MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA JULY 12, 2015 11.50P.M.
Till date I have written 3 blogs about FTII [ Film & Television Institute of India ] Pune. I think this prestigious (?) and premier (?) institute will not be my topic again, at least not in recent future. But if it is prestigious (?) and premier (?) , how can it not seek my attention?
Gajendra Singh row refuses to subside. Each day a new celebrity crows his neck out and dishes out his pious views on this prestigious (?) and premier (?) institute, which has dubious distinction of spearheading more than 50 strikes till date.
Today, while watching news, I came across valuable (?) view of Raj Kumar Rao, who used to be Raj Kumar Yadav. May be according to him being Yadav is not upmarket or glamorous enough, so he got a brand new nomenclature. He opined that students of FTII deserve a Chairman, whom they should look up to.
Wow !! My memory went few years back and intruded into the holy precincts of FTII, when Mr. Rao, as a worthy alumnus of this prestigious (?) and premier (?) institute, used to roam around in the campus. In those pious and holy days Shri Paintal was Head of Department of Acting. He used to call many past alumnus / alumna as guest lecturers. Shri Paintal even called two of my students, who were novice, upstart and inexperienced. Mr. Rao or his other worthy friends never raised their voices against them. All the vocal commies and their friends from AISA were also silent. Mr. Rao also have no objection when these two upstarts mention his name in their website and claim that he has been trained by them in their Mumbai based institute. Mr. Rao and his friends can look up to novices roaming around as Acting Trainers but they can’t tolerate a Chairman , who according to them is a symbol of saffronisation. I denounce these bunch of hypocrites. If they agitate for better trainers, I can understand. But don’t want to even listen to them if they poke their nose in administrative matters.
These filmi Che Guevaras should be weeded out of this breeding ground of communism, known as FTII.
After I finished writing, I read this old news item published in India Express. It substantiates my point. So I am putting it here. Links of my 3 previous blogs are also given here.
For 13 years, no convocation held at FTII
For over 13 years now, the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) has not held any convocation to give away degrees. The premier film institute of the nation held its last one December 14, 1997. An RTI query by The Indian Express reveals.Since the last convocation, 177 students have passed FTII courses and though all of them got their certificates, none received them at a podium, at a convocation. In fact, in the last 50 years, only 21 convocations have been held.
Confirming this, FTII director Iftikar Ahmed says, “The set-up at FTII is different. A mere convocation doesn’t decide the merit of students who complete courses here. The main objective is to provide the best training and we have been doing that. Convocation is a minor aspect. In fact, we issue degrees even to students who leave courses midway.”
Ahmed reminds that even before the last convocation in 1997, there was an eight-year hiatus. “The 21st convocation, which was the last, was marred by an unpleasant incident where students wore black armbands and carried placards on stage. It prompted director Mahesh Bhatt to resign as FTII president and veteran actor Dilip Kumar to lash out against ‘this blatant washing of dirty linen in public,'” said Ahmed.
He agrees though that there have been a lot of issues over the last 12 years that have pushed the convocation to the background. “The most important is expansion at FTII. Eight new courses have been introduced in the last 13 years and faculty members have come down. Back then, we had four courses and 55 teachers. Now, for all the courses, we have 20 teachers. During the transition after introduction of new courses and a change in the management, issues like convocation were pushed aside.”
Retired professor of the Film Appreciation Course, Suresh Chabbria, feels that a convocation gives an institute an academic feel and the fact that it has not been held for so long is something that needs to be looked into. “In fact, back in the 60s and 70s, they were regular. Things did change later with courses being overshot and students leaving midway,” he said.
National award winner Dilip Ghosh, former president of the GraFTII, the alumni association, says it is wrong for the institute to punish an entire batch for a few students who did not complete their courses on time. “In 1981, when I was studying direction at the institute, we had a proper convocation. It would be unfair for anyone to say convocations do not happen as courses are delayed or even for that matter students do not ask for them.”
Students of the current batches at the institute say that with issues like completion of the courses on time and shortage of equipment and infrastructure they face, convocation is an issue they have not raised. “That doesn’t mean we do not want one,” says former president of the student body and winner of the national award for direction course, Tathagatha Singha. “It’s just that with these other issues we deal with, the convocation takes a backseat.” he adds.
Actor Mohan Aghashe, who was the director of the institute when the last convocation was conducted, says the attitude of students also needs to be questioned. “When they come here after beating scores of other applicants, they should ask for convocations at the end of the course.”
On behalf of all the students & staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , VIDUR Editing Studio , VIDUR Club and VIDUR Merchandise, I denounce FTII students, who are behaving like anarchists.
May God bless them with some intellect so they can read the writing on the wall. If according to them, it is saffronisation, they should learn to live with it.
[ I have quoted an old article of Indian Express. I express gratitude. ]
MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA
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