The Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) has expelled five second-year students over their decision to boycott a film exercise, to protest the institute administration’s decision to change the shooting norms, to finish a three-day shoot in two days. The entire 2016 batch had taken the decision to boycott the exercise, but the first group — including one student each from Direction, Cinematography, Sound Design, Editing and Art Direction, who didn’t attend the production meeting — have been expelled.
In an email to the five students who boycotted the production meeting, Amit Tyagi, Dean (Films), said on Wednesday the institute had taken “serious note of your unwillingness to adhere to schedule”. “Please note that you were sufficiently advised to undertake the project but you chose not to. Under no circumstances will you be given another opportunity to undertake this exercise in the future. Since you are not undertaking the Dialogue Exercise and boycotting it, your presence is no longer required in the campus during this third semester. You are… now directed to vacate the hostel within three days of receiving this letter and may return to campus in the fourth semester,” wrote Tyagi.
As per the new shooting norms, every shooting shift will comprise 12 hours instead of 8 hours. Students say that not only will the extended shoot be strenuous for them and the workers, lightboys and technical staff, but it will also violate labour laws.
The students alleged that the decision to squeeze the three-day schedule into two days had been taken by the institute administration to finish the course as soon as possible, “without caring for the quality of education”.
“The contractual workers, outsiders who are required for pre-production and shoot, will have to work for 12 hours a day, which is much higher than the industry norm. An eight-hour shift is the norm everywhere in the film industry. The new norm is also unfair for Art Direction students, as it gives them limited opportunity to learn and practice,” said Rohit Kumar, general secretary of the FTII Students’ Body.
He added, “… The entire aim seems to be to finish the course as early as possible”.