FTII row: Students get more support, mull legal option

Pune/Delhi, Jul 9: On a day that the FTII students agitating for the removal of Chairman Gajendra Chauhan received support from more film personalities like Adoor Gopalakrishnan and Anupam Kher, the body leading the strike today hinted at moving court to secure their objective.

As the strike at the premier institute in Pune entered its 28th day, the FTII Students' Association (FSA) said they are keeping the option open of moving court to secure the removal of TV actor Chauhan as the chairman of its Governing Council since the Centre has failed to "respond positively" to their demand.

FTII row: Students mull legal option

Calling upon the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to initiate a second round of talks to discuss their demands, FSA representative Rakesh Shukla said, "We are also exploring the option of approaching a court of law on the issue as judiciary is another platform available to us."

Talking to reporters, the FSA representative, however, said they prefer a solution through dialogue and were seeking a second round of talks with the I&B Ministry after failing to resolve the issue of Chauhan's appointment during the July 3 parleys in New Delhi.

Referring to the Centre's "rigid" stand on the Chairman's appointment, Shukla said while it was the government's prerogative to select a person for the job, the students, too, had the right to protest if they felt the choice was not right.

FSA has alleged that Chauhan, best known for playing Yudhisthir in mega TV epic 'Mahabharata', lacks "vision and stature" to head the renowned film institute. "We are not asking the government to nominate a particular person. We are only contesting the present appointment," said another FSA representative, Ranajit Nair.

Shukla demanded an apology from actor Mukhesh Khanna, head of the Children's Film Society, for a statement reportedly by him that if the students did not like the government's choice of chairman, they were free to quit FTII. "This is an insensitive and autocratic approach and indicates the government's future strategy of suppressing the agitation using undemocratic methods," he added.

Meanwhile, celebrated filmmaker Gopalakrishnan and veteran actor Kher backed the striking FTII students. Gopalakrishnan, a former FTII Chairman, said in Delhi that he would personally request Chauhan to step down from the position as he feels his appointment will only harm them and everyone concerned. Kher, on the other hand, felt that the training institute needed somebody who is "much more qualified".

Film personalities like Resul Pookutty, Kiran Rao, Sayeed Mirza and Piyush Mishra have expressed their displeasure over Chauhan's appointment. Earlier this week, noted actress Pallavi Joshi and Assamese filmmaker Jahnu Barua resigned as members of the FTII Society in support of the striking students.


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