An Open Letter To FTII Alumna / Alumnus


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           JUNE 18, 2015           00.30 A.M.

Dear Alumna / Alumnus of FTII, Pune !

I have already written 2 blogs about the FTII [ Film & Television Institute of India ] , Pune. 1st blog was written on March 28, 2010. It was about the declining and deteriorating standards of FTII. The 2nd one was written on October 28, 2012. It was about hubris and high-handed behaviour of students of FTII. Today I am forced to write 3rd blog about FTII.

I am reading in newspapers that alumnus of this so-called premier institute are agitated against Shri Gajendra Chauhan, the newly appointed FTII Chief. Nearly 150 students boycotted classes today and continued their protest for the 5th day.

According to Harishankar Nachimuthu, the President of Student’s Union of FTII, Gajendra Chauhan’s appointment is a conspiracy to saffronise this prestigious ( ? ) institute. He states that he is not going to accept Shri Gajendra Chauhan as Chief of FTII. May I demand to know, who is seeking his acceptance or concurrence?

I came to know that several past students [ who are jobless since time immemorial ] are holding meeting in Mumbai and threatening central government that they will fight against Shri Gajendra Chauhan, “a Narendra Modi stooge” till the end. According to them he lacks stature and administrative experience. May I demand to know, who the hell are they to decide, whether Shri Chauhan has the required stature or not?

In the past Mr. Shyam Benegal, Mr. Mrinal Sen, Mr. Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Mr. Mahesh Bhatt, Mr. Girish Karnad, Mr. Vinod Khanna, Prof. U.R. Ananthamurthy and Mr. Saeed Mirza have served as Chairman of the Governing Council of FTII.  They were appointed by the government of the day. Shri Gajendra Chauhan is also appointed by present central government.

I fail to understand, how can students demand to have a say in the appointment of Chief of FTII. Moreover, what stake do past students have in the affairs of their Alma Mater? Why are they agitated? Why are they threatening to “fight till the end”?

Students and alumnus of this so-called prestigious institute should realize that their job is to get trained and not to decide about the governing council chief or other administrative matters of the institute. They must realize that the golden days of Shri Roshan Taneja are over. Their activism fails to produce a single actor of the calibre of ASHOK KUMAR, MOTI LAL, DILIP KUMAR, BALRAJ SAHNI, SANJEEV KUMAR, AMITABH BACHCHAN, SHAHRUKH KHAN, AMIR KHAN, HRITIK ROSHAN or RANBIR KAPOOR. None of the above mentioned actors are the alumnus of FTII. I also fail to find among your alumna, any actress of the stature of NARGIS, MEENA KUMARI, MADHUBALA, GEETA BALI, VYJAYANTIMALA, WAHEEDA REHMAN, REKHA or KAJOL. And you people are talking about the calibre of Gajendra Chauhan.

I appeal to the alumnus of FTII to first become a world-class actor and then try to be an activist. The most important FTII alumnus and your biggest inspiration NASEERUDDIN SHAH is busy doing “world-class” ( ? ) films like “Sona Spa” and ” Jackpot” and you people are pontificating on the calibre of Shri Gajendra Chauhan and threatening Shri Narendra Modi.

And now a word for failed ex students of FTII. You have no business to meddle in the affairs of your alma mater if you are still struggling to make a mark. No one needs your activism. You roam around in the alleys of Mumbai with stinking body, wilting faces, faded attires and dead and gloomy eyes. I pity your rancid existence and failed journey of life. The government of the day doesn’t need or seek your approval. Leave your hubris. You are not doing any favour to us or humanity if you are an ex students of FTII.

Let me make it clear that your agitation is politically motivated. All the right thinking people know it. If it is not so, why people like Anand Patwardhan and other known left-liberals are joining your band wagon? Why students of JNU [ Jawahar Lal Nehru University ] , a breeding ground of leftist and pseudo seculars, are joining your protest? What stake have they in the FTII?

Instead of protesting against Gajendra Chauhan, try to check the deterioration in the quality of the institute. May I demand to know why “for a 3 year programme, there have been students floating around the campus since 2008? May be they will graduate only when their creative juices start flowing.[ verbatim quote from Hindustan Times – Dated June 17, 2015 – Page 11 / also read the editorial ” The World’s not a stage at the FTII – Page 12]

You resist every change and want to run the institute as per your whims and fancies. When UPA appointed committee suggested running the institute on public-private partnership, you people protested. When UPA tried to make the syllabus more contemporary, you started indefinite strike. UPA government headed by Congress was not saffronising the institute. So it is clear that protests and strikes are in your DNA.

