FTII Alumni Back Striking Students, Will Write to PM Modi

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File photo of FTII students protesting


Mumbai:  The deadlock between students of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) and the Information and Broadcasting Ministry over the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as chairman of the prestigious institution continues. The alumni association of the institute came out in support of students on Friday, saying they will write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene and resolve the deadlock.

"The issue is not Mr Chauhan alone, the issue is appointment of the entire FTII society, it's a body which has more than a dozen people on it," Jabeen Merchant, a film editor and FTII Alumnus told reporters.

The alumni rubbished the charges against the students and said it was remarkable that they had kept their agitation apolitical for so many days.

The industry too firmly came out in support of the students.

Well-known script writer Jaideep Sahani told NDTV, "We film people stay away from politics, because we get stones thrown at our theatres and our films get banned. We have never had a good experience with politics."

Filmmaker Dibakar Banerjee told reporters, "If you study the background data, if you study the curriculum vitae of those people and if you study their other credentials and then hear how they plan to run FTII or how they plan to influence the course structure and students of FTII, it is not something that dwells well for FTII."

On Friday the government appointed Prashant Pathrabe as the institute's new director. The students and alumni hope he will understand the students' point of view.

"I have just been told to take over. There has not been any discussion any meeting with ministry of course ministry will guide us how to resolve this. This is an additional charge. I will be devoting 100% of my time. I will study the situation.  It's not a very happy situation to be in," Mr Pathrabe said.

As voices of support grow for the students, many are wondering why the government simply cannot change the decision to appoint Mr Chauhan, a decision that has been widely criticised by the film industry, given that the future of students and the industry are at stake.


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