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“And Then I Saw A Few Soft Porn Films”: FTII student On Getting To Know Gajendra Chauhan

An FTII student made a hilarious film on the new chairman’s filmography. A short interview with the promising filmmaker.

gajendra

Students at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune, have been on an indefinite strike since June 12 protesting the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as the new chairman.

Chauhan’s claim to fame was his portrayal of Yudhisthir in the TV serial, Mahabharat.

Since then he has moved on to more creative pursuits.

#WTFnews" data-image-description="<p>No free lunches<br /> R. SRINIVASAN , The Hindu, 1-1-2014</p> <p> </p> <p>The RBI’s Financial Stability Report is formal acknowledgement of a deep-rooted problem: India Inc’s profligacy.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>What does this list stand for? <a class="zem_slink" title="Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group" href="http://www.relianceadagroup.com/ada/index.html" target="_blank" rel="homepage">Reliance ADA Group</a>, <a class="zem_slink" title="LSE: VED" href="http://www.google.com/finance?q=LON:VED" target="_blank" rel="googlefinance">Vedanta Resources</a>, <a class="zem_slink" title="Essar Group" href="http://www.essar.com/" target="_blank" rel="homepage">Essar Group</a>, Adani Group, Jaypee Group, <a class="zem_slink" title="JSW Group" href="http://www.jsw.in/" target="_blank" rel="homepage">JSW Group</a>, <a class="zem_slink" title="GMR Group" href="http://www.gmrgroup.co.in/" target="_blank" rel="homepage">GMR Group</a>, Lanco Group, <a class="zem_slink" title="Videocon" href="http://www.videocon.com" target="_blank" rel="homepage">Videocon Group</a> and <a class="zem_slink" title="GVK (conglomerate)" href="http://gvk.com" target="_blank" rel="homepage">GVK Group</a>.</strong></p> <p> </p> <p>A list of India’s biggest, most successful, corporates? Going by the size of their balance-sheets, their market share in the sectors they operate in, the value of their stock in the markets, the kind of access they enjoy in the corridors of power and the clout they wield with the system, this would be a popular guess. This would also be a correct conclusion to reach on all the above factors.</p> <p> </p> <p>But there is another, less talked about characteristic these companies share — they are also among the most indebted of Indian corporates, with a combined cumulative debt of Rs 6,31,024.70 crore — over $100 billion, according to a widely discussed research report by Credit Suisse.<br /> Redlining on debt</p> <p> </p> <p>The report offers some devastating insights into the kind of problems these companies — India’s biggest and supposedly brightest — face as a result of reckless borrowing.</p> <p> </p> <p>“Debt levels at these groups have risen by 15 per cent year-on-year, even as profitability continues to be under pressure.</p> <p> </p> <p>The largest increases have been at groups such as GVK, Lanco and ADA where the gross debt levels are up 24 per cent Y-o-Y. For most of these corporate groups, the debt increase even outpaced capex (capital expenditure)”, the report pointed out.</p> <p> </p> <p>The Credit Suisse report also brought out some worrying developments. Almost half (23 of 50) of the top 50 companies, by size of their debt, couldn’t pay interest on their loans in seven or more quarters in the past two years. Thirty eight companies reported net losses. And with a handful of exceptions, their current earnings were not enough to meet even interest repayments, leave alone repay the capital. The result has been a dramatic surge in ‘restructuring’ of bad debts by banks, desperate to prevent their star assets from being declared as bad loans.</p> <p> </p> <p>In the past two years alone, <a class="zem_slink" title="Banking in India" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banking_in_India" target="_blank" rel="wikipedia">Indian banks</a> — mostly government-owned banks, but also the large private sector banks and multinational banks — have ‘restructured’ over Rs 2 lakh crore of loans, which would have otherwise gone into default category.</p> <p> </p> <p>While agriculture loans, loans to small and medium enterprises and politically directed loan waivers have been largely blamed for the troubles the banks are facing, the reality is different.