EXCLUSIVE: I never made comments against Anupam and Rishi, media should apologise, says Gajendra Chauhan

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Ashish Maggo

Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) chairman Gajendra Chauhan has told Jantakareporter.com that he never made any comments against eminent film personalities Anupam Kher and Rishi Kapoor and that the media is wrongly implicating him in this matter. Chauhan has even demanded an apology from the media in this regard and said words had been fed into his mouth.

Chauhan said in a telephonic conversation that Kher and Kapoor were his seniors in the film industry and that he had the greatest respect for them. Yesterday, NDTV had carried a report that quoted Chauhan as saying, “Who are Anupam Kher and Rishi Kapoor [to criticise me]?”

Kher and Kapoor are among many others along with students who are criticising BJP member Chauhan’s recent appointment by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry as chairman, with Kher even going on to say that the man was not qualified enough for his post.

“I personally feel that FTII represents a certain art form… it does certainly need a person having a great body of work which means he is supposed to know world cinema, he is supposed to know the present state of cinema like editing. But certainly FTII needs somebody who is much more qualified than whatever Gajendra ji’s qualifications are coming across,” Kher had said in Chandigarh yesterday.

A lot of eminent members of the Indian film industry including well-known cinematographer Santosh Sivan, filmmaker Jahnu Barua and actress Pallavi Joshi have refused to be a part of the FTII society or the governing council in recent times, citing negativity around the institute.

It even emerged yesterday that people like Amitabh Bachchan, Rajinikanth and Shyam Benegal were ignored for the FTII panel before Chauhan was chosen by the I&B Ministry, in reported consultation with the RSS.

Union Minister for I&B Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore later clarified that the government was looking to choose someone who could devote enough time for the institution.

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