AHEAD OF the maiden meeting of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII)’s new society scheduled for Thursday, the institute administration is undertaking a massive clean-up operation by removing the graffiti and installations that came up on the institute’s premises during the 139-day-long strike.
Half a dozen protest installations and scores of graffiti had emerged on the the campus during the 139 days of strike — the longest since the inception of the institute in 1960. There was barely any wall in the institute that did not carry protest slogans or pictures. These included the main entrance to the institute as well as the office of the institute director. A giant question mark made of film reel raised just outside the main gate too has been removed by the administration.
“The painting work began this morning. We have removed the graffiti from the main gate and the road leading to the main administrative building. There’s quite a lot to be done. The work should have commenced earlier, but the administration kept procrastinating since it was unsure if students would do it again,” said an official involved in the job.
Earlier, the institute registrar, Uttamrao Bodake, had told The Indian Express that since the walls have been “defaced” by the students’ they will be “made to remove the graffiti”. “If they don’t do this, we will do the job but the bill for the same will have to be footed by the students’ association,” Bodake had said earlier.
While the registrar couldn’t be contacted for a comment now, other officials said that “it would be foolish on part of the administration to expect that the students will remove the graffiti”. “The institute is footing the bill,” the official said.
Harishankar Nachimuthu, President of FTII Students’ Association, said he had “informally promised” the administration if the “appointment issue” is resolved positively, the students’ body “may think about removing the graffiti” at its own expense. In the same breath, Nachimuthu added, “That was said with certain riders. The government did not meet a single of demand of ours. Nothing has changed at the FTII and the same contentious society is meeting this Thursday. That graffiti had come up as a reaction to a wrong action. Since the action is still there and has not been corrected, there’s no question of students’ themselves undoing the protest graffiti and installations.”
Ajayan Adat, a final year sound recording student, said that since students were ‘extremely busy’ in classes and project work, there has been no resistance by them over the administration undertaking the job of removing the installations and graffiti. “But the meeting is on Thursday. It’s still a full day and two nights away. And we are not promising anything,” he added.