Veteran actor Anupam Kher was appointed on Wednesday as the new chairman of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII). An alumnus of the National School of Drama, Kher replaced Gajendra Chauhan.
The representatives of FTII student body have written him an open letter to bring his attention “to the following issues persisting in the iconic institute that you will be heading” although he “might be busy taking congratulatory messages”.
Here’s what they want Kher to know:
1. To Impart Learning on Different Aspects of Film-Making
The students request Anupam Kher to not let FTII be an institute that runs short-term crash courses for generation of funds. It should retain what it started out as – a place to impart learning on different aspects of film-making.
2. Money Should Be Spent on Infrastructure
Lavish amount of money that is spent on events like ‘Open day’ should be spent on lights, infrastructure and to buy and repair equipment which would help them finish their projects on time.
3. The New Syllabus Is Confusing
The new syllabus (CBCSS) has created a lot of confusion. The students want a proper audit of the new syllabus and the entire syllabus has to be handed to them at the time of admission.
4. Employees Who Were Permanent Are Now Under Contract
All the light-men who who used to be permanent are now contractual labourers. The students say that though the institute runs 5 days a week, the employees work for 6-7 days at times and they are only paid for 5 days.
5. Most of the Faculty in FTII Are Contractual
Most of the faculty in FTII are contractual and they cannot access benefits that a permanent faculty does. The students also say that the staff are not even getting their salaries on time and that the institute does not have enough faculty to run the course.
6. Students Are Forced to Sign Undertakings
Students are forced to sign undertakings to finish their courses ‘on time’ while the administration is not providing the necessary resources which are essential to finish their projects on time.
7. New Syllabus Limits the Exercise Norms
The new syllabus has brought limitations to the exercise norms. These limitations are not feasible logistically. The 3-day 8-hour shift being reduced to a 2-day 12-hour shift is exhausting. It is inhuman to force the light men, carpenters, painters, make-up artists and actors to work at such a stretch. More importance is given to finishing the exercises in a haste rather than giving enough time to students to enhance their learning experience.
8. Excluding Students From Academic Council Meetings Was Unconstitutional
From February 2017, the student representatives have been excluded from the academic council meetings. Since the students are the primary stakeholders in the academic council, this move is unconstitutional.
9. Cinema Being Looked at as a Commodity, Not an Art Form
FTII produces filmmakers who work at various platforms. While some choose to work in the industry, others find alternate ways. But students at various instances have been asked to look at the industry practice where cinema is just being looked at as a commodity and not as an art form which serves the larger human cause.
Read the full open letter that the students sent their new chairman here:
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