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Award-winning Marathi filmmakers want Chauhan out of FTII

Gajendra Chauhan

Mumbai: National-award-winning filmmakers and actors from the Marathi industry today came out in support of striking FTII students opposing the appointment of BJP member Gajendra Chauhan as chairman of the prestigious institute and backed their demand for the removal of the TV actor.

“We need a person who has a great body of work and a vision for the institute. Chauhan lacks it all and we think the students are right in their demands for revoking his appointment,” director of the national-award-winning movie ‘Deool’ and FTII alumnus, Umesh Kulkarni, said.

Students from the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) have not been attending classes for nearly two months, saying Chauhan, who was chosen over other names like Gulzar, lacks the credentials to head such an institute.

Shiv Sena politician-turned-director Abhijit Panse said there was a delay in coming together because everybody thought that the decision will be revoked, but with the government sticking to its decision, they were forced unite and protest.

He demanded that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and cultural Affairs minister of Maharashtra Vinod Tawde should intervene to resolve the matter.

National-award-winning actor Girish Kulkarni said acts like dubbing students as Naxalites, alleging that they overstay in hostels and indulge in substance abuse are diversionary tactics being adopted by the government.

Avinash Arun, who passed out of FTII in 2011, and won the national award for the best Marathi film last year with his directorial debut ‘Killa’, said political interference in the running of the institute is unacceptable.

The filmmakers said their counterparts from Chennai, Kerala and Kolkata are also protesting at present, and if the government does not heed to the demands, all the centres will come together to intensify the protest.

Ravi Jadhav, who won the Nationl-award for ‘Natrang’, said he will be making a special campaign film against the decision soon.

He added that there have been instances of better sense prevailing on the government like the recent revoking of the ban on porn websites and a similar stance is expected in this case too.

Several eminent actors from Hindi film industry including Anupam Kher, Rishi Kapoor, Ranbir Kapoor and Salman Khan among others too have come out in support of the agitating students of FTII and openly opposed appointment of Chauhan, known for his role of ‘Yudhishtira’ in popular tele-serial “Mahabharata”.

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