</p> <p> </p> <p>More than 70 per cent of the restructured loans are accounted for by loans to the private sector. And a dominant share of this is accounted for by the biggest players in the business.<br /> Stimulus to borrow</p> <p> </p> <p>There is more bad news. With investments falling, and the domestic banking system unable to lend further — because a lot of its money is already locked up in previous bad loans — the demand for ‘stimulus’ packages grew shriller from <a class="zem_slink" title="India Inc." href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/India_Inc." target="_blank" rel="wikipedia">India Inc.</a></p> <p> </p> <p>An obliging government promptly provided this stimulus by way of allowing corporates to borrow yet more money abroad.</p> <p> </p> <p>Estimates put the share of foreign currency denominated corporate debt at over $225 billion — and more than half of this is unhedged, which means that a depreciating rupee has already added around 12-15 per cent to this when the time comes for repayment.</p> <p> </p> <p>This, the borrowers are clearly not in a position to do. This would mean that Indian lenders will have to take a haircut of monumental proportions, if the situation is to be prevented from deteriorating into the kind of systemic collapse one saw in some of the smaller Western nations after the 2008 meltdown.</p> <p> </p> <p>The Government will eventually have to foot the bill for this, by way of further capital infusion into the weakened balance-sheets of the banks it owns. Between 2010-11 and 2013-14 (which still has three months to go), the UPA-II regime has forked out Rs 58,643 crore by way of additional capital infusion into state-owned banks. Add the special funds released during the crisis in 2009-10 and the total tops Rs 60,000 crore.</p> <p> </p> <p>This is an enormous amount of money, money which could — and should — have been spent on creating tangible infrastructure, productive assets and in improving the quality of life of ordinary citizens. Instead, it is likely to vanish down the black hole of un-repayable corporate debt. That is because every rupee put into a bank’s capital base translates into Rs 10 of additional debt. Debt, which the numbers clearly show, the corporate sector is unlikely to pay back, unless lenders take more punishment.<br /> Stressed out</p> <p> </p> <p>This is what has set the alarm bells ringing at the <a class="zem_slink" title="Reserve Bank of India" href="http://www.rbi.org.in" target="_blank" rel="homepage">Reserve Bank of India</a>, which has to deal with the mess in the case of a banking system collapse. In its Financial Stability Report released this week, it pointed out the reasons to worry.</p> <p> </p> <p>For starters, the ‘stressed advances’ — bad loans to you and me — have shot up to 10.2 per cent of total loans as of September this year, up from the already high 9.2 per cent at the start of the financial year.</p> <p> </p> <p>It also says the largest contribution to stressed advances come from public sector banks and that ‘medium and large’ industries contributed more towards this. Just five sectors — steel, textiles, aviation, mining and infrastructure — accounted for more than half the stressed assets of the banking system.</p> <p> </p> <p>This concentration — and the widespread exposure across banks to various troubled borrowers, given exposure norms (a bank’s exposure to a single borrower can go up to 25 per cent of the bank’s total capital, while its group exposure limit can go up to 55 per cent of the bank’s total capital) — means that the collapse of even one large player could have a devastating impact on the system.</p> <p> </p> <p>According to scenario analysis done by the RBI, the failure of a single large corporate group can end up wiping out half the capital of the entire banking system, when 60 per cent of the money is not recoverable.</p> <p> </p> <p>The figure is higher if the loss default ratio is higher. If you think this scenario is unlikely, think Kingfisher or Deccan Chronicle — and then take a close look at the balance-sheets of India’s biggest corporates.