news Sunday, July 19, 2015 - 05:30


Student protests at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) Pune against the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as its Chairperson has moved into its second month.

With Chauhan himself alleging that the protests have been “politically motivated”, calls for giving the current chairperson a chance at proving himself have been aired.

"Without knowing my background, without knowing me, without knowing my capabilities, they (students) have decided on their own (to protest)," Chauhan reportedly said, asking for a chance at proving his capabilities . 
The News Minute decided to go to the students themselves and ask the one question that is being asked by the defenders of Chauhan. “Doesn’t Chauhan deserve a chance to prove himself?”
And this is what FTII had to say.


1. Saurabh Subhash Chand 

When we opposed Gajendra Chauhan’s appointment as FTII Chairperson, it was purely due to the lack of credentials in him.

There was nothing political about it, until the BJP government made it look like one. To give him a chance to prove his calibre is out of the question, now that the agitation has gained national momentum.

We at FTII, do not bother even if a faculty or authority have political affiliations. But when appointments are done purely based on that ignoring the calibre part of it, we cannot let this happen.

Saurabh, a second year student of Film Editing, later opined that never has the central government been ignorant about education to this level.

2. Vipin Waghmare- Television Cinematography

“Why are we talking about if’s and when’s, when there are other people eligible to hold this position?” Vipin asks.

A student of television cinematography, he says that the students had to undergo rigorous selection process to get into FTII, and after all that it takes to be admitted to the institution, “how can we let people with absolutely no credentials head the institution?”, he says.

So, there is no question of “what if he proves to be a visionary”. It is all based on speculation and uncertainty, which we do not wish to rely on.



3. Ajayan Adat

From setting the syllabus to deciding on the admission criteria, to decision on the number of students per batch and course related decisions, the Chairperson is responsible.

“Somebody who has absolutely no idea about world cinema, why should we even consider giving him a chance?”, says the final year student of Sound recording and sound designing.

The chairperson will be required to present seminar papers at various important events for which the students do not feel he is well-informed. “This is an educational institution, not a trial-and-error laboratory.

Moreover, this is not an acting institute, acting is just one of the courses offered here.

What FTII needs is not an actor, but a visionary who can lead the institution. Art cannot survive within a hegemonic environment and that is exactly what the government is trying to do”, he says matter-of-factly.



4. Ganga Das and Shiny: A Sound recording and sound designing student, an emphatic ‘no’ was Ganga’s instinctive response to the question of giving Chauhan a chance. Shiny, a film editing student, points out two reasons for her opinion on the happenings.

“Firstly, how can heading some cine artists union be counted as a merit to his administrative abilities?

Secondly, our issue is not just with the Chairperson’s appointment.

The appointments of Dr Narendra Pathak, Anagha Ghaisas, Pranjal Saikia and Rahul Solapurkar in the committee of ‘People of Eminence’ is also very problematic.

When making a couple of propaganda videos on Modi and campaigning for BJP in the elections becomes the basis for the appointments, says Shiny, protesting is the only way to make sure their voices are heard.


5. Sayali Naikwadi and Kshitij Randhir: “All his credentials or the lack of it is already out in public. So, there is no possibility of giving him a chance to prove himself,” says Sayali.

Kshitij is of the view that when students are put through a series of selection process, the government does have the responsibility to state relevant credentials of the appointee.

Both Sayali and Kshitij are final year Art direction and production design students.