This Article is From Jun 14, 2015

Pune Film Institute Students Protest After Actor-BJP Member is Appointed Chief

Students of FTII are protesting the appointment of actor-politician Gajendra Chauhan as chairman.

Pune: Close to 50 students of the prestigious Film and Television Institute (FTII) gathered outside campus on Saturday holding up posters against the appointment of actor Gajendra Chauhan as the chairman of the institute's governing council. They also raised slogans demanding that the appointment be revoked.

The walls of the institute are filled with Graffiti that reads, "Chauhan go back" and "We shall fight, we shall win."

Gajendra Chauhan, who is noted for his role as Yudishtir in BR Chopra's 'Mahabharat', was appointed chairman of the film institute's governing council on June 9.

"He says he is 600 serials old. We want to ask, so what? We've had people like Shyam Benegal, Girish Karnad and Saeed Mirza before him. We need someone who has a vision for the institute. He doesn't have the credentials," Ajayan Adat, Secretary of the students council told NDTV.

Mr Chauhan, is a member of the BJP and students have been condemning the appointment of an individual with political affiliations.

"This is not an isolated issue. Similar appointments have been made at the Central Board of Film Certification. We are stakeholders at the institute and won't let that happen here. These are partisan appointments and it is sad that the government is undermining the autonomy of the institute", another student of the institute, Hairhshankar Nachimuthu, told NDTV.

Gajendra Chauhan said, "I am shocked at the protest. 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."

Students are however, unfazed and have decided to continue the strike until the government has a constructive dialogue with them. They have refused to attend classes and cancelled pre-scheduled shoots until their demands are met.

Students have also raised objections with other appointments, such as that of filmmaker Shailesh Gupta who has been named an alumni in the governing council's structure. Shailesh Gupta has made a short film praising Prime Minister Modi and his work.