FTII students write open letter to Anupam Kher

ST Correspondent
Thursday, 12 October 2017

The authorities responded to the questions raised by the students

Pune: After the appointment of Anupam Kher as Chairperson of the Governing Council of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), the students of the institute wrote an open letter to Kher, voicing their grievances.

The letter is signed by Robin Joy, President of FTII Students Association, and Rohit Kumar, General Secretary.

Attacking the short-term courses recently started by the institute in various parts of the country, the students wrote in the letter, “We sincerely believe that the short-term courses being run can’t impart knowledge on film making. For instance, the new course launched earlier this month ‘Short course in fiction writing for television’ has a duration of 20 days. Every student is being charged Rs 20,000, which we find very expensive for such a short-term course and also for students from certain sections of society. A government institute that exists to provide education to students from all sections shouldn’t be driven by the agenda of funds generation that currently seems to be the aim of these courses, which has also been the case with government-run institutes/ universities across the nation.”

Answering the allegations, FTII Director Bhupendra Kainthola said, “The fees for the short-term courses are different at different places. For instance, the course, which has fees of around Rs 25,000 in cities like Mumbai or Pune, charges around Rs 10,000 in distant places like Ladakh or Andamans, where our major focus is on reaching out to people and providing them with an opportunity to follow their dreams.”

The letter also questions the spending of lavish amounts on Foundation Day, Open Day, etc.

Kainthola said, “As a public-funded institute, we think we need to give back to the public, so we have open days for them to visit the institute. As far as memorials of actors and directors are concerned, I feel it's our responsibility to celebrate those."

The students also expressed their discontent over the issue that unlike earlier, now the students are not given the full syllabus in hand at the beginning of the year.

“As we are functioning in semester-pattern these days, we cannot give the syllabus of the next semester until the students have cleared the previous one. We do provide them with the syllabus of the current semester they are in at the beginning,” Amit Tyagi, Dean (TV) said.

Other problems faced
- “Students are being forced to sign undertakings to finish their courses ‘on time’. On the other hand, the administration is not providing the necessary resources, which are essential to finish their projects on time," the letter read.
- The students also pointed out other issues like the light men on the campus being reduced to contractual labourers, the appointment of only contractual faculties, no involvement of students representatives in Governing Council, etc.

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