The students demanded the appointed of Chauhan to be revoked
FTII students' protest continued for the third day on Sunday against the appointment of TV actor and BJP member Gajendra Chauhan as the new chairman of its governing council. After Friday's flash strike boycotting classes, about 150 students gathered on the campus on Sunday to gather support for their agitation. They also raised slogans and displayed placards condemning Chauhan's appointment.
Alluding to the BJP affiliation of Chauhan, one of the posters put at the gate of FTII said: "Mr Modi we don't want your puppet". Earlier, they had demanded the appointment of Chauhan be revoked, calling it a "political appointment".
However, Chauhan, who played the role of 'Yudhishthir' in popular television serial "Mahabharat", told PTI today that he would try to discuss the matter with the students. FTII students' association president Harishankar Nachiputhu said, "It is extremely sad that rather than enhancing stature of the institution, the government is trying to undermine its autonomy by partisan appointments of people with no merit.
He urged the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to "reconsider the appointment of Chauhan and also relook at the process of constituting FTII society and its members." The students' association, in a statement, also claimed that Chauhan lacked academic, administrative and artistic credentials in the field of film education.
The students' association said their protest will continue till they get a positive response to the issues raised by them from the authorities, canceling Chauhan's appointment. "I have experience of 34 years in the industry I would like to share that for the better. I think I have been chosen because I am capable for the job assigned to me. It is not correct for them (protesting students) to say that I don't have vision," Chauhan told PTI.
"I would either write to them a letter or meet them to discuss the matter. In the 60s-70s there were lot of talented actors, directors, screenplay writers and others who were part of FTII. Then in between came a lull. When I join I will analyse...scrutinise as to what is happening and how we can improve," Chauhan said.
Meanwhile, noted well-known Marathi filmmakers Anand Patwardhan and Umesh Kulkarni have come out in support of the students' demand for high standards of selection of the FTII chairman's post. Patwardhan today addressed the students who have been protesting against Chauhan's appointment.
Veteran filmmaker Shyam Benegal, however, did not comment saying he is not aware of the issue. "I don't know the matter exactly. I don't know what are they against actually -- do they think he is incompetent or that he is appointed due to political reasons. There has to be clarity. I don't know who is he, what is his qualification. Since I don't know much about the matter I won't be able to comment on it," he said.
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