Amid 'Go Back' Slogans, Gajendra Chauhan Spends Day At Film School FTII

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Amid 'Go Back' Slogans, Gajendra Chauhan Spends Day At Film School FTII

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Students held protests inside the FTII campus ahead of Gajendra Chauhan's visit to the Pune film institute

Pune:  Amid slogans of 'Go back, go back", Gajendra Chauhan arrived at the prestigious Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) in Pune for the first time since he was controversially appointed its Chairman in June last year.

Students protesting at the campus before his arrival were hit by lathis or batons by the police; women students alleged they had been "manhandled". However, senior police officer Tushar Joshi said, "We had asked the students to demonstrate peacefully, but we had to use force because they wanted to block the way to the institute... we used minimum force."

The 55-year-old film school in Pune prides itself on quality cinema and has turned out some top filmmakers. It is governed by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

Critics, including some students, say Mr Chauhan, an actor known for little apart from his role in the 1980s TV serial on the Mahabharata, lacks the stature to head an academic institution - an allegation denounced by the government. For nearly four months after he was selected as chair, students on campus went on strike to demand his removal.

"We have come to do our job," he said, before he presided over a meeting that focused partly on selecting the 14 members of the academic council for the film school. Among them are Rajkumar Hirani, the director of the blockbuster Munnabhai films and veteran actor Satish Shah.
 

Gajendra Chauhan was controversially appointed as FTII Chairman in June last year (Press Trust of India photo)

Mr Chauhan, who campaigned for the BJP ahead of the national election and has been a party member since 2004, has said his political views will not influence his policy or decisions for the film institute.

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