The controversy surrounding Gajendra Singh Chauhan’s appointment as the Film and Television Institute of India’s chairman does not seem to dry down. The students of this prestigious institute have gone on indefinite strike since June 12 protesting Chauhan’s appointment.
FTII has been known to be an institute with one of the most heterogeneous and creative minds. Mithun Chakraborty, Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, Shatrughan Sinha, Prakash Jha are among a few of talented alumnus to be named.
Chauhan is best known for his role played as Yudhishthira in Mahabharat TV series aired during 1988-1990. Chauhan has majorly played several roles in TV soaps which were not highly rated. Moreover in the initial years of his career he appeared in several B grade movies.
Favouritism can easily be sensed
However the association with BJP for almost two decades worked in his favour of Chauhan. He formally joined the party in 2004. During the Lok Sabha elections last year Chauhan had extensively campaigned for the BJP in Haryana. Favouritism can easily be sensed from his appointment as his credentials are a clear sign of his relation with BJP led NDA government.
It will lead to a compromise over the quality of leadership
According to the students Chauhan’s appointment will lead to a compromise over the quality of leadership since the people who have held the position of chairman in the past include luminaries like Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Girish Karnad, U.R. Ananthamurthy, and Shyam Benegal, who have graced Indian theatre, cinema and literature. Most of them have won National Award but Chauhan has none to his name.
I&B ministry’s petty excuse
Government has been defending the appointment of Chauhan. In a reply to an RTI filed by Indian Express, the governing council of FTII said that many eminent people had turned down the post which left I&B Ministry with very less options. The authorities say that the decision regarding the appointment of Chauhan was taken after wide consultation.
Not happening for the first time in IIFT
Chauhan’s appointment seems to be a politically motivated decision but it is not for the first time the institute is witnessing anything like that. FTII’s last chairman, was Saeed Mirza, who besides being a renowned film-maker, was also a signatory of the Anti-Modi appeal from Bollywood, just before Lok Sabha elections last year.
Former chairmen like Girish Karnad & Prof. U.R. Ananthamurthy formed a group called “Samakaleena Vichara Vedike” with the sole intention of opposing Modi and extending full support to the Congress in Lok Sabha elections. For an organization which has always been in the clutches of Anti-Modi, Pro-Congress to adjust to under the BJP can indeed be hard.
The left lenient students of FTII should give Chauhan a chance
The students of FTII have known to be of leftist mindset which is again a strong reason for the students to oppose a man from the BJP.
Eminent personalities from the film fraternity like Anupam Kher, Rishi Kapoor, Ranbir Kapoor, Salman Khan, Salim Khan, Kiran Rao are amongst the few supporting the students.
Though Chauhan is not a big name in the industry, he should be given a chance to prove himself. If he still lags behind the students have freedom to oppose him.