Going back to his alma mater Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) after 38 years as a chairperson, Anupam Kher sure has a huge reason to celebrate but the acclaimed actor-filmmaker says he is aware that he cannot let his emotions or his experience have any bearing on his dealings with the students.
The FTII students have written an open letter to Anupam Kher, who replaced veteran actor Gajendra Chauhan as the chairperson of the esteemed government institute (which had been at the centre of conflict since Chauhan’s appointment in 2015) two days ago, to bring to his attention a few key issues.
Signed by its president Robin Roy and general secretary Rohit Kumar, the letter points out that the institute that started ideally to impart learning on different aspects of filmmaking is now slowly “being turned into an institute that runs short-term crash courses for the generation of funds.” Some of the other things that the students want Kher to address including the administration’s expenditure on events like “foundation day” and “open day” that they are against, the constant fear in FTII’s faculty of “being sacked” anytime if they don’t follow the administration and delay in their salaries.
Anupam Kher was asked about the letter when he arrived for the opening ceremony of Jio MAMI 19th Mumbai Film Festival on Thursday night. “Whatever I have to discuss, I would love to discuss it with the students over there. I am like their senior. I was a student there in 1978 and now, I will go there as a chairman. So, I think it is a great time to celebrate but I am not going there with any baggage or any preconceived idea that I have to tell them this or that. Today’s youth can teach a lot to an actor and a personality like me. We will sit across. We will talk about it and we will take this great institution to greater heights,” the actor told mediapersons at the red carpet.
Anupam’s appointment has evoked mixed reactions. While it is no doubt a relief for the students to have an actor of Kher’s calibre and repute replace Chauhan, whose film career is far from being noteworthy, there is criticism from a section, which raises the question that how can Kher lead FTII when he already runs a private acting institute (Actor Prepares institute).