FTII Protests: Support Pours In From All Quarters!

By Yash Thakur. Posted on June 22, 2015

The FTII (Film and Television Institution of India) students' strike finishes 12 days today and apart from the slogans, graffiti and media coverage, nothing seems to have moved ahead on the disagreement of students over the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as the chairman of the governing council of the FTII.

As the premier institution of filmmaking in the country, the protest has attracted support from various corners, from regional film industries to student bodies and educational institutions, which has fueled the controversy even more. Here's a look at the various renowned personalities and institutions that stand in solidarity with FTII.

Adoor

Ex-Chairman of FTII  Adoor Gopalakrishnan at the protest meet held at Trivandrum, Kerala

FTII and NSD alumnus, veteran actor Om Puri in support of the students said-

It is my humble request to the government to appoint someone who understands the problems faced by the students and has the knowledge of cinema, and is capable enough. He should be able to make proper plans for a better future of the students.

National Award winning director, Onir (My Brother Nikhil, I AmBas Ek Pal) said-

It is sad to see that the person appointed to head #FTII has very little connect with the world cinema.

Activist and folk singer Shahir Sambhaji Bhagat inspires FTII students with his powerful songs

Chaitanya Tamhane, director of National Award winning film Court said-

Although I have not had any formal association with FTII, I would like to extend my support to the students who are demanding transparency and a dialogue with the authorities. It will be rather unfortunate if these voices are curbed, or worse, ignored. 

FTII alumnus and noted Marathi director Umesh Kulkari speaks out-

FTII is a place that not only moulds filmmakers but also develops the perspectives of viewers. So, the chairman of such an institute should be a person who has knowledge about Indian as well as world cinema. The institute has had people like Shyam Benegal, Adoor Gopalakrishnan and UR Murthy as chairpersons who had a vast and a respectable body of work to show. If a person is being selected for this post, he should have the credentials to head a reputed place like this and I feel it's high time that the government takes notice of this.

National Film Archive of India (NFAI) founder P. K. Nair in solidarity with the students of FTII

Noted actor Anupam Kher tweeting support for FTII students said-

FTII is an important institute for future filmmakers, actors and technicians. Government has to keep that in mind before choosing it's head. 

Meanwhile noted director M. K. Raina (one of India's best known theatre actors and directors) had to say-

I feel very disturbed by the developments that have happened at FTII, Pune. One cannot allow this institution to be pulled down by the government with such insensitivity. These are places of higher learning and cutting edge technology. FTII has great legacy, and that has to continue on that path. I FULLY SUPPORT THE PROTESTS OF THE STUDENTS... to save FTII is to save the freedom of expression and intellectual freedom.

Documentary director Anand Patwardhan in support of FTII students' protest

Avinash Arun, director of Killa and an FTII alumnus said in support of the students-

I don't have anything personal against Chauhan as an individual but what credibility does he have to be appointed to this post? With his body of work, is it really right to put someone like him in this position? I am caught up with the promotion of my film Killa but am finishing it as soon as I can so that I can go and join the protest.

And finally documentary filmmaker and human rights activist Stalin K, in a scathing remark to Gajendra Chauhan said-

Mr Chauhan, maybe you should quickly make a short film, enter it into a bunch of film festivals, win a few prestigious awards and thereby shut the bickering mouths of the protesting students. This will also vindicate the faith your masters have put in you.

This is just a sampling of the support that has come in from all quarters. The protests are far from over. Until the government does not initiate a dialogue between the ministry and the students, the agitators will not budge. You can follow their Facebook page, FTII Wisdom Tree, for all the latest updates.


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