Eminent Film Makers and Award Winners Appeal to President to Resolve FTII Crisis

FTII campus (Photo: icultist)

FTII campus (Photo: icultist)

The Honourable President of India Rashtrapati Bhawan

Honourable Sir,

We write to you at a time when the film-making community – and the public at large – are deeply perturbed by the ongoing mishandling of affairs at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

The undersigned are all recipients of the National Film Awards over the years, bestowed upon us by the office of the President, in recognition of our films and our cinema-related work.

We are writing to collectively bring to your attention the following:

  1. The FTII is a premier institute, now in its 55th year. Its alumni include some of the best-known names of the Indian film industry, who have brought national and international recognition to Indian cinema.

  2. In June 2015, the Ministry made a series of appointments to the FTII Society. We are dismayed to find among the appointees several people who did not satisfy the minimum criteria of either a ‘significant contribution’ to, or ‘excellence’ in, cinema.

  3. We have been particularly disturbed to note that the Ministry had arbitrarily chosen Shri Gajendra Chouhan as the Chairman of the Governing Council, a position earlier held by eminent film-makers like Shri Mrinal Sen, Dr. U.R. Ananthamurthy, Shri Shyam Benegal, Shri Girish Karnad and Shri Adoor Gopalakrishnan, among a host of other eminent appointees. This appears to have been done in haste, sans due diligence or widespread consultations.

  4. Even more disturbing is the inclusion of at least four political appointees, with little or no cinematic achievements of note. These include an appointee against whom a Pune Court has passed strictures, doubting her knowledge of cinema, as well as people with no other significant qualification except their affiliation with the political party in power.

  5. Even as many of us have registered our protest through the media, the students of FTII have been on an indefinite strike protesting these appointments and what they rightly see as an attempt to interfere with the autonomy of the institute. In the 85 days since they commenced their strike, we have been anguished to observe the myriad ways in which the Ministry has mishandled the complex set of issues brought up by the students, the alumni, the film-making community and the wider civil society.

  6. We have been especially disturbed at the victimisation of the students, some of whom were subjected to midnight arrests on what prima facie seem to be grossly exaggerated charges including “torture”.

  7. We believe that despite the several discussions held between the Ministry and the students, as well as the various attempts at mediation, especially by eminent alumni, no solution seems to be in sight. We therefore write to you to express our deep anguish and to urge you to intervene directly. We hope your intervention would not just facilitate an end to the current crisis, but also help address the long-term and festering problems faced by the FTII.

May we request you to:

  • Declare FTII as a Centre of Excellence and an autonomous institution.
  • Assume charge as the Chancellor.
  • Direct the Government of India to delink FTII from the Ministry of I & B and to urgently complete all the necessary formalities to grant it autonomy
  • Appoint an independent panel of eminent filmmakers to probe and resolve all the issues arising out of the current crisis as well as to facilitate the immediate resumption of classes and the ongoing diploma film projects.
  • Authorise this panel to formally consider all prior reports submitted by various committees – right from the G D Khosla committee (1971) to the P K Nair committee (2011) – and to make final recommendations concerning FTII to your office.

We hope you will accord due weightage to our collective voices and share in our desire to preserve an invaluable institution like the FTII.

We are writing to you as a last resort, before considering any further concerted steps or protests.

The signatories are listed in alphabetical order in two sets, first the alumni from FTII followed by members of the film fraternity.

  1. Abhaya Simha, Director Gubbachigalu, 2008
  2. Abhik Mukhopadhyay, Cinematographer Patalghar, 2002; Bhalo Theko, 2003; Antaheen, 2008
  3. Abhimanyu Dange, Cinematographer Kaatal, 2012
  4. Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Director Padma Shri, 1984; Dada Saheb Phalke Award, 2004; Padma Vibhushan, 2006; 17 National Awards
  5. Ajithkumar B., Editor Of Confucious, Toy Guns and S- Spots, 1999; Atman, 2002; Naalu Pennungal, 2007
  6. Ajit Singh Rathore, Sound Designer Kramasha, 2009
  7. Amit Dutta, Director Ksha Tra Gya, 2004
  8. Amitabh Chakraborty, Editor, Director Bishar Blues, 2006; Kaal Abhirati, 1990
  9. Amlan Datta, Director, Producer Chronicle of an amnesiac, 2007; .in for motion, 2009; BOM, 2011
  10. Andrea Inneta, Director Allah is Great, 2012
  11. Anil Mehta, Cinematographer Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, 1999
  12. Anish John, Sound Designer Asha Jaoar Majhe, 2014
  13. Anirban Dasgupta, Sound designer Shabdo 2012; Nirbashito, 2014
  14. Anjali Shukla, Cinematographer Kutty Srank,2010
  15. Anmol Bhave, Sound Designer Closer,2005; Gandha, 2008
  16. Anup Mukhopadhyay, Audiographer Uttara, 1999
  17. Arghyakamal Mitra, Editor Abohoman, 2009
  18. Arunaraje Patil, Producer, Director Mallika Sarabhai, 2000; A New Paradigm, 2002; Behind The Glass Wall, 2014
  19. Arun Khopkar, Director, Producer, Film Scholar Tobacco Habits and Oral Cancer, 1976; Figures of Thought, 1990; Sanchari, 1994; Colours of Absence, 1995; Rasikapriya, 2000; Narayan Gangaram Surve, 2004
  20. Arunima Sharma, Director Shyam, Raat, Seher, 2010
  21. Ashok Viswanathan, Director Sunya Theke Suru, 1992; Kichhu Sanglap Kichhu Prolap, 1996
  22. Avinash Arun, Director, cinematographer Killa, 2014
  23. Batul Mukhtiar, Director Kaphal, 2014
  24. Bina Paul, Editor Mitr, 2002; Unni, 2003
  25. Bishwadeep Chatterjee, Sound Designer Madras Café, 2014
  26. Chandita Mukherjee, Director Totanama, 1992; Another Way of Learning, 1995
  27. Charushree Roy, Director, Editor Chasing the rainbow, 2014
  28. Chinmoy Nath, Audiographer The Vehicle with the Soul of a Man, 2000
  29. Deepu S Unni, Cinematographer Gaarud, 2009
  30. Dilip Patnaik, Director Nilamadhaba, 2008
  31. Dipankar Chaki, Sound Designer Shabdo 2012; Nirbashito, 2014
  32. Gadadhar Puty, Director Pooja, Paeen, Phulati, 2007
  33. Gautam Nair, Sound Designer Ek Do, 2011; Chidhiya Udh, 2013;
  34. Girish Kasaravalli, Director Padma Shri, 2011; Avashesh, 1975; Ghatashradhdha, 1977; Tabarana Kathe, 1986; Thaaye Saheba, 1997; Kraurya, 1996; Dweepa, 2002
  35. Gurvinder Singh, Director Anhey Ghorhey Da Daan, 2011
  36. Hansa Thapliyal, Director Jee Karta Tha, 1998
  37. Harikumar Madhavan Nair, Audiography A Pestering Jounrey, 2011
  38. Hari Nair, Cinematographer Sham’s Vision, 1996
  39. Harshvardhan Kulkarni,Director Lost & found,2008
  40. Indraneel Lahiri, Cinematograher Aamar Katha, Story of Binodini,2015
  41. Irene Dhar Malik, Editor Celluloid Man, 2013
  42. Jahnu Barua, Director Padma Shri, 2015, Aparoopa, 1983; Halodhia Choraye Bhaodan Khai, 1987; Bonani, 1990; Firingoti, 1992; Xagoroloi Bohu Door, 1995; The Price of Freedom, 1998; And the River Flows, 1999; Ride on the Rainbow, 2003; Baandhon, 2012; Ajeyo, 2013
  43. Jasmin Kaur, Director Saanjh, 2004
  44. Jayakrishna Gummadi, Cinematographer When This Man Dies, 2007
  45. Kamal Swaroop, Director Phalke’s Children; RangBhoomi, 2013
  46. Kaushal Oza,Director Vaishnav Jan Toh:2009,Afterglow:2012
  47. Kavin Jagtiani, Cinematographer Mandrake Mandrake, 2013
  48. K. G. George, Director Swapnadanam, 1975
  49. K.G. Jayan, Cinematographer 18 Elephants- 3 Monologues, 2003
    50. K.R. Mohanan, Director Purushartham, 1987; Swaroopam, 1992;
  50. Kirti Nakhwa, Producer Lost & Found,2008
  51. Krishnanunni ,Audiographer Anandaram:1987, Piravi:1988, Desadanam:1996
  52. Kundan Shah, Director Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron, 1984
  53. Lipika Singh Darai, Sound Recordist Gaarud, 2009; A Tree, A Man, A Sea, 2012; Kankee O Saapo, 2013
  54. Madhu Ambat, Cinematographer Adi Sankaracharya, 1984; Sringaram, 2006; Adaminte Makan Abu, 2010
  55. Mahesh Thottathil, Director Death of a Prodigal Son, 1994
  56. Manisha Dwiwedi,Director Avchetan, 2003
  57. Manoj Kannoth, Editor Stations, 2008
  58. Manoj Nitharwal, Director Seek & Hide, 2015
  59. Manoj Lobo, Cinematographer Girni, 2005
  60. M.P. Sukumaran Nair, Director Sayanam, 2001; