- Anupam Kher, 62, alumnus of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII)
- He succeeds Gajendra Chauhan whose appointment had triggered protests
- "I am not sacked, my term ended in March," Mr Chauhan said
Mr Kher said he felt "deeply humbled and honoured" to head the iconic institute.
The 62-year-old critically acclaimed actor has over 500 films and plays to his credit, including international projects like Bend It Life Beckham and Silver Linings Playbook. He has headed the censor board and the National School of Drama in the past. The national award winner is also an alumnus of the elite drama school.
"He will be a very good chairman. He has the credentials for this. I am very happy...thank you (Narendra) Modi ji, thank you Smriti Irani for this," said Mr Kher's wife Kirron Kher, an actor and a BJP lawmaker.
Congratulatory messages, many from the film fraternity, flooded social media.
Heartiest congratulations to @Anupamkher sir for being appointed as the Chairman of FTII— Madhur Bhandarkar (@imbhandarkar) October 11, 2017
Mr Kher was among the celebrities who had backed protests against the appointment of Mr Chauhan, a small-time actor best known for playing Yudhishthir in the TV version of Mahabharata. Thousands of students boycotted classes at the Pune-based film training institute demanding his removal.
Congrats @AnupamPkher!! May the institute get greater glory ! Anupam Kher replaces Gajendra Chauhan as newly-appointed chairman of FTII— KUNAL VIJAYAKAR (@kunalvijayakar) October 11, 2017
Despite being derided as a person lacking the credentials for the post, Mr Chauhan stubbornly refused to resign. The government was accused by the opposition of elevating its own loyalists to top posts.
"I am not sacked, my term ended in March," said Mr Chauhan today.
Mr Kher, a Padma Bhushan winner, led a "March for India" to Rashtrapati Bhawan in 2015, protesting against what he believed was "growing intolerance" against the BJP-led government.
Eminent personalities like Shyam Benegal, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Saeed Mirza, Mrinal Sen and Girish Karnad have headed FTII in the past.
The institute counts among its students some of the country's most illustrious actors and artistes, including Naseeruddin Shah, Jaya Bachchan, Shabana Azmi, Om Puri, Smita Patil and Resul Pookutty.