Dear alumnus, if you feel or suspect that the appointment of Shri Gajendra Chauhan is a conspiracy to saffronise FTII, I suggest that you should learn to live with it as soon as possible. It will be better for your future, your health and your well-being.

We have seen enough of your hubris. We have tolerated enough of your pseudo intellectual hypocrisy. It is time to say, ” ENOUGH IS ENOUGH “.

 

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On behalf of all the students & staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , VIDUR Editing Studio , VIDUR Club and VIDUR Merchandise, I denounce you for your hypocrisy, needless hubris and uncalled for activism.

 

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

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Pandit Ravi Shankar : As Film Music Director


English: Master of Sitar, Ravi Shankar. Deutsc...

Master of Sitar, Ravi Shankar. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           DECEMBER 13 , 2012           11.59 P.M.

Pandit Ravi Shankar , a Sitar maestro par excellence , an unofficial ambassador of Indian classical music , the first India Rock Star in true sense of the term , died yesterday on December 11 , 2012 in San Diego , California , U. S. A.

Apart from classical music , he had given music for some feature films also .

Hindi Films of Pandit Ravi Shankar As Music Director

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1 – Neecha Nagar [ 1946 ]

This Chetan Anand directed film was his debut film as well as debut film of Pandit Ravi Shankar also . It starred Kamini Kaushal , Uma Anand and Zohra Sehgal . It was written by Khwaja Ahmad Abbas .

2 – Dharti Ke Lal [ 1946 ]

This Khwaja Ahmad Abbas directed film was his debut film and the second film of Pandit Ravi Shankar . It starred Balraj Sahni , Tripti Mitra , K. N. Singh , Zohra Sehgal , David and Sombhu Mitra . It was written by Kishan Chander .

3 – Anuradha [ 1960 ]

This film was produced and directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee . This film had lyrics by Shailendra and several gems sung by Lata Mangeshkar . It starred Balraj Sahni and Leela Naidu .

4 – Godan [ 1963 ]

This Trilok Jetley directed film was based on Munshi Premchand’s immortal novel of the same name . It had some immortal melodies . It starred Raj Kumar , Kamini Kaushal , Mehmood and Shashikala .

5 – Meera [ 1979 ]

This Gulzar directed film had several Meera Bhajans tuned by Pandit ji . It starred Hema Malini and Vinod Khanna .

Bengali Films of Pandit Ravi Shankar As Music Director

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1 – Pather Panchali [ 1955 ]

This Satyajit Ray directed film was his debut film . It is the first part of Apu Trilogy .

2 – Aparajito [ 1956 ]

This Satyajit Ray directed film was the second part of Apu Trilogy .

3 – Kabuliwala [ 1957 ]

This is the Bengali film based on Rabindra Nath Tagore’s story .

4 – Paras Pather [ 1958 ]

A social satire directed by Satyajit Ray .

5 – Apur Sansar [ 1959 ]

Third and final part of Apu Trilogy .

6 – Genesis [ 1986 ]

This Mrinal Sen directed film starred Shabana Azmi , Naseeruddin Shah & Om Puri was the last film of Pandit Ravi Shankar as music director .

English Films of Pandit Ravi Shankar As Music Director

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1 – Gandhi [ 1982 ]

This Richard Attenborough film had Ben Kingsley in the title role as Gandhi .

I made this list for the connoisseurs of film music and for the benefit of the acting students of my acting class Vidur’s Kreating Charakters .

img_8024

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A Tale of Two Acting Institutes : FTII & NSD


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           OCTOBER 28 , 2012           01.15 A.M.

I start my blog with salutations to Shri Roshan Taneja , Ex Head of FTII [ Film & Television Institute of India ] and Ebrahim Alkazi , Ex Head of NSD [ National School of Drama ] .

With Shri Roshan Taneja in His Office

With Shri Roshan Taneja in His Office

Then I proceed to submit that apart from above mentioned two giants of Acting Training , I don’t like the present dispensation of these so-called premiere acting institutes of India .