</p> <p> </p> <p>2013 was a great year for India Inc. A combination of slowing economic growth and a floundering and politically beleaguered government desperate to salvage its second stint in power meant that India Inc could occupy the moral high ground, lambasting the government for its ‘governance deficit’ and ‘policy logjam’, while not so discreetly bullying the administration — and by extension, government-owned banks — into extending yet more concessions and ever more loans without a murmur.</p> <p> </p> <p>India Inc has been strident in its criticism of the Government’s ‘fiscal profligacy’ and panned the government’s social sector hand-outs as being counter-productive.</p> <p> </p> <p>Turns out it is far more profligate than the government is — and gets far more dole than the poor ever did.</p> <p>Read more here– http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/no-free-lunches/article5526838.ece</p> <p> </p> <h6 class="zemanta-related-title" style="font-size: 1em;">Related articles</h6> <ul class="zemanta-article-ul zemanta-article-ul-image" style="margin: 0; padding: 0; overflow: hidden;"> <li class="zemanta-article-ul-li-image zemanta-article-ul-li" style="padding: 0; background: none; list-style: none; display: block; float: left; vertical-align: top; text-align: left; width: 84px; font-size: 11px; margin: 2px 10px 10px 2px;"><a style="box-shadow: 0px 0px 4px #999; padding: 2px; display: block; border-radius: 2px; text-decoration: none;" href="http://www.kractivist.org/pramod-mittal-spent-60-million-euros-on-daughters-lavish-wedding-wtfnews/" target="_blank"><img style="padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;" alt="" src="http://i.zemanta.com/230570711_80_80.jpg" /></a><a style="display: block; overflow: hidden; text-decoration: none; line-height: 12pt; height: 80px; padding: 5px 2px 0 2px;" href="http://www.kractivist.org/pramod-mittal-spent-60-million-euros-on-daughters-lavish-wedding-wtfnews/" target="_blank">Pramod Mittal spent 60 million Euros on daughter’s lavish wedding? #WTFnews</a></li> <li class="zemanta-article-ul-li-image zemanta-article-ul-li" style="padding: 0; background: none; list-style: none; display: block; float: left; vertical-align: top; text-align: left; width: 84px; font-size: 11px; margin: 2px 10px 10px 2px;"><a style="box-shadow: 0px 0px 4px #999; padding: 2px; display: block; border-radius: 2px; text-decoration: none;" href="http://www.kractivist.org/india-bonded-labourers-hands-chopped-for-refusing-to-work-in-odisha-wtfnews/" target="_blank"><img style="padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;" alt="" src="http://i.zemanta.com/234578503_80_80.jpg" /></a><a style="display: block; overflow: hidden; text-decoration: none; line-height: 12pt; height: 80px; padding: 5px 2px 0 2px;" href="http://www.kractivist.org/india-bonded-labourers-hands-chopped-for-refusing-to-work-in-odisha-wtfnews/" target="_blank">#India – Bonded labourers hands chopped for refusing to work in Odisha #WTFnews</a></li> <li class="zemanta-article-ul-li-image zemanta-article-ul-li" style="padding: 0; background: none; list-style: none; display: block; float: left; vertical-align: top; text-align: left; width: 84px; font-size: 11px; margin: 2px 10px 10px 2px;"><a style="box-shadow: 0px 0px 4px #999; padding: 2px; display: block; border-radius: 2px; text-decoration: none;" href="http://www.kractivist.org/india-american-tourist-raped-while-returning-to-her-hotel-in-hp-vaw-wtfnews/" target="_blank"><img style="padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;" alt="" src="http://i.zemanta.com/232204667_80_80.jpg" /></a><a style="display: block; overflow: hidden; text-decoration: none; line-height: 12pt; height: 80px; padding: 5px 2px 0 2px;" href="http://www.kractivist.org/india-american-tourist-raped-while-returning-to-her-hotel-in-hp-vaw-wtfnews/" target="_blank">#India – American tourist raped while returning to her hotel in HP #Vaw #WTFnews</a></li> </ul> <p> </p> <div class="zemanta-pixie" style="margin-top: 10px; height: 15px;"><a class="zemanta-pixie-a" title="Enhanced by Zemanta" href="http://www.zemanta.com/?px"><img class="zemanta-pixie-img" style="border: none; float: right;" alt="Enhanced by Zemanta" src="http://img.zemanta.com/zemified_h.png?x-id=b88da3b5-3992-49eb-89a3-11f01110645f" /></a></div> " data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-30848" src="http://www.newslaundry.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/image-1.jpg" alt="image (1)" width="500" height="281" />

