In a compromise formula of sorts, the government is likely to appoint Brijendra Pal Singh — the maker of popular television series ‘CID’ — as the chairman of the Academic Council of the Film & Television Institute of India (FTII) in Pune to enable Gajendra Chauhan, whose appointment led to a 139-day long student strike, take charge at the institute.
Top government sources have told The Indian Express that Singh, who was recently nominated as member of the FTII Society in the category of “alumni of FTII”, is slated to be appointed chairman of the academic council, the top policy making body at the institute for academic affairs.
“One of the main contentions of the protesting students was that Chauhan was not equipped to deal with the academic affairs. That will be taken care of once Singh is appointed as the head of the academic council. Another factor in Singh’s favour is that he is an alumnus of the institute,” a source said.
Earlier, noted filmmaker and FTII Society member Rajkumar Hirani had said he was offered the post of academic council but had to say no due to his prior film commitments.
Appointing a chairman to the academic council had for long being talked about as one of the possible “give-and-take” measures to facilitate Chauhan’s taking over at the helm of FTII. With Singh’s appointment in place, the government is hopeful that this move will pave the way for a smooth takeover by Chauhan, who is now expected to assume office on January 7, 2016.
When asked about Singh’s appointment, Chauhan said, “We’ll be holding a meeting of the governing council on January 7 when I take charge. The matter of appointing a chairman of the academic council will be taken up at that meeting after taking a vote.”
Chauhan, who was appointed as the FTII president and chairman of its governing council in June, could not take charge following a massive student protest opposing his appointment. The strike was called off in October after several rounds of talks between the I& B Ministry and the protesting students.