Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) has appointed actor Satish Shah, producer B P Singh and film critic Bhawana Somaaya as members on the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) society to replace veteran director Jahnu Barua, actor Pallavi Joshi and cinematographer Santosh Sivan who had earlier resigned in protest.
Shah and Singh are alumni of the institute with former being an acting course alumnus and latter a cinematography graduate. Shah is a prolific actor who has acted in scores of movies but is known for his role in cult classic Jane Bhi Do Yaaron (1983) and television comedy Sarabhai Vs Sarabhai. Singh’s most recognisable work is crime investigation series CID. Somaaya is a film journalist who has written several books on Indian cinema.
“The three have been appointed to replace the three who had resigned in July this year. The appointments will complete the FTII Society again as per the legal requirement. It needs to meet soon to choose a governing council, pass the audit report and implement the new admissions,” said a senior I&B official confirming the news but requesting not to be named.
Controversial FTII Chairman appointee Gajendra Chauhan too confirmed the news and welcomed it saying the new names faces were “good choices” and that he would “love to work with them”.
“They are good choices. I want to work with them and with everyone positively. I am waiting for the orders to go assume the charge,” said Chauhan.
Students, on one hand, did not categorically oppose or approve the new appointments. They, however, rued they were done in as ad-hoc manner as those so vigorously protested by the students.
“The entire point of our agitation was to bring transparency and accountability to the process of appointments on FTII society. By the new appointments which have been done without any deliberations with the stakeholders prove us right. After 139 day long strike by the students, return of National Film Awards by 38 filmmakers the government doesn’t seem to have moved a bit which is reflective of its nature and philosophy,” said Ajayan Adat, a final year Sound Recording student.
During the many negotiations held with I&B representatives including ministers Arun Jaitley and Rajyavardhan Rathore, the students had repeatedly demanded – along with removal of Chauhan and four other members – that Barua, Joshi and Sivan be reinstated.
“They were dismissive of such a suggestion. The Ministry representatives thought it would set a precedent to invite them again,” said Adat who participated in a majority of negotiation meetings.