I&B ministry calls FTII student reps to discuss Gajendra Chauhan’s controversial appointment as institute chairman

The ideological battle between Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) students and the Centre over the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as the institute chairman is likely to draw to an end soon. The students’ protest in New Delhi last week has prompted the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry to initiate a dialogue for the first time since the strike began on June 12, says director and FTII alumnus Umesh Kulkarni.

FTII students on protest path
FTII students on protest path

“After the demonstration near Jantar Mantar, the government invited two student representatives for talks and assured them of working out a solution. They were told that they will be called again for a further discussion and so, they are waiting in Delhi for their next meeting. If matters reach a head, we plan to bring together like-minded people who support the call for Chauhan’s ouster and have a meeting with I&B minister Arun Jaitley on the students’ behalf,” says Kulkarni.

The director is among the several film personalities to have pledged their support to the students’ protest, which entered its 59th day on Sunday. “The institute has delivered so many talented personalities and if the government chooses someone who has no credentials, then the quality of cinema will suffer. The government should not be careless with such appointments,” he adds.

National Award-winning filmmaker Ravi Jadhav says the government “cannot just terminate the protest” without giving the demands of students a serious thought. “When the government has started a Make In India campaign, it needs to pay attention to education in all streams so that the pass-outs are able to contribute in making India better,” he says.