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C grade: Gajendra Chauhan fails talent test in FTII spoof video

india Updated: Jun 18, 2015 18:31 IST
Simar Bhasin
Simar Bhasin
Hindustan Times


After campus demonstrations and social media campaigns, students at FTII have escalated the protest against their new chairman in the way they know best - by making a video on his weak credentials.

The spoof video suggests that Gajendra Chauhan, whose nondescript film career spans a list of C grade movies and commercials, is not eligible for a post earlier held by stalwarts like Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Girish Karnad and Saeed Mirza.

The four-minute video, posted by the portal Newslaundry on Thursday, has scenes from soft porn movies and ads for good luck pendants in which Chauhan acted.

Also included are interviews where Chauhan lavishes praises on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and clippings of him dancing with Asaram Bapu who is now in jail for allegedly raping a minor girl.

The images speak for themselves.

Apart from playing of Yudhishthir in the 1988 TV series Mahabharat, Chauhan has acted in a few obscure Bollywood movies such as Khuli Khidki, Jungle Love, Vaade Iraade and Saya.

Ajayan Adat , the FTII student who made the video along with his friends, told Newslaundry they were protesting both against his lack of credentials and the increasing interference of the ruling party in film bodies.

The video follows an open letter, published earlier this week by an unnamed student, which told Chauhan that his body of work has nothing in common with the FTII or its illustrious former heads.

"You have no connection whatsoever with FTII to understand this space. You are not an alumnus nor have you worked or associated professionally with students or artists from here... You may say you will learn on the job, but sir we aren't talking about hiring an intern," the letter said.

It also said that even a "fourth standard student" could understand that he was not fit for the post and that his appointment was a reward for his political affiliation to the BJP.

The protests at the Pune campus is into its seventh day, with students at JNU, National School of Drama and Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute lending outside support .

Chauhan has so far stonewalled all allegations against him, saying that he should be given a chance to prove his capabilities.

"The BJP talks about patriotism (rashtrabhakti), nationalism, and there’s nothing wrong in that. It will be helpful in making an ideal society,” he told HT in an interview.

These kind of statements only further fuelled fears of political indoctrination as the students cherish the freedom of expression this prestigious institute upholds.

They said the protests were not only against Chauhan, but also others who made it to the FTII governing council apparently on the strength of their BJP connections.

"Four to five members have very strong RSS-BJP connections, and no strong credentials," said Kislay, a student.

These include Anagha Ghaisas whose husband is a Sangh pracharak, Narendra Pathak who is the former president of ABVP in Maharashtra, Rahul Solapurkar who was in contention for a BJP ticket and Pranjal Saikia, office bearer of Sanskar Bharti which is an RSS-affiliated cultural organisation.

Shailesh Gupta who has been named an alumni in the governing council's structure is known only for a fanboy propaganda video he made on Narendra Modi.

The appointments at FTII follows similar political interventions by the Modi government in other film bodies.

Earlier this year , producer Pahlaj Nihalani who is famous for his Modi campaign video 'Har Ghar Modi' was appointed chairman of the Censor Board and actor Mukesh Khanna who campaigned for the BJP was made head of the Children's Film Society. Malayalam actor Suresh Gopi who is likely to spearhead BJP's campaign in Kerala is reportedly due for appointment as National Film Development Corporation chairman.

Read:Nothing wrong with my ideology, says FTII chairman Gajendra Chauhan