Want to remove all obstacles? Wear this pendant. Guess who needs it now?

Ajayan Adat, a student studying sound at FTII, along with his friends created this masterpiece of fun:

(Note: This video has been edited by Newslaundry with permission from Ajayan.)

We caught up with him in the midst of the strike and thought we’d ask him about the creative thought behind this hatke form of protest.

  1. Which is your favourite Gajendra Chauhan film and why?

Oh no. Impossible. To judge his films is not in my capacity. First of all, I was checking out his credentials on Google and I found a film called Jungle Love and Khuli Khidki and tried to watch it on YouTube. The forward option available on YouTube was bliss.

I really think this is the second break of his career. First was, of course, the Mahabharat serial and the second is this national-level protest against him. Actually, he should thank us.

  1. Are you against Chauhan’s appointment as chairman because of (or lack of) his film history or the fact that he is a proud BJP supporter?

Supporting a political party in a democratic country is not at all a sin. But, that alone can’t be the reason for the appointment of the post of chairman at FTII. Will the government ever be ready to appoint a guy without a degree qualification (science stream) as the head of the All India Institute of Medical Science? This is that simple.

  1. What are your views on Pahlaj Nihalani as the chief of the CBFC? 

I don’t know him either, other than as the one who led the campaign for Modi as PM. Suresh Gopi, a Malayalam film actor, apparently, became a Modi fan and supporter just before the elections. He was made the chairman of the National Film Development Corporation of India. And then somebody who believes that the Mahabharata and Ramayana are historical facts, became the Head of Indian Council for Historical Research. They made “Bhishm” [again from the Mahabharta serial] the head of Children’s Film society and tried the same logic with Yudhisthir as the head of FTII.

  1. Do you think that this appointment will in some way curb your freedom of expression?

That’s the main concern of the students. Some of his colleagues have already told the media that they are going to teach us Indian culture. (As if they are the retail vendors of Indian culture.) Another member said he is going to teach a lesson to the anti-national elements (students). These things aren’t signs of freedom.

  1. Why did you make this video? A little behind-the-scenes insight?

As I am from Kerala, I had not seen Mahabharata and didn’t know who Yudhisthir is. Then I googled him and saw him dancing with the fraud baba, Asaram Bapu, who is also a [alleged] criminal. On that stage, he asked the people to rename Valentine’s Day as Matru Pitru Divas (I believe that is the “Indian Culture” they want to teach us).

Then I saw a few soft porn films (I have nothing against porn films if they are neatly done) which are not erotic but funny. My friends and I laughed a lot over a few cups of coffee. Then I saw this guy [Chauhan] doing a campaign for some navaratna chains that are supposed to bring wealth into your house (again with pseudo saints). I felt that something interesting can be done out of this. We are film students and juxtaposition of images is the first thought that generally comes to our mind. I marked the time codes and asked my editor friends to do something about it.

  1. How long did it take to make video?

They [editor friends] didn’t take more than a half shift to make it. That is four hours.

  1. How did you find all the clips?

Google!

  1. Why is what he does not art? What defines art? How is it different from what Adoor or Rajkumar Hirani has done? 

I am nobody to define art because I am still trying to figure it out. What I figured out from my studies at FTII is that there is a thin line between Art and Vulgarity. Definitely, it is not about a higher or a lower art form.  But, of course, we are not here to assess him on the Asaram Bapu video and Jungle Love. Because, it is really sad that his credentials are so weak that students had to prepare a CV [the video] of him with the help of IMDB. It’s full of B-grade films and a few commercials.

  1. Isn’t reaching out to the masses important in the film industry. Isn’t that what he is aiming at?

First of all, FTII is not a factory outlet for Bollywood or any film industry. What we learn here is not industrial management, but the art of film making. Whether we apply that in the film industry, independent film making or teaching is our freedom. The moment you expect us to work in industry, that itself kills the idea of freedom.

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