Pune: The short-term courses by the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) Pune have created a larger awareness about film-making and its various aspects among the people across the country, touching over 2,000 people in just seven months, said Bhupendra Kainthola, Director, FTII.
The FTII, in 2017, added a new feather to its cap by starting short foundational courses in several aspects of film-making like television writing, fiction writing, digital cinematography, film appreciation (FA), basic acting, screenplay writing, etc. While initially the courses were restricted to the cities such as Pune, Mumbai and Delhi, over the months, the institute has tied up with several other governments to conduct short courses in different states.
Till now, the courses have been held in Mumbai, Pune, Jaipur, Haridwar, Srinagar and Leh in Jammu and Kashmir, Guwahati, Port Blair and Rangat in Andaman and Nicobar, and Ahmedabad. Besides the city, FTII has even conducted FA course in IIT Bombay, and before the year ends, another course will begin in Nagpur.
“In coming three months, Jammu, Pondicherry and Hyderabad will also have short-term courses by FTII. Basically, we are interested in conducted courses wherever people and institutes show interest in conducting and participating in our courses. While we are ready to partner even with the private institutes, however, the responsibility of course structure, faculty, etc, remains with FTII. The trainers are mostly the FTII alumni, who have some experience in the industry,” Kainthola said.
Good response from public
While the big cities definitely have a huge participation, Kainthola said that what surprised them was the response that they received in the small cities and remote areas.
“In Leh, for our digital cinematography course, considering the location and the kind of course, we had only 15 participants. These courses are meant for a lesser number of participants, with just 20 to 25 slots, and we have received enough response for those. However, as far as the FA course is concerned, in Jaipur, we got an overwhelming response from 150 participants. The response is better than what we had expected, for the courses, almost everywhere,” he asserted.
Kainthola further added that the philosophy behind the courses is to reach the common man. He said, “There is nothing at the beginner's level in our country to address film-making. Plus, we don't have an upper age limit. All these factors actually open up the opportunity of learning film-making to a larger population.”
Row over the fee structure
After the appointment of renowned actor Anupam Kher as the new Chairperson of FTII's governing council earlier this year, in an open letter addressed to him, the students had attacked the short courses referring to them just as a money-making business. However, Kainthola said that the courses are not meant to 'make' money.
“The main objective of the course is to spread the reach of film-making courses to a wider audience. In the process, what's wrong to 'earn' a little money? Except, the fees for the courses are flexible, according to the place where the courses are held, taking into consideration the accessibility of the place, paying capacity of the people there, etc. A short course in Pune, Mumbai or Delhi will definitely cost slightly higher than a course in distant places like Leh or Andamans, where our major focus is on reaching out to people and providing them with an opportunity to learn.”
After the controversial tenure of Gajendra Chauhan as the FTII Chairperson, actor Anupam Kher was appointed as Chairperson in the month of October. While his appointment was not met with any protest from the students, like that of his predecessor, the students were certainly sceptical about it.