The students of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII ), Pune have gone on an indefinite strike since June 12, protesting the appointment of television actor Gajendra Chauhan as the chairman of the prestigious institute. The institute was earlier helmed by many renowned personalities like Girish Karnad, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, U.R. Ananthamurthy, and Shyam Benegal who have made the significant contribution to Indian cinema, television and literature. The appointment of Chauhan sowed the seeds of unrest for this acclaimed institute as students have questioned his “creative credentials”.
Chauhan’s appointment as the chairman is seen as a political propaganda of the ruling party for appointing their members at the helm of major educational and research institutes of the country like IIMs and IITs. Such charges have been brought forward by the before mentioned institutes with the appointment of Smriti Irani or YS Rao as the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) chief. The student protest has been supported from various parts of the country as the appointment is seen unsound on creative grounds.
Students from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and Kolkata-based Satyajit Ray Film Institute have come out strongly in support of this movement. The excellence of an institute relies on the person who is heading it along with its students. Eminent personalities such as Anand Patwardhan, have lent their support in the face of such crisis. The students demand has not been delivered, but the current government has hinted at a re-examination of their appointment.