Actress Pallavi Joshi quits in protest, Jaitley threatens to privatize FTII


As the students’ strike to call for the ouster of freshly-elected Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) chairman Gajendra Chauhan enters its 25th day, popular actress Pallavi Joshi has written to the I&B Ministry saying she does not want to be a part of the governing council.

Meanwhile, a press note issued by the students’ association says that Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley has hinted that the institution could be privatised if students do not cooperate with the ministry.

“When brought to the minister’s notice that an institution embodies a vision which the present society was not in a position to provide, he indicated that if students persisted in their demand for reconstitution of the society they might have to face the bleak prospect of shutdown and eventual privatisation,” the press note said.

However, FTII director DJ Narain has contradicted Jaitley on the privatisation matter saying, “The minister did not talk about privatisation or a shutdown of the institute at all. FSA totally misunderstood what the minister said in reference to the report of Geeta Krishnan committee in the late 90’s recommending privatisation of institutions including FTII which the I and B ministry did not accept. On the contrary the ministry pumped more funds to boost the FTII”, he said. has learnt that the students have appealed to eminent film personalities such as Vidya Balan and Rajkumar Hirani who are part of the institution’s society. The students are sticking to their demand for the ouster of BJP member Chauhan as chairman.

A lot of other eminent people of the Indian film industry including well-known cinematographer Santosh Sivan and filmmaker Jahnu Barua have also refused to be a part of the FTII society or the governing council.

Chauhan, who is known for portraying the character of ‘Yudhisthira’ on TV show Mahabharata, became chairman of FTII last month. His appointment has come under severe criticism from current and former students of the elite institution.