Kolkata, July 22 (IANS) Indian cinema veterans Mrinal Sen, Buddhadeb Dasgupta and Soumitra Chatterjee have come out in support of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) students who are protesting against the appointment of actor Gajendra Chauhan as its chairman.
Legendary filmmaker Mrinal Sen, a former chairman of FTII’s governing council, said those appointed have no “umbilical ties” with the institute.
“I feel very bad. There is no background. We had umbilical ties with FTII. These people do not have such a relation with the institute. It won’t work if you don’t have that relationship with FTII,” the 92-year-old Sen told a TV channel.
The protest is in its 41st day now with the students also voicing apprehensions on other appointments (five members of the FTII Society) and demanding transparency in the functioning of the institute.
Thespian Soumitra Chatterjee said the appointments are political since the five members do not have the requisite body of work to back their inclusion in the institute.
“It’s not only Gajendra Chauhan. There’s the five-member council. They do not have the body of work or basic contribution to Indian cinema that can back their appointment. It is clearly understood that it’s a political appointment,” the 83-year-old actor said.
The five members of the FTII society — Anagha Ghaisas, Shailesh Gupta, Narendra Pathak, Pranjal Saikia and Rahul Solapurkar — are in the eye of the storm with students alleging they have links to BJP and RSS and also lack the required credentials. Actress Vidya Balan and filmmaker Rajkumar Hirani are also part of the society.
Filmmaker Buddhadeb Dasgupta said students have the right to protest against the appointments.
“Institutes like the Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute of India and FTII have been accorded status of national importance. Everybody is raising doubts on the capabilities of the new chairman. Students have the right to protest and I can only support them,” Dasgupta said.