FTII faculty,alumni rue ‘step-motherly treatment’ by Centre

What is it in an NID or an NIFT that the FTII does not have,asks Oscar winning sound technician and FTII alumnus Resul Pookutty,as Cabinet grants ‘institute of national importance’ status to NID.

Written by Express News Service | Published:March 15, 2013 2:26 am

What is it in an NID or an NIFT that the FTII does not have,asks Oscar winning sound technician and FTII alumnus Resul Pookutty,as Cabinet grants ‘institute of national importance’ status to NID.

With the Cabinet giving its to nod to categorising National Institute of Design (NID) as an ‘institute of national importance’,faculty and alumni of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) have strongly reacted to what they are calling a “step-motherly treatment” meted out to the institute by the Central government.

The case for granting such status to FTII had been taken up by the alumni and faculty at the national level about two years ago. But the Centre’s silence on the proposal has been causing great dissatisfaction among the people associated with FTII — alma mater to some of the most iconic names in Indian cinema.

If FTII had been given the status of ‘institute of national importance’,it would have got the much needed autonomy,increasing the scope and dimension for the courses offered at the institute.

Oscar winning sound technician and FTII alumnus Resul Pookutty was among the first ones to take up the matter with the Central government. Pookutty says he has also been writing to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi to attract their attention on the matter.

Upset over the Cabinet’s inaction on the recommendation,Pookutty said: “Ninety per cent of the national award winners every year are from FTII. This institute has produced artistes of international repute. What is it in an NID or an NIFT that the FTII has yet not proved? What is it that is compelling the Central government to neglect this institute? Why is it that all the attempts to invite PM,President to the FTII are systematically ignored? Why are the faculty members of this institute denied their pensions? It is a representation of the sorry state of affairs that the young artiste-students of this institute have to resort to hunger strike to be heard. We have witnessed that the FTII is categorically neglected by those in the decision-making chain and if this continues the children of this country will not get to witness quality cinema in the years to come.”

The status of ‘institution of national importance’ would authorise FTII to award degree to its students — currently the post-graduate diplomas offered by FTII are not recognised as degrees. This,in turn,may prove to be beneficial for students who wish to pursue post-graduation and will in turn open new avenues in teaching and research.

A senior faculty at FTII said former information and technology minister Ambika Soni had repeatedly promised to grant the status,and that the year of celebrating 100 years of Indian cinema was probably the best occasion to bestow the honour on the institute.

Meanwhile,though the faculty and alumni are crying injustice,FTII director D J Narain is still hopeful. “It is a time consuming process. From what I know,most of the ministries concerned have already given their approval to the proposal. I am hopeful that the Cabinet nod will come soon,” he said.

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