Let me take their case one by one .

NATIONAL SCHOOL OF DRAMA :

=================================

This so-called premiere school boasts of the alumni , which could be the dream of any Acting Trainer of India . This famous theatre training institute was established in 1959 in New Delhi by the Sangeet Natak Akademi . In 1975 it became an independent school .

National School of Drama

National School of Drama (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First batch of NSD was passed out in 1961 . After this Ebrahim Alkazi took over the reigns and helmed the affair of the school from 1962 to 1977 . It was the golden period of NSD .

In 2008 , though the NSD celebrated its Golden Jubilee , but the shine  , the sheen had gone . I fail to understand the attitude of the present day students of NSD . They think that since they have done an acting course from NSD , so the whole world should invariably acknowledge their eminence . They behave as if whole universe is indebted to them because they have done two years training in NSD . Their immortal arrogance precede their mortal body . This is precisely the reason that they are not very successful in Hindi Film Industry .

FILM & TELEVISION INSTITUTE OF INDIA :

============================================

This premier film acting institute was established in 1960 by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting , Government of India . The present campus is situated in the holy precincts of erstwhile Prabhat Film Company , Pune .

Notable alumni

I do agree that this an enviable list . Any Acting Trainer of India can die for such illustrious students . But what is the present condition ? Why this institute is unable to churn such illustrious students any more ? What happened after Shri Roshan Taneja’s departure ?

Can any one answer ? NSD and FTII were successful with enviable record during the tenure of Shri Ebrahim Alkazi and Shri Roshan Taneja respectively . After their departure mediocrity started ruling and these glorious institutions became just buildings , just structures .

Great institutions are governed by great minds , giant personalities . They can’t be run by upstarts and dwarfs . I can’t comment much about NSD but I know the root cause of the deterioration and subsequent demise of FTII . After departure of Shri Roshan Taneja , every Tom , Dick & Harry rushed to FTII and became Acting Trainers . In front of 10 / 20 captive students they proclaimed themselves as the incarnation of Constantin Stanislavski . People managing the affairs of FTII had and have no vision . They employed every wannabe , every upstart , every so-called veteran actors as Acting Coach and these frustrated Dilip Kumars and Amitabh Bachchans ruined the great FTII .

The decadence is apparent , degeneration is palpable and death is imminent . I have one student in the current batch of Vidur’s Kreating Charakters , who has completed two years acting course from FTII . She is beautiful and is definitely talented . But because of wrong training , she is struggling in my class . She is not at fault . Fault lies at the door of their trainers , who proclaim themselves as the reincarnation of Constantin Stanislavski and dish out half – baked knowledge . It never happened during the tenure of Shri Roshan Taneja .

Is there any remedy ? Will these two institutes be able to come out of ICU ? Can there be another Ebrahim Alkazi and Roshan Taneja ?

On behalf of myself and on behalf of all the students of Vidur’s Kreating Charakters and whole family of Vidur’s Kreating Charakters , I pray to the almighty for the long life of NSD and FTII ! May the future be more glorious and shining than the illustrious past !

[ List of the alumni of FTII is taken from Wikipedia . I express my gratitude . ]

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

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Verghese Kurien : ” Utterly Butterly …. ” Milkman


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           SEPTEMBER 17 , 2012           00.40 A.M.

It is a unique example . It is very rare . It doesn’t happen very often that the man who created the brand was eclipsed by it . Amul became more famous than its creator Dr. Verghese Kurien . Amul baby became a part and parcel of our lives .

Amul Milk

Amul Milk (Photo credit: Artiii)

An Amul butter ad on Pakistan's Kargil War fia...

An Amul butter ad on Pakistan’s Kargil War fiasco. The image shows the “Amul baby” in between George Fernandes and Atal Behari Vajpayee. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Known as Milkman of India , Dr. Verghese Kurien , died on September 09 , 2012 at the age of 90 . He was father of The White Revolution in India . He was the initiator of the Operation Flood and he founded the largest milk cooperative movement in the world , known as Amul . It is considered World’s Biggest agricultural Development Programme . He is solely responsible in making India the largest milk producer country of the world , though few years before his advent , India was a milk deficient nation . After his arrival on the scene , India even surpassed United States of America in milk production .

