FTII students post open letter to Anupam Kher

Gajendra Chauhan in Mahabharata

Gajendra Chauhan in Mahabharata

They are concerned that FTII, a premier film institute, is now "slowly being turned into an institute that runs short-term crash courses for generation of funds".

Gajendra, who will hand over the baton of Film and Television Institute of India chief to Anupam Kher, today said he played a 20/20 match during his stint at the Pune-based organisation but wished the government gave him more time to complete the work he started. We sincerely believe that the short term courses being run can't impart knowledge on film making in such a short duration.

Over the past one year, the administration has spent lavish amounts of money on events such as "Open day", "Foundation day".

"A government institute that exists to provide education to students from all section shouldn't be driven by the agenda of funds generation, which now seems to be the aim of these courses which has also been the case with government-run institute/universities across then nation", the letter read. This is not the first time I am handling an administrative post. Students have alleged that the iconic institute has become an "institute for short-term courses' and contractual faculties".

"It is not feasible to work for 12 hours shift for two days and forcing the light men, carpenters and other workers to work for longer stretch".

Assistant professor of direction Sudipta Acharyya said, "These are efforts to augment the timeline issues and to enforce a sense of discipline in students to complete their exercise on time".

-Faculties are hired on contractual basis and fear that they could be sacked any moment. The institute does not have enough number of faculty members to run the courses, and because of this the implementation of syllabus is getting affected. However, the protesting students have made a decision to boycott the exercise stating earlier, the students would get three days where they could shoot the film working eight hours a day, however with changed norms, the administration has reduced the days of shooting from three days to two days but they have increased the working hours from eight hours a day to twelve hours a day. Students say that the courses demand a hefty fee which restricts their careers.

Pune: The Film and Television Institute of India on Thursday morning withdrew the five hostel eviction notices issued a day before for students' refusal to adhere to the dialogue exercise schedule but the latter's agitation continued.

The letter puts forward many concerns the students and staff have regarding the institution, and asks for Kher's "take" on these issues.

Filmmaker Pritish Nandy called it an "excellent change" at FTII. "A government institute that exists to provide education to students from all section shouldn't be driven by the agenda of funds generation, which now seems to be the aim of these courses which has also been the case with government-run institute/universities across the nation", said the letter. "The way the course is progressing, it seems we will finish the courses on time, but without learning anything substantial", said Rohit Kumar, a second-year student specialising in film editing.

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