Veteran actress Shabana Azmi said that an individual’s qualification should be the main criteria for selection to key posts in cultural institutions such as the Film and Television Institute of India.
Azmi, a former student of the institution, said that FTII has the legacy of being headed by eminent personalities such as Shyam Benegal, U R Ananthmurthy and so on.
During a recent interview on a Malayalam television channel, the actress said, “BJP may want to put somebody of their own in a particular position. But qualification is something which we need to pay much more attention.”
“We had persons of the quality of Shyam Benegal, U R Ananthmurthy and Mrinal Sen in FTII. So, there has to be people with such qualifications,” she said while replying to a question on recent controversies regarding the Centre’s decision to appoint Gajendra Chauhan as FTII chief.
Azmi also expressed concern over shrinking liberal space in the country.
“I can see there is huge dissatisfaction with liberal space shrinking at the moment and people are very much upset about it. We have a government which on one hand talks about very liberal things and on the other hand, does absolutely nothing to denounce those who are making retrograde remarks,” she added.
Regarding the fatwa issued by a religious group against music maestro A R Rahman, the Makdee actress said, “I strongly stand in solidarity with Rahman in the issue. The outfit which issued the fatwa does not enjoy any weight within the community. So, I will urge media that they do not jump into anything taking even things that are said by inconsequential people.”
On the film front, Azmi is playing the role of a gypsy woman in Manika Sharma’s Kalpvriksh along with other popular actors such as Saurabh Shukla and Makarand Deshpande. The voice-over of the film has been done by Amitabh Bachchan. Its date of release has not been announced yet.