Inputs: Payal Kapadia
Compilation: Keyur Seta
As we all know, the students of the Film & Television Institute of India (FTII) are on a strike since over two months in opposition to the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as the Chairman of the institute. His close links with the BJP is considered the reason of his appointment.
An RTI query has also revealed that only Chauhan was approached for the role and there was no proper selection as mentioned by the government earlier. Read about it HERE.
But, along with Chauhan, few others are appointed as Society Members of FTII. Just like Chauhan, all of them are staunch supporters or close aides of BJP.
But what is alarming is that their record and past work is, in simple terms, highly questionable to say the least. Have a look at their work:-
His only claim to fame is his role as Yudhishthir in the timeless classic TV series, Mahabharat. He is slightly known as a part of few well-known TV serials. Apart from this, his filmography shows a series of B-grade films. Of course, he has acted in prominent, hit films, but his contribution in them has been inconsequential. For example, his one-scene appearance in Baghban. See his full filmography HERE. He is a member of the BJP and has worked for the party.
FTII Society Members:
She has no body of work to show in feature films or TV. But what is more shocking is that she has made a documentary titled Ram Mandir Adalat Aur Aastha, where she has not only hailed the Babri Masjid Demolition but also described it as the ‘biggest independence battle’. See the short film here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_MSXoWBiMs
But this is not her only ‘achievement’. There is also a court order against her for not paying remuneration to Nandan Kudhiyadi for a documentary he was asked to direct.
He is said to be a writer. But he has no notable work in films or TV. He is the ex-president of the ABVP (Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad), which is linked to BJP. The members of this group had beaten up FTII students in 2013 for showing Anand Patwardhan’s film Jai Bhim Comrade. ABVP has a long history of violence.
He has played supporting roles in well-known films, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar and Balgandharva. He was in contention for a ticket from BJP for last year’s Lok Sabha Elections. No other information is available about him.
He is a cinematographer credited with ‘Additional Photography’ in Aamir Khan’s classic, Sarfarosh. However, barring this, he has only served as ‘Assistant Cinematographer’ in well-known films like Ishq and Vaastav. But here comes the most interesting part. He has made a film on India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi titled Shapath Modi Ki. The shocker is not the subject but the content. It is an unintentionally hilarious film, which can even offend Modi supporters.
How can it be a co-incidence that all of them are associated with BJP? How come Gajendra is selected for such a position despite his record when legends like Gulzar, Saeed Akhtar Mirza, Shyam Benegal and Adoor Gopalakrishnan are available for the job?
Ask yourself and decide whether Chauhan and his aides deserve to run India’s most prestigious filmmaking institute. Since earlier this year, the government appointed its close aides as Censor Board Members. We are already witnessing its terrible consequences.