Silver Screen Lining

Lesser-known TV and animation departments of FTII are also producing works that have won accolades at various film festivals

Written by Prajakta Hebbar | Published: July 23, 2013 4:15 am

A vague,androgynous person stumbles into a dirty bathroom. There are several bottles strewn across the floor. The dull grey figure with a skinny body,bulging forehead and sunken eyes,picks up a half-empty bottle,chugs the remains greedily and lurches to a nearby desk. The desk is littered with packets of white powder. The shadowy figure empties a packet,piles the white ephemeral dust and inhales it through a used,rolled-up dollar bill. As a wane smile appears on his cracked lips,one gets transported with him into a land of drug-induced dreams,where the figure is smiling and flying high among the clouds. But it all ends quickly,as he’s snapped back to reality by the shrill ring of a telephone,in his dingy apartment.

In a mere six-minute animated film,Khayali Pandya and Vivek Kumar,students from the animation department at the Film and Television Institute of India’s (FTII) Television wing,bring a glimpse into the life of an addict and the minute details of his habits. Showcased at the International Film Festival of Kerala and the Students’ Film Festival of India,earlier this year,Addiction won many accolades by critics. “People often forget the television part of FTII,” says Pandya,laughing. After graduating from FTII last year,Pandya has been working at an advertisement agency in Mumbai.

Iftekhar Ahmad,Dean (Television) at the FTII,shares that the TV department,offering a range of one-year courses in several subjects,was started in 2003,and the animation department was started in 2004. While students of the institute’s film wing have regularly claimed the limelight with their works reaching film festivals,the television and animation students are also making a mark on several national and international platforms. Chumbak (2012),a film made by Gaurav Shimpi,a student of television direction,won the Special Jury Award at the 15th Kyoto International Student Film and Video Festival,Japan. Of the 250 entries selected,Shimpi’s film won top honours. It was the first time that a film from the FTII won an award at the Kyoto festival.

But there are several problems faced by the department as well. One of the major ones is that of the duration of the television courses. Ahmad says,“One year is not enough time to train students in a comprehensive manner. The television industry — be it entertainment,documentary or news — is so dynamic in nature that it evolves constantly. We are considering changing the duration of the course to two years. We are currently finalising the syllabus and ironing out other details.”

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