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A Publication
on The Status of
Adivasi Populations
of India




Resist Fascist Invasion Of FTII

By Shini J K

22 June, 2015

In a country, which is proud of its so called ‘culture’, we the students of its best film school, is on strike, for the last eleven days, against the cultural fascism of this Great Nation, for the existence of this institute, for the generations who made cinema, their life and politics, and definitely for ourselves

The strike started last Friday, after the posting of Mr. Gajendra Chauhan as the Chairman of the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune (FTII). We had no clue, who this guy was. Because there were a few among us who watched ‘Mahabharatha’ in their childhood, we were able to find out that ‘Yudhishtir’ is the protagonist of this drama. Even if we had problems with the monopolies, finally we had to depend on Google to find out who this ‘Gajendra Chauhan’ was. Considering that while we talk ‘counterproductive philosophies’, the enemy has got better technology and PR work, we did all the research we could. One night we dedicated to Mr. Gajendra Chauhan. ‘Khuli Kidki(Open Window)’, Jungle Love, etc…. the chronicles of Yudhishtir extended throughout the night. This was the first stage of this strike. It did not take us long to reach at a conclusion that we do not need Mr. Chauhan as our chairman.
Now, the reasons for this decision.

1) What is the eligibility of Mr Gajendra Chauhan to be the chairman of FTII?

His experience as an actor in B grade Hindi and Malayalam movies. His experience sharing the stage with ‘Asharam Bappu’ as his apostle. The arrogance in which he asked to celebrate the 14th of February as the Matru -Pitru Din(Mother - Father day), on the same stage. His experience in marketinggood luck pendants in telebrand shows. His role of ‘Yudhishtir’ in Mahabharath.

The organizational ‘skills’ by which he managed to get expelled from heading the Cine Artist Assosciation (CINTAA). Being a national leader of the cultural wing of BJP. And his experience in doing the election campaign for the BJP.

2) If these are his eligibility, then what are the criterion and process through which the chairman of FTII is selected?

The cabinet directly elects the GC and appoints the chairman of FTII. With respect to the Changing governments, the political inclination of the individuals who are appointed as the Chairman, may differ. Sayed Aktar Mirza, U R Ananthamurthy, Vinod Khanna, Girish Karnad, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Mrinal Sen, Shyam Benegal and list of predecessors goes further. Of the above mentioned list, only Vinod Khanna, was a person who had a direct affiliation to a political party. Mr. Khanna was a standing MP for the BJP. It was the worst selection of a chairman in the history of FTII. It was NDA government, which appointed U R Ananthamoorthy, who has clear Congress inclination, as the chairman of FTII. And Ritwick Ghatak was appointed by the Indira Gandhi government. These examples would suffice in understanding how the previous governments considered FTII.

The cutting down the funds of liberal art and academic spaces like NSD and Kendra Sahitya Academy, the appointment of Suresh Gopi as the head of NFDC, Pahlaj Nihlani as the Chairman of Censor Board, Mukesh Khanna, the ‘Shakthiman’, who taught middle class morality to our children while making them say sorry,are the few recent milestones in the saffronist agenda of these Hindutva Fascists. Those forces, who tried to teach ‘culture’ and extreme nationalism before they came into power, are now trying to corrupt history and are infiltrating institutions, to inject their poison into the minds of generations to come.

3) The eligibility, credibility and politics of the 5 people, who are the members of the 21 member FTII society?

Anagha Ghaisas, who has clear RSS background, has done propaganda films about Narendra Modi, Ayodhya, National Defense Academy and Nanaji Deshmukh. She is a person who takes pride in being 100 percent RSS. She wants to teach ‘Indian culture’ to the students of FTII.

Narendra Pathak, who has been the Maharashtra State President for the ABVP for four years, works in a Marathi magazine for the last 14 years. Mr. Pathakwants the students to learn ‘Indian culture’, and he says that he won’t let Anti-National things to happen at FTII. And those who go ’unconstitutional’ would be taught a lesson.

Pranchal Saikia is working in Sanskar Bharathi , an organization that has ties to the RSS. Saikia is an NSD graduate and a so called ‘actor’. He also supports the school of thought of teaching heritage, culture and morality to the children. Sanskar bharathi is such an organization. “Sanskar Bharati teaches students their culture and tradition. It is not just about songs and dance but also traditional art forms. We teach students moral and ethical values that every Indian should have. We try to inculcate this in children so that they grow up to be useful to the society and nation.” he added.

The fourth person is Rahul Solapurkar is an actor in Hindi and Marathi films. In the last Maharashtra state assembly, he expected a BJP ticket. “There is nothing wrong in introducing a new line of thought that is beneficial for the nation and students,” is his opinion.

The ex-FTIIan Shailesh Gupta, has been doing Modian propaganda films since Modi came in power.

Gajendra Chauhan plays a cunning game. He is asking for a chance, the chance that in the past has been given to stalwarts like Mrinal Sen and Shyam Benegal, shall be now given to him, the ‘common man’, so that the common man can also be uplifted. When we tell you that this is not a laboratory to conduct experiments, it is being counter-argued as the cultural Fascism of FTIIans, the intellectual elite.

Then we have some questions back. Is it not cultural fascism when the so called ‘heritage’, ‘culture’ and moral consciousness is being forcefully injected into us? Is it not cultural fascism when we are facing the arrogant threat of ‘teaching a lesson’? Is it not national fascism when we are being told to stack our films with ‘Indian culture’? What else is this strategy of branding us as anti-national, extreme left and Maoists? Why is the government so scared of us?

Mr. Chauhan and the other five are being appointed in key roles in the governing council, from which they can make decisions on the matters that ranges from academic and governing, to the day to day life in FTII. The structure and process of FTII is more complex than that of any University,especially at this stage where changes are being made in matters including syllabus. It is also a time when we are trying to solve the problems faced by the contract workers in the institute. In such a stage, the appointment of aBrahminic governing body is dangerous to the politics, beyond all individuals and political ideologies that FTII upholds. The Brahminic thought that is being tried to inject into our minds by a visiting professor, who comes to teach performing arts, the new anti-terrorism day celebration and meditation classes can only be understood as saffronisation. The voice of Suresh Gopi, who said that the students should be crushed using police force, is nothing but the arrogance of the representative of a fascist government. As an institute which enables the students, from different parts of the country and who belongs to different castes, to study in subsidized fee, we are looking at the corporate fascism of Modi government with constant vigilance. The politics of FTII, which fought and won the privatization attempts of the UPA government, still remains intact within each of us.

When the government is trying to realize its fascist ideologies in a place like FTII, they should remember one thing.

Great film makers like John Abrham and Ritwik Ghatak once lived here.

NB: this is completely a personal outlook, and not the collective opinion of the FTII society.

Shini J K is a student of TV Editing at FTII, Pune

(Translated by Robin Joy) (The original Malayalam article got published in Azhimukham Portal)



FTII Strike

Gajendra Chauhan








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