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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)