students makes a huge difference and should hopefully do some good to the artistic values of FTII for which it’s known.

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Welcome the new Chairman of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Anupam Kher

Actor Kabir Bedi said Anupam “would do wonders” in his new role

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Veteran actor Anupam Kher. Wikimedia

Pune, October 11, 2017 : Anupam Kher, an actor with a repertoire of over 500 movies including international projects, was named Chairman of the prestigious Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) in Pune. The film industry hailed the move.

Official sources confirmed Anupam’s appointment. He will succeed the controversial Gajendra Chauhan, whose appointment had triggered student protests.

Anupam’s wife Kirron Kher, an actress and BJP MP from Chandigarh, told Times NOW: “I’m very happy. Of course, it’s a challenging job for anybody. It’s not going to be an easy job. These chairmanships are crown of thorns. Here, people do get against you, but I am sure Anupam will be able to take them along because he is an extremely talented person.”

Anupam, who began his acting career with “Saaransh” in 1984, also has his own acting institute Actor Prepares.

Kirron said Anupam was the right choice to head the FTII, which provides training in acting, direction and other technical aspects of film making in a country which is one of the largest producers of movies.

ALSO READ Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) in Pune to Screen Films Made by its Alumni from August 5

“My husband is a very fine actor. He has been in the film industry for so many years. He is very capable of (being FTII head).

“He has been teaching acting for so long. He is the only person who earlier headed CBFC, then National School of Drama and now has been appointed Chairman of FTII.

“So, I am a very proud wife today. I would like to thank the government and the Information and Broadcasting Ministry,” she said.

Asked what she meant by ‘crown of thorns’, she said: “I meant the CBFC, not FTII.”

Filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar tweeted: “Heartiest congratulations to Anupam Kher for being appointed as the Chairman of FTII.”

Filmmaker Pritish Nandy called it an “excellent change” at FTII. “Finally, the government is listening to us.”

Actor Kabir Bedi said Anupam “would do wonders” in his new role. (IANS)

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Muslims, You have ruled over Delhi. It is time to Reclaim it: Kejriwal Injects Communal poison for Bawana bypoll

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Chanda Bandh Satyagraha against AAP
Jai Nath Mishra (extreme left) and Dr Munish Kumar Raizada centre) during Chanda Bandh Satyagraha Campaign

New Delhi, Aug 21, 2017: Aam Admi Party leaves no stone unturned to turn the competition in their favour. From targeting youth to women and the common man, they have now changed their focus to the Muslim community in Delhi. Recently, AAP’s sensational move stirred the social media.

A pamphlet asking Muslim residents in Bawana assembly constituency of Delhi to vote for Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the upcoming Bawana bypoll was shared in the social media. The pamphlet professed an appeal to Muslim brothers by a Muslim cabinet minister of AAP, Imran Hussain.

The pamphlet desecrated the vote in the Uttar Pradesh assembly election, indicating the readers that their wrong choice of the vote could worsen the state of affairs in the vicinity. It said that Muslims can’t be swayed if they join hands and vote together.

The message out rightly professed Islamic ideologue, rather more brazenly. With statements like, “Our ancestors (Mughals) have ruled India for a thousand years and that Delhi belongs to Muslims”, nothing more is lucid than the communal propaganda of Kejriwal. What pride should one take in the fact that our land was once ruled by non-natives for several centuries?.

It also vouched for the pamphlet to be disseminated across Muslim shrines (Dargah) and every Muslim hook and corner.

The shameless vouching for votes does not even end here; it also demeaned others in the competition by calling them their enemies. Does this mean every Non-Muslim party is an ‘enemy’? Messages like will do nothing good than arousing animosity among the diverse sects.

The blatantly and flagrantly communal pitch of the pamphlet is noticeably an infringement of Supreme Court order that bans drum up support for votes in the name of any community. The order calls for disqualification of the candidate owing to such appeal.

Tajinder Bagga, a Delhi BJP spokesperson solicited a case to be registered against AAP supremo and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for dispensing such communal appeal.

Munish Raizada, former NRI AAP convener also expressed his views regarding the poster;

Imam, the voice in the poster, however, denied the claims made. He has called the poster ‘fake’ and demanded police action for the same.

Off late, Arvind Kejriwal was also seen making intimidating remarks while talking to the voters in the by-election that AAP will not work under BJP/Congress leadership.

The party which maintained the common man status in its initial stage is now a party full of goons. What obvious assertion does one need? Isn’t the poster pitching for communal stance enough to prove that in the so-called Aam Admi Party, nothing is Aam (common) except for one thing and that is double-dealing.


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Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) in Pune to Screen Films Made by its Alumni from August 5

Authorities believe that renowned artists like Naseeruddin Shah, Rajkumar Hirani, and Subhash Ghai were FTII students once and it will be interesting to watch what they did when they were stepping in the world of cinema

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FTII is the latest entrant to adopt the practice of outdoor screening. Wikimedia
  • Films previously made by students of FTII to be screened for the larger public in  a short-film festival
  • FTII has nearly 500 diploma films in its archives that are now in the process of restoration
  • Padaarpan is scheduled to begin from August 5

Pune, July 29, 2017: In the year 1976, a direction student at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune, Saeed Mirza made a documentary titled ‘An Actor Prepares’, in which he interviewed acting students at FTII on what they felt about their prospects in Bollywood as part of his final year project. One of the persons interviewed in the film was his batch-mate Om Puri, who was pessimistic in his outlook. During his student life at FTII, Om Puri acted in five diploma films namely Amrita, An Elusive Dream,  Khukari, Navjatak, and Duniya Chalti Hai. However, none of us heard or watched those films, only until now.

The Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune has now decided to conduct public viewing of a series of diploma films by its alumni over the years. The public screening of these films, which will be free of any cost is to commence on August 5.

Since its inception in 1960, students have made diploma films as part of the academic curriculum at FTII. However, these films were never accessible to the larger public. “The diploma films made by the students as part of their final year project work generally do not see the light of the day. So, we have decided to screen them for the public at our premises once in a week”, said FTII director Bhupendra Kainthola, calling these diploma films “goldmines”, as reported by PTI.

Bhupendra Kinthola is the current director of FTII.
FTII Pune director Bhupendra Kainthola in conversation with students. Wikimedia

FTII is one of the finest institutes for films in the country. Over the years, it has produced a fine list of noted actors, filmmakers, cinematographers, editors and technical staff for the Hindi, Tamil and Kannada film industry alike, that include names like Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Girish Kasaravalli, Rajkumar Hirani and Resul Pookutty. Actors like Raj Kumar Yadav, Naseeruddin Shah, and Shabana Azmi also make the list of prominent FTII alumni.

The scheduled film screenings, which will be no less than a short film festival, will be called ‘Padaarpan’ meaning baby steps, and will be held starting Aug 5 at the institute’s main theatre which has a capacity of 200 seats. Advertisements will be given out in newspapers about the screenings of these movies, entry to which will be free of any cost and on first come-first serve basis.

According to the PTI report, the inaugural event will be attended by veteran actor and FTII alumnus Shatrughan Sinha, who as a student had acted in a diploma film titled “Angry Young Man”. Sinha’s diploma film would also be screened on the occasion, said Kainthola.

Sinha was a student at FTII
Veteran actor and FTII alumni Shatrughan Sinha. Wikimedia

FTII continues to be a landmark institution with its students winning most national awards and short film competition in the student film category. More recently, a short film Afternoon Clouds, made by Payal Kapadia, a student at FTII was also screened under the Cinefondation category at the 70th Cannes Film Festival in May this year. The film was among the 14 works of fiction and two animation films nominated in the short film competition category, which was open to film schools across the world and received over 2,600 submissions.

However, such masterpieces by FTII students have remained unknown to the wider audiences.

In the past, FTII new and old film projects have been aired on DD Bharati in 2007, before the practice was discontinued for reasons unknown. In 2008, Lok Sabha TV had screened 15 students’ film under a section titled ‘First Cut’.  The practice was restarted in 2013 with DD Bharati showcasing some of the films but the period was short lived.

Today, FTII has nearly 500 diploma films in its archives that are now in the process of restoration.

The decision of conducting public viewing of past diploma films again will not only help students’ work get greater exposure but also create an opportunity for the larger population to witness quality work of film students and be a part of a short-film festival.

Officials at FTII are already in the process of finalizing the films to be screened. “They have been selected either based on their selection for national and international awards or if any famous personality was part of it”, Kainthola told PTI.

Gajendra Chauhan, former FTII chairman also believes that this will be a good initiative as people will get to view the works of their favorite artists when they were students.

ALSO READ:10 Small Budget Indian Films that prove you Don’t need Superstars or High Budgets to sell it!

In 2016, the possibility of Prasar Bharti to start a new channel to screen diploma and documentary films produced at various national film institutes was considered. A proposal to screen the films at Doordarshan was also submitted to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry which is still pending.

– by Soha Kala of NewsGram. Twitter @SohaKala


NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt.