Film personalities Rajkummar Rao, Amol Palekar and Sudhir Mishra on Saturday openly supported the demand for removal of controversial FTII chairman Gajendra Chauhan, saying he does not have the credentials to head the premier institute.
Chauhan, best known for playing Yudhisthir on mega TV epic "Mahabharata", took over as the chairman of the Pune-based institute's governing council last month and his appointment was stoutly opposed by students, who have been agitating for the almost 29 days.
Rao, a graduate from the Film and Television Institute of India, has joined the growing list of celebrities, who are throwing their weight behind the students, saying that the institute needs to be in "safe hands."
The National Award-winning actor said that the students deserve a head, who they can look up to and trust.
"#FTII needs to be in safe hands. Students need somebody who they can trust and look up to. It's their future which is at stake here," the "City Lights" actor posted on Twitter.
FTTI students have been on an indefinite strike since June 12 and refused to budge from their demand. They have been boycotting classes, abandoning academic work in protest against the appointment of Chauhan, who they allege lacks "stature and vision" to head the institution.
Questioning Chauhan's body of work, veteran actor-director Palekar said that he must step down from the post of chairman voluntarily as his body of work is not "inspiring for the students".
"This is something we should be talking about and by this we will clearly know that it is a mistake and that he has no credentials... If I would have been in place of Chauhan and I would have seen that my fraternity does not want me, I would have withdrawn," Palekar, 70, said.
"Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi" director Mishra said since Chauhan's knowledge about cinema and world cinema is limited, he is not fit to be at the helm of affairs at FTII.
"He is not in charge of the canteen. He has to guide the faculty and the students towards the new directions that the cinema may go into. There has to be a basic qualification for the job. I think it is a great institute, a wonderful place which has given a lot to the film industry.