Student, who was part of protests against Gajendra Chauhan, gets support from FTII
The Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) has decided to support a student, who took part in protests against the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as its head in 2015, for her film selected to be screened at the film festival in Cannes after it denied scholarships to her colleagues with similar charges of indiscipline.
The FTII has issued a letter of support and agreed to bear the travel expenses of third-year film direction student Payal Kapadia, against whom an FIR was filed for holding then director Prashant Pathrabe captive, for the 70th Festival De Cannes, which will be held from May 17 to 28.
Afternoon Clouds, a 13-minute film directed by Kapadia has been chosen under short film category known as Cinefondation forum open to film schools across the world. The film depicts a 60-year-old widow living with her Nepali maid. It features Usha Naik and Trimala Adhikari and revolves around a single afternoon in a house.
Last year, FTII denied 8 students scholarships and opportunity to participate in a foreign exchange program. Among the 8 students, 4 were part of the same group that surrounded Pathrabe while 4 others had other disciplinary issues pending against them.
FTII director Bhupendra Kainthola said its decision came after the Pune-based institute “observed Kapadia being disciplined” on the campus. He said it is a matter of pride for the institution as an FTII student’s work has been chosen for Cannes film festival for the first time.
“Our decision to support students or deny them scholarship previously was based on how their conduct has been on the campus,” Kainthola said.
“Few days after the protest got over, many students came to me and said they never realised that their past actions will haunt them through their life. Some of them even cried and regretted their actions,” he added.
Kapadia was part of the group that held Pathrabe captive in his office as students challenged his decision to go ahead with the assessment of incomplete projects of students from 2008 batch. All the 35 students were later charge sheeted by Pune Police.
After her film was selected for the festival, Kapadia while reluctant to speak about the protests had said the FTII administration was very helpful.
FTII students held protests for 139 days from June to October 2015, in one of its longest strike in the premier film institute’s history, and abandoned classes to oppose the appointment of Chauhan, a television actor turned politician.
Students even went on an indefinite strike on June 12 as they questioned his professional credibility to lead the institute due to lack of “stature” and “vision”.
Chauhan’s tenure got over on March 3 and the government did not extend it.