Even as students of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) continue to protest against the appointment of actor Gajendra Chauhan as chairperson of the prestigious institution, eminent filmmaker Shyam Benegal has advised them to talk to Chauhan.
“They should talk to Mr Chauhan. If they fear he isn’t competent, it’s best that they talk to him and quiz him. It’s important,” Benegal told HT.
The students, who have also met information and broadcasting minister Arun Jaitley, have not yet spoken to Chauhan, who had offered to talk to them. Protesting students have maintained that Chauhan lacks the stature of previous heads of the institution.
Benegal himself has been the chairperson of FTII in the past.
Saying that the endless stalemate was not good for the students, the faculty or the institution itself, Benegal said, “Credentials and ability to do the required work are important. But the students don’t actually know Mr Chauhan yet. What’s stopping them from meeting him to know better whether he is capable or not?”
He, however, added that the government could have done its own bit better.
“Governments can follow a certain methodology. If they just throw in a name, it’s not particularly the right way,” he said.
The premier institution in Pune has in the past had veteran heads such as Benegal and eminent filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan.
Students at FTII have alleged that Chauhan was appointed for political reasons. The government, on its part, has been worried about delays in students completing their courses, overstaying in hostels, strikes and the huge expenses that go towards the institution, apparently without commensurate results.