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Gajendra Chauhan on FTII tenure: My advice to students? Stay away from politics

Chauhan’s appointment, one of the most contentious in FTII’s 50-year history, triggered massive outrage on campus

mumbai Updated: Mar 02, 2017 11:34 IST
Yogesh Joshi
We reintroduced the campus to discipline, says FTII chairman Gajendra Chauhan.
We reintroduced the campus to discipline, says FTII chairman Gajendra Chauhan.(HT File Photo)

Film and Television Institute of India chairman Gajendra Chauhan’s tenure comes to an end on Friday. Chauhan’s appointment, one of the most contentious in FTII’s 50-year history, triggered massive outrage on campus. Students relentlessly criticised the government for appointing a man, who they claimed had neither ‘stature’ nor ‘vision’. After a year and seven months, Chauhan is set to leave the institute, which witnessed many changes under his leadership — some controversial and some laudable.

HT spoke to Chauhan about his stint at the institute. Edited excerpts from the interview:

Friday is your last day at FTII. You have had a short tenure

The FTII chairman’s tenure is actually for three years. However, the previous chairman’s tenure lasted till March 3, 2014, while the new government came to power on May 26, 2014. Since it is a block system of three years, my tenure was considered to begin from March 4, 2014. So technically, I been the FTII chairman for one year and seven months.

How has it been as an FTII head, given all the controversies?

I did the best I could do with the time I was given. Among other things, we acquired the long-awaited approval to convert a post-graduate diploma into a master’s degree.

What do you consider your achievements to be?

Under my chairmanship, FTII introduced a new syllabus and a credit-based choice system and electives. We started the concept of open days at FTII. More importantly, we reintroduced the campus to discipline and made 75% attendance a prerequisite for students appearing for exams.

Are you satisfied with your tenure?

I am happy with what I have achieved. It has been a satisfactory tenure. We managed to pass the budget to improve the institute’s infrastructure. The revamped infrastructure will be in place by 2018.

Do you expect an extension?

No. I now want to move on and do new things. I have done my best and I am happy with that. Even the government is happy with my work.

What do you have to say about the students who opposed your appointment?

I have always supported the students, even if they opposed me. It wasn’t their fault. My only brotherly advice to students is to be disciplined, keep up the hard work and stay away from politics.

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