“We strum our guitars, beat our drums/ Tap our feet to rhythms within/ Play tunes that echo our heart’s beat/ Melodies that ring true to our ears/ Words that sing our ideas, our fears, our dreams…” — these are the lines on a Facebook post that names more than 10 artiste groups joining the ongoing protest at Film and Television Institute of India (FTII). Many of them are set to perform on June 28 and 29 at the FTII campus.
Sunday evening at the FTII campus kicked off with a performance by Vasu Dixit, the lead singer of the band Swarathma. This was followed by performances by music bands like Altered Theory (alternative rock band) and NuEdge (rock band), SIPA dance troupe, fire art performer Arpit Singh and so on. On Monday, renowned film and theatre director, music director, lyricist and singer Piyush Mishra will join the students in a music performance. Other performances by Deepali Sahay, Indian Idol finalist, and FTII Alumnus Uday Benegal, lead singer of the band Indus Creed, Airplane Poetry Movement, Shanet and Ganga, folk singers from Kerala and the band Chutzpa have been planned too.
Gabriel Michael Carassco, bass guitarist and sound engineer of the band NuEdge, says, “We do understand the concern of FTII students and hence have come to encourage them through our songs.” The group has chosen songs like Another Brick in the Wall by Pink Floyd and Knocking on Heavens Door by Guns N’ Roses for the occasion.
Nandini Varma, a member of Airplane Poetry Movement, an all-India poetry group run by students, says, “As students, we can relate with FTII and their protest. When they invited us, we didn’t think twice. The poetry that we are presenting have a contemporary feel and talk about the current social and political issues affecting students.”
The students of FTII have been on an indefinite strike since June 12, protesting the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as the chairman of the FTII governing council.