FTII Chairman Gajendra Chauhan’s term ends

Pune, March 3 (IANS) Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) chairman Gajendra Chauhan’s tenure – marked by acrimony and one of the longest agitations by the student community there – ends on Saturday. However, there is no word on an extension for Chauhan or his replacement so far, an official said here on Friday.

Though appointed in 2014 to head the prestigious body, the well-known film and television personality actually took charge only in January, 2016 when he entered the FTII campus for the first time and chaired the governing council meeting.

His appointment was followed by a massive agitation by the FTII students and ex-students and a 139-day strike demanding his removal from the post.

On the night of August 18, 2015, the Pune police cracked down and arrested striking students who allegedly confined the then acting FTII director Prashant Pathrabe and other staffers for eight hours in their office.

Among other things, he was accused of pushing the ‘Hindutva’ agenda, but as the FTII cracked the whip, the student agitation gradually subsided with the calling off of the long strike.

Official sources said that during Chauhan’s tenure, discipline returned to the institute, admission procedures and various courses were streamlined, work began on construction of a classroom theatre and acting studio, open day for citizens, and meeting time with faculty.

Unless granted an extension by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Chauhan will cease to head FTII, which was established as the ‘Film Institute of India’ in 1960, from Saturday.

The FTII, an autonomous body, was in the past headed by legendary film personalities including Shyam Benegal, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Saeed Mirza, Mahesh Bhatt, Mrinal Sen, Vinod Khanna and Girish Karnad.

Many popular film personalities have come out of FTII including Naseeruddin Shah, Jaya Bachchan, Shabana Azmi, Shatrughan Sinha, Raza Murad, Resul Pookutty and the late Smita Patil and Om Puri.