FTII students protest over 'BJP man' Gajendra Chouhan's appointment as chairman
Pune: Students at the prestigious Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) have launched an indefinite strike against the appointment of actor Gajendra Chouhan as the new chairman of its governing council.
Chouhan, who has served as joint convenor for culture in the BJP, was appointed FTII president by the Information & Broadcasting Ministry on June 9.
Chouhan is known for his role of Yudhisthira in the popular TV series 'Mahabharat'.
The students boycotted their classes on Friday and expressed their disapproval through graffiti on the walls, which read: “Gajendra resign and leave”, “Dharmaraj Yudhishthir? No Way!”, “Politics or FTII, both can't go together”.
One of the members of FTII Jahnu Barua also expressed reservations saying the prestigious institute should be headed by a stalwart.
"Our point is that we want obviously the institute to be headed by a stalwart from this field. Somewhere we feel in a way that something is going wrong in that kind of a decision," he added.
Asked if he thought that Chauhan was not that kind of stalwart, Barua said, that this is what "everyone feels". He added that as alumni, they were very emotionally involved with the institute and there was a feeling of "unpleasantness" among many "well wishers of the institute".
Chauhan was given preference over lyricist Gulzar and filmmakers Shyam Benegal and Adoor Gopalakrishnan, who were reportedly been shortlisted by the ministry for the top job.
Bollywood actress Vidya Balan, filmmakers Raju Hirani, Santosh Sivan and Barua were named members of the FTII society and would work under Chauhan.
A students' representative alleged that Chouhan did not match the vision and stature of past chairmen of the FTII governing council, and the appointment appeared "politically coloured" in view of his "affiliation" with ruling BJP.
The representative, who did not want to be named, said the past chairmen like Girish Karnad, Adoor Gopalkrishnan, Mahesh Bhatt, et al had rich experience in film making, which Chouhan lacked.
Future course of protest will be decided in due course, she added.
(With inputs from PTI)