This Article is From Aug 03, 2015

'Gajendra Chauhan Who?': Veteran Actor Soumitra Chatterjee Backs FTII Protests

Soumitra Chatterjee has backed FTII protests against Gajendra Chauhan

Kolkata: Protests by students of the Film and Television Institute of India or FTII have been endorsed by veteran actor Soumitra Chatterjee, who has questioned: "Who is Gajendra Chauhan?"

Mr Chatterjee, who won the Dada Saheb Phalke award three years ago, said that he had "never heard" of Chauhan.

"I don't know who he is. Anyone who will occupy a responsible position should have good body of work. Does he have that? Who is he?" said the 80-year-old Bengali actor, who has been making waves with his role in the short film "Ahalya".

Students of the famous Pune-based film training institute have been on strike for nearly 2 months against the appointment of little-known TV actor Gajendra Chauhan as the chairman of FTII's governing body.

Students, alumni and several celebrities have said that Mr Chauhan falls far short of the qualifications needed for such a prestigious post. Many allege that Mr Chauhan, who has also acted in B-grade films, has been appointed only because of his proximity to the ruling BJP.

Soumitra Chatterjee said: "For so many days there have been protests but the government is not listening."

FTII students are protesting in Delhi today. They have refused to return to their classes unless Mr Chauhan is removed.

Last week, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi visited Pune and interacted with the protesting students. He promised to support the cause and attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying: "Only the PM decides in the BJP, only one man has power. If the PM wants somebody, the BJP can't remove them."