Veteran film director Saeed Akhtar Mirza, who has also served as the chairman of the Governing Council of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), on Sunday visited the institute to support the protesting students who are on a strike for the past 67 days.
“I agree with the protesting students and I completely understand their anger. I have come here to sympathise with them and let them know that I support their cause,” said Mirza, who was appointed the FTII Society president and chairman of the Governing Council in March 2011 and served until March last year, when his term ended.
The post remained vacant until June this year when the FTII Society was reconstituted with actor Gajendra Chauhan being nominated as the new chairman.
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Mirza said that during his tenure as the chairman, the institute and the society had demanded additional funds and facilities among other things to ensure the institute becomes the “centre of excellence”. He feared that the process could be derailed due to the ad-hoc appointment made on the society.
“We had to fight for it with the previous government. There were a few things falling in place when I left. With the latest appointment, there’s little chance that plans will see their logical conclusion. I must congratulate the students to take up this fight,” said Mirza.
When brought to his notice that director Shyam Benegal, who has also served as governing council chairman of FTII, has questioned the rationale in protesting over Chauhan’s appointment when the chairman has a very limited role to play, Mirza disagreed and stressed that the role of a chairman was very significant.
“It’s not an ornamental post. There are a lot of things that the chairman has to do. He has to have a dialogue with the government and the students. He has to ask for things that the institute needs and get them from the government.
There’s a misconception among people that the student like to go on strike. These people should go on a strike for 66 days and then tell me how they feel,” he said.