Actor Anupam Kher who was appointed Chairman of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) on October 11 came down to the institute campus in Pune unannounced on Monday morning.
Unlike Gajendra Chauhan -his predecessor- Kher did not meet with any resistance when he visited the campus. In fact, he had a small interaction with students of 2016 batch who are protesting over academic issues and said that he would meet them and discuss the issue later in the day. “He spoke to us and then proceeded to meet the acting students. He said he would talk to the entire 2016 batch separately,” one of the students said.
Kher met the students in the main theatre (MT) of the FTII and listened to their grouses with the administration. Students of the 2016 batch pointed out the issues they are facing pertaining to the norms of the ‘dialogue exercise’ as well issues pertaining to the revised syllabus. “After listening to students, Kher said that the demands raised by students were reasonable and that he will speak to Director, FTII and try to resolve them. He said that all of them may not get resolved within a day or two but he will work towards them,” said one of the students who participated in the interaction.
Kher also reportedly said that he will also try to increase the shooting budget of the exercises from next year onwards as demanded by students. “For the time being I’ll contribute Rs 14,000 per ‘dialogue project’ which added to the current budget of Rs 36,000 will give you Rs 50,000 to spend on each ‘dialogue project’,” Kher was quoted as saying by one of the participants.
Speaking to media persons, Kher said that he had not given prior information about his visit to the administration or the students because he wanted to enter the FTII gates as a student as he had done 40 years ago.”I want to start my term on an optimistic note. I have spoken to the students and I feel that the issues that they are raising can be solved. I’ll work to solve them. I believe that boys and girls who come to any institute to learn and if there are some issues in their learning process, they should be addressed,” said Kher. He is also expected to hold a ‘masterclass’ for acting students on Tuesday.
A day after his appointment was made the FTII Students’ Body had written an ‘open letter’ to the actor pointing out as many as nine issues and seeking to know what the 62-year-old thespian thought of them. Speaking to media, Kher had said that he was open to talks and would love to talk to the students and resolve the issues.
FTII Students’ Body which had vociferously opposed Gajendra Chauhan’s appointment and had also spearheaded a four-month-long strike, had expressed displeasure over the appointment saying that ‘it was a reward to Kher for being an unofficial spokesperson of BJP’, but had acknowledged his credentials.
Tenure of previous FTII Society headed by Chauhan ended on March 3 earlier this year. Chauhan who was appointed in June 2015 for a three-year term with retrospective effect from March 2014, however, due to vociferous protests against him by students Chouhan could assume the office only in January 2016 thus effectively getting only a 15-month tenure.