English: Entrance of AMUL factory, Anand

Entrance of AMUL factory, Anand (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Amul Plant at Anand featuring the Hig...

Amul Plant at Anand featuring the High capacity Milk Silos (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Gujarat Co-Operative Milk Marketing Federation was owned and managed by farmers and run by professions . As the founding chairman of the GCMMF , Kurien was instrumental in creation and success of the Amul brand of dairy product .

English: Amul has spurred the White Revolution...

Amul has spurred the White Revolution of India, which has made India the largest producer of milk and milk products in the world. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I came to know about his work when I saw ” Manthan ” [ 1976 ] , a film directed by Shyam Benegal . It was a novel experience . In stead of a regular producer , this film was funded by the 5 Lakh members of the GCMMF . They each contributed INR 2.00 each and thus funded the film . It won critical acclaim and even won 3 National Awards . It had brilliant performances by Naseeruddin Shah , Smita Patil , Girish Karnad , Amrish Puri and Anant Nag . I , for the first time , noticed the performance of Kulbhushan Kharbanda in the film . Film’s title song ” Mero Gaam Kathaparey ……………” , sung by Preeti Sagar , still haunts me . In 1976 it was the official entry of India for the Academy Awards .

Manthan

Manthan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dr. Verghese Kurien was awarded Padma Shri in 1965 , Padma Bhushan in 1966 and Padma Vibhushan in 1999 by the government of India .

It is sad that during his last years Dr. Kurien was ousted from the organisation , which he founded and nurtured ,  by a unscupulous colleague . In 2006 he was forced to quit the post of  Chairman of GCMMF . He resigned and retired .

I deeply mourn his death . Farewell milkman ! You changed the definition of our quintessential milkman .

 

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

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Curtain Call for Pandit Satyadev Dubey


Pandit Satyadev Dubey

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           DECEMBER  28, 2011           02.30 A.M.

I never ever thought that in the last quarter of 2011 I would be writing so many tributes to the departed stalwarts of the field of art  , music and literature . I have already written obituary on Bhupen Hazarika , Shammi Kapoor , Dev Anand , Mario Miranda and Christopher Hitchens . Obituary of Jagjit Singh and Steve Jobs are half – written and yet to be posted . And now comes the news of the sad demise of Pandit Satyadev Dubey .

Pandit Satyadev Dubey

On December 25 , 2011 , when the world was celebrating birth of Jesus Christ , an eminent theater personality Pandit Satyadev Dubey bid adieu . Curtain finally came down and stage went empty . A stalwart , who bestrode the theatre world of Mumbai for 5 decades , Pandit Satyadev Dubey  finally left the stage at the age of 75 . He was sitting in Prithvi Cafe on September 19 , 2011 , when he slipped into coma and was rushed to the hospital . He never came back .

Born in Bilaspur , Chhattisgarh in 1936 , Dubey ji , as he was fondly called , came to Mumbai to become a cricketer . While studying in St. Xavier’s College Mumbai , he came into contact with Vijay Anand , who introduced him to Ebrahim Alkazi . Thus began Dubey ji’s life – long association with theatre . He also learnt from Marathi theatre guru Parshwanath Aaltekar , who taught him articulation and proper pronunciation . Dubey ji used to lisp in his younger days . Theatre Guru Aaltekar taught him how to overcome this short coming .

Dubey ji in His Younger Days

In his 5 decades long career Pandit Satyadev Dubey produced and directed plays like ; ” Yayati ” and ” Hayavadana ” written by Girish Karnad ; ” Aadhe Adhure ” written by Mohan Rakesh ; ” Gidhade ” , ” Shantata ! Court Chalu Aahe ” and ” Baby ” written by Vijay Tendulkar ; ” Evam Indrajit ” and ” Pagla Ghoda ” written by Badal Sarkar ; ” Raktapushpa ” written by Mahesh Elkunchwar ; ” Savlya ” written by Chetan Datar and ” Antigone ” written by Jean Anouilh . He also staged and directed a play ” Andha Yug “ written by Dharamvir Bharti for radio . He wrote and directed plays like ; ” Sambhog Se Sanyas Tak ” , ” Inshallah ” ” Ada Chautal ” and ” Bramha Vishnu Mahesh “ . In the career span of 50 years , he wrote , produced and directed more than 100 plays in Hindi , Marathi and English .

