Mumbai: Actor Ranbir Kapoor is the latest Bollywood celebrity to extend support to Film and Television Institute of India students who have raised their voice against the appointment of actor Gajendra Chauhan as new FTII chairman. He says the students’ demand is legitimate as they want an “aspirational figure”, who they can look up to.
In a black and white video, posted by FTII students on video-sharing site YouTube, the “Bombay Velvet” actor has asked the authorities to pay heed to the students’ demands, to talk to them and address their grievances.
“FTII, Pune, has been a premier institute in India. It has given birth to so many award winning filmmakers, directors, editors and cinematographers. People look at a graduate from FTII with so much of respect,” the 32-year-old said in the video.
Ranbir, who is not an FTII alumni, added that people are proud to have an institute of this stature in India and it is only fair that the students want someone with a body of work that will inspire them.
“It is only fair that students deserve a fair hearing of what they want, all they require is an aspirational figure to look up to somebody with a large body of work, (if) not large body of work but a body of work that they can aspire or they can be inspired from,” Ranbir said.
He also pointed out how in an institution of arts like FTII, there has to be freedom of speech.
“I don’t think what the students are asking for is illogical, all they are asking for is to give them a fair chance, a fair opportunity, correct faculty, correct syllabus. I really do pray that an institute that we all are so proud of and seen such great personalties emerge from… Shouldn’t be a disappointment for student and future students,” he said.
The students of the Pune-based institute have been boycotting classes and abandoning academic work to protest the “politically motivated” appointment of Chauhan, who according to them, lacks stature and vision to head the institution.
Chauhan, best known for playing ‘Yudhisthira’ in popular mythological TV serial “Mahabharata”, took over as the chairman of the institute’s governing council last month. His appointment was later criticised by current and former students of FTII, who were joined by students of various institutes like Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi University and Delhi Technological University in their protest.
So far, names like Kiran Rao, Piyush Mishra, Sayeed Mirza, Jahnu Barua, Pallavi Joshi, Resul Pookutty and Rajat Kapoor have expressed their dissent over Chauhan’s appointment.