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Not their favorite color: FTII students protest, demand Gajendra Chauhan’s removal

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By Ishan Kukreti

Students of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) along with All India Students Association (AISA) and other student bodies held a protest against the government’s decision to make Gajendra Chauhan the head of FTII.

The protest was held in front of Information and Broadcasting Ministry’s office in Shastri Bhawan and witnessed a highly disgruntled gathering of students, demanding nothing less than Chauhan’s removal, along with the four members of ‘Persons of Eminence’ category.

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The protest had the support of AISA, along with other student bodies.

All five members have been deemed under-qualified for their respective positions and their links with the Sangh Parivar are viewed as their ticket to the institute.

” I want to know what the government saw in the man that they decided to bestow such a prestigious position to upon him. Maybe we are blind, and therefore we want the ministry to tell us the basis on which Gajendra Chauhan has been appointed the head of FTII,” said Sanjeev Sood, head of GraFTII, alumni association of FTII.

” The BJP government, by making these appointments has sent a clear message that come what may the government is ready to spread its ideology even if it means destroying the educational institutions of the country,” said Sucheta, President AISA.

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The protesters criticized the government for spreading their ideology at the expense of education.

Gajendra Chauhan, whose tour de force includes playing Yushistar in Mahabharata (1998) and some B grade movies, along with four other faculty members, Anagha Ghaisas , Narendra Pathak, Pranjal Saikia and Rahul Solapurkar, have been allegedly given prominent posts in the institute because of their loyal adherence to the saffron strand of nationalism promoted by the current Modi government.

“Forget ideology, the people appointed are not even credible film makers to be placed at the helm of this prestigious institution. This is part of a surgical process through which the government is trying to forward its agenda among the youth,” said Kislay, former general secretary of FTII and a final year editing student.

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A unanimous complaint of the students was that Gajendra Chauhan is not qualified enough to hold the position.

Student bodies across India have not taken the recent cases of increasing central interference and appointment of BJP/RSS related people as institutional heads. The latest row over FTII appointments has united the students and this could create trouble for the NDA government.

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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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Lathicharge on FTII students: 20 detained for protesting against Chauhan

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Pune: At least 20 students from the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) were arrested for protesting against their new chairman Gajendra Chauhan outside their campus today.

Chauhan’s appointment was followed by a series of protests by students and celebrated alumni of the Pune-based premier film institute.The police served notices to 17 FTII students and warned them from disrupting law and order situation when Gajendra Chauhan took charge as the chairman of the institute on Thursday. But the students still protested against him outside the campus.

Chauhan was appointed as FTII chairman on June 9, 2015. He is renowned for playing the role of ‘Yudhishthira’ in BR Chopra’s “Mahabharata” and also for doing cameos in movies like “Tumko Na Bhool Paayenge” and “Baghban”.

There was an indefinite strike by the students on June 12 which was withdrawn on October after 139 days. The students questioned his professional credibility to lead the institute due to lack of “stature” and “vision”.

Chauhan’s first FTII society meeting is scheduled on Thursday. Chauhan is joining office after seven months of his appointment.

“This is confirmed that he (Chauhan) is coming but we have not got any official notice. Students will protest at the campus but other things are yet not decided”, FTII Students’ Association president Harishankar Nachimuthu told reporters on Wednesday.

Chauhan said he is not pestered by the protests but rather it is about fulfilling the responsibility.

“I received the orders from government and I will do my job accordingly. Let me go there and see. I can’t say what they will do but I am ready to fulfill my duty.”(Picture Courtesy:tehelka.com)(IANS)

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Telly and the 90s nostalgia

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By Sreyashi Mazumdar

Picture credit: huffpost.com
Picture credit: huffpost.com

Empty alleys, scorching sun, and people thronging before the televisions sets with a conch’s blow marked the beginning of Mahabharat’s episode number 62. Well, one might get befuddled as to what does the aforementioned portrayal hint at; however, let me clear the air. If you are a 90s kid and your Sundays started off with BR Chopra’s Mahabharat when the clock ticked 12, you might get an inkling of what I intend to talk of.

Indian television might have taken a gargantuan leap within a span of 20 odd years. However on reminiscing those days when the newly-found colored television sets would have knocked at our doors, and cult daily soaps like Mahabharat, Ramayan, Shaktiman and Mowgli exuded balminess and fondness.

Picture credit: learningandcreativity.com
Picture credit: learningandcreativity.com

Shaktiman was one of the most popular Indian superheroes, captivating every toddler’s mind. The blaring golden star right at the centre of the marooned costume and the makeshift eddying of the superhero were not only the most jaw-dropping excerpts of the entire series but also two of the most emulated expressions. “At that age, it was an insight into a superhero’s world. He was my role model. There was this constant excitement to watch it because it was about an alternative human and not a normal human being and though it is mocked widely, it is a reminder of my childhood days,” shared Ishani Roy, with a broad smile and a glow that gradually surfaced on her face.

Jungle jungle baat chali hai pata chala hai..
chaddhi pehen ke phool khila hai phool khila hai…

Picture credit: wikia.nocookie.net
Picture credit: wikia.nocookie.net

A lanky little boy with a tattered underwear and unkempt hair loitering around a humongous stretch of forest with lions and bears and a bewitching tune in the background precisely limns the episodes of the Jungle Book. “My father used to address me as Mowgli because of the hair cut I had. Jungle Book was like a ritual for me. I made sure that I tuned in to Mowgli every Sunday after a toothsome breakfast. I used to gleefully croon away to the title track…I do it even now at times,” recollected Tulika Mazumdar, a 21-year-old undergraduate from MS Ramaiah Institute of Technology, Bangalore.

Picture credit: feminiya.com
Picture credit: feminiya.com

Paging through the long lost memories of Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayan and BR Chopra’s Mahabharat, one might get erratic flashes of actors like Arun Govil and Gajendra Chahuhan. They donned gaudy attires and their faces fleshed out overt expressions. Indian television was still in it’s nascent stage with epics like Mahabharata, Ramayana or even Krishna for that matter kicking off a furore across the country. Climatic wars, larger than life sets and resounding dialogues were some of the most common elements typical of these epic dramas, establishing the archetypes of Indian television in a way. “Our entire family used to take to one huge sofa and gawk at the television set without any distractions hindering us,” said Nupur Chatterjee, a computer engineer from Bangalore.

Though these series have exhausted their shelf lives, they continue to amuse us till this date, leaving behind a soothing stint of recollection.