Students at Pune-based Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) on Wednesday said the government’s move to appoint Bollywood actor Anupam Kher as its chairperson was “crazy” and “another joke” after television actor Gajendra Chauhan’s appointment triggered massive protests in 2015.
The Union information and broadcasting ministry appointed Kher as the premier cinema institute’s chairperson more than six months after the tenure of Chauhan, a member of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), was over.
Chauhan’s appointment, one of the most contentious in FTII’s 50-year history, triggered massive outrage on campus. Students went on a 139-day strike and relentlessly criticised the government for appointing a man, who they claimed had neither ‘stature’ nor ‘vision’.
“How can Kher head FTII when he is already running a private acting school?” Harishankar Nachumuthu, who headed one of its longest strike in the premier film institute’s history to oppose Chauhan’s appointment, asked.
He was referring to the Anupam Kher’s Actor Prepares institute run by the national award winner.
Nachimuthu said the students at FTII don’t see any difference between Chauhan and Kher, who is known to be to be a vocal supporter of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. His wife Kirron Kher is a BJP legislator from Chandigarh.