Pune Film Institute Director Row: 'I am not an Asaram Bapu Bhakt,' Says Gajendra Chauhan

FTII Director Gajendra Chauhan speaks to NDTV.

Pune:

Gajendra Chauhan, the new director of the Pune film institute -- over whose appointment a protest has broken out -- today told NDTV that the students are judging him without seeing his work.

Mr Chauhan - known for his role in the teleserial  "Mahabharat" -- said he was falling victim to what he called the students' "preconceived notions" about his reel life, which, he pointed out, was different from real life.  

"I'm not saying that I match the capabilities of the ex-leaders of the institute," he said. But he added that the Information and Broadcasting ministry, which appointed him, "must have seen something" in him.  

"Without seeing my work, how can you decide whether I'm fit or not?" he added.

Mr Chauhan has also denied that he is a follower of Asaram -- a Youtube video that shows him dancing with the religious leader who has been accused of rape has provided ammunition to students who have been campaigning for his ouster.   

The students claim that their objections were not only based on Mr Chauhan's filmography but the Centre's move to instate someone "who was not rightly qualified". The appointment, they have alleged, was political. Mr Chauhan is also a member of the BJP.

The FTII students' association has also alleged that the Mr Chauhan lacks the "vision and stature" of his predecessors. It has already written to the ministry, demanding Mr Chauhan's removal, but is yet to receive a response.

The protests at the institute have entered the sixth day -- its walls have been filled with graffiti that reads, "Chauhan go back" and "We shall fight, we shall win".