Protests at Film Institute in Pune After Actor-BJP Member Gajendra Chauhan is Appointed Chief

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Protests at Film Institute in Pune After Actor-BJP Member Gajendra Chauhan is Appointed Chief

FTII students protested against Mr Chauhan's appointment.

Pune:  The Information and Broadcasting Ministry's decision to appoint BJP member and actor Gajendra Chauhan as President Chairman of the governing council of the Film and Television Institute of India or FTII has met with strong opposition from students.

About 150 students pursuing various courses at the FTII in Pune had launched an indefinite strike against what they term as a "political" appointment. Today the students vowed to continue their protest by boycotting classes and shutting down administrative offices on the campus.

Asserting that they would continue their protest till the demand is met, the students' body alleged that it was purely out of consideration of his affiliation with BJP that Mr Chauhan was chosen for the key post.

"A person who has an official affiliation with the ruling-BJP and who lacks the vision and stature of the past chairpersons in film-making, has put a question mark on the process of selection for the post earlier held by eminent people like Girish Karnad, Shyam Benegal and Adoor Gopalkrishnan," Harikrishnan Nachimuthu, who heads the FTII students' association, told PTI.

A final year student pursuing course in film direction said Mr Chauhan lacked the "experience and stature and quality" of his predecessors to merit his new posting, which is "politically coloured".

But Mr Chauhan denied the charge. "I am shocked at the protest. These students haven't even met me, why are they protesting? I Will talk to them personally and discuss their problems. I have worked with the best of directors. I do not agree that I don't have film making experience. I promise to solve all the problems at FTII," he said.

FTII director D Narayanan told Press Trust of India that the institute authorities have opened the channels for dialogue with the students. "We are having a dialogue with the students to find a way out amicably," he said.

But the students' association has decided to send their representation on the issue objecting to Chauhan's appointment to Information & Broadcasting ministry.

"We will re-look the current protest only after getting a positive response to our demand by the authorities," Nachiputhu said.

Noted filmmaker and FTII alumnus Jahnu Barua has called the appointment a "matter of concern."

Gajendra Chauhan, who played Yudhishthir in the popular television series Mahabharat, was picked ahead of lyricist Gulzar and film-makers Shyam Benegal and Adoor Gopalakrishnan who are learnt to have been shortlisted by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry for the job.

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