Monday, June 15, 2015

Film and TV Institute students draft petition, tell new chief, BJP's Gajendra Chauhan, he is "unfit" for the job

Chauhan in BR Chopra's Mahabharata
By Our Representative
In a scathing attack on Gajendra Chauhan’s appointment as new chief of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), the protesting students of India’s one of the most prestigious institutes have drafted a petition telling him that he was chosen because he was “meant to be a puppet of the government”. Telling him that he lacks “capabilities” to lead the institute, the petition says, there is “a huge anomaly” in his body of work and “the very principles and aesthetic FTII stands for.”
The petition, which it titled “Paap se dharti FTII”, says, “When we first heard about your appointment we knew little about you except those of us who had grown up on Mahabharata, the BR Chopra serial.” On looking up for more information to get to know about him, it says, “We began to smell a rat”, adding, “You, as we saw, are unfit for the job, but more important than that this is a strike against the increasing interference of the ruling party to drive its agenda throughout the country.”
Pointing out that FTII stands for freedom of thought, freedom of speech, individuality and unbridled self-expression, the petition says, FTII is the only film institute in India which has a “global perspective on cinema as a pure aesthetic medium without any mercenary considerations.”
It adds, “Cinema here is taught from the lessons and learnings of world greats by people who understand it as an art-form, to students who want to become artists not assembly line film-makers. This requires a certain bent of mind and commitment to cinematic arts.”
Telling Chauhan that he has “no connection whatsoever with FTII” – he has never even visited the institute – the petition says, “You may say you will learn on the job, but we aren’t talking about hiring an intern.”
Asking him to “seriously reconsider and withdraw”, the petition tells Chauhan of the type of luminaries who have headed the institute – Adoor Gopalkrishnan, Shyam Benegal, Girish Karnad, UR Ananthamurthy, Saeed Mirza, and so on.
Especially taking exception to Chauhan’s recent statement that Rajkumar Hirani was the last film-maker of reckoning FTII produced, the petition reminds him of ‘Vihir‘, a terrific Marathi film was chosen at Berlin in the competition section and it was made by an FTII alumnus. “Last year, in 2014,‘Killa’, a Marathi film has won the Crystal Bear at Berlin”, and the director “a cinematography student here”, the petition says.
Giving more details, the petition says, there was ‘Masaan’, which won two awards at Cannes this year, the Ajay Devgan starrer ‘Drishyam’, also made by an FTII alumnus. “Our diploma films have been selected in competition at Berlin this year, ‘Kamakshi’ being a case in point. ‘Chitrashala’, another short film selected at Berlin this year is made by Amit Dutta, an FTII alumnus again”, it insists.

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