Apart from stage , his first love , he wrote screenplay and dialogues of films like ; ” Ankur ”  [ Screenplay – Dialogue ]” Nishant ” [ Dialogue ] , ” Bhumika “ [ Screenplay – Dialogue ] , ” Hira Aur Patthar ” [ Dialogue ] , ” Vishwasghat ” [ Screenplay – Dialogue ] , ” Junoon ” [ Dialogue ] , ” Kalyug ” [ Dialogue ] , ” Akrosh ” [ Dialogue ] , ” Vijeta ” [ Story – Screenplay – Dialogue ] and ” Mandi “ [ Screenplay – Dialogue ] .

Poster of Ankur

Poster of Nishant

Poster of Bhumika

Poster of Kalyug

Poster of Mandi

Dubey ji made 2 short films ; ” Aparichay Ka Vindhyachal ” and ” Tongue In Cheek ” .

Apart from staging play and writing scripts for films , he donned the avatar of a trainer and groomed many actors . He believed in natural dialogue delivery and discarded highly theatrical and loud dialogue delivery , which was in vogue before his advent . Amrish Puri , Naseeruddin Shah and Amol Palekar are some of his most famous disciples . Amrish Puri was so indebted to Dubey ji that he would often say that , ” I can leave a film project for Dubey ji’s play , if I ever get a call ” .

A Young Amrish Puri in Dubey ji's Play

Young Naseeruddin Shah

Dubey ji With Ratna Pathak Shah

Naseeruddin Shah & Ratna Pathak Shah in Dubey ji's Last Play "Antigone"

Dubey ji got Madhya Pradesh government’s Shikhar Samman and Kalidas Samman . In 1971 he got prestigious Sangeet Natak Academy Award . In 2008 Prithvi Theatre paid tribute to him on completion of 50 years in theatre . Dubey ji received Padma Bhushan in January 2011 .

Prithvi Theatre's Tribute to Dubey ji in 2008

Receiving Padma Bhushan by President Pratibha Patil

He won 1978 National Film Award for Best Screenplay for ” Bhumika “ . In 1980 he got Filmfare Award for Best dialogue for ” Junoon ” .

Poster of Bhumika

During his later years he did many workshops for aspiring actors and people nick – named these workshops as NSD [ National school of Dubey ] .

When I first came to Mumbai in 1972 , I went to meet him at Tejpal Auditorium , Grant Road – West . He was busy staging his play ” Aadhe Adhure ” But still gave me time and told me to watch the play . He kindly gave me ticket also . Amrish Puri played main protagonist and if my memory is not failing me , Sulabha Deshpande was the female protagonist . I was stunned to watch their brilliant portrayals . Unfortunately I had to go to Allahabad to complete my post – graduation and lost the opportunity to work with him .

I came again in 1989 and went to meet him at his apartment at Phularani building in Sahitya Sahawas Colony , Bandra  – East . He told me to come to Karnataka Sangh , Matunga and watch his play ; ” Sambhog Se Sanyas Tak ” . Naseeruddin Shah and Ratna Pathak Shah were playing the main protagonists . I was simply mesmerized by the sheer brilliance of Dubey ji’s writing and the acting of the main protagonists . I remember that I reached late for the play and was gently reprimanded by Dubey ji for that .

Later on I bumped into him several times at Prithvi Theatre .

He was maverick . He was eccentric . He was controversial . But he was definitely a genius and was dedicated to theatre .

He was a great acting Guru . Very strict , very disciplined and ruthless . I must admit that I imbibed some facets of Dubey ji as an acting trainer . I am strict . I am disciplined and I am ruthless . He loved natural acting and I also try to inculcate this thing in the psyche of my students .

But unlike him , I am not eccentric . I am not a maverick and I don’t use colourful language like him . But I am indebted to him and I openly express my gratitude for imbibing few facets of his personality as an acting trainer .

I won’t say Rest In Peace Dubey ji . It’s a custom to clap when the curtain comes down after a play . I would like to stand up and would love to clap at the final curtain call of Pandit Satyadev Dubey .

Thanks for the lovely plays Dubey ji . You will be sorely missed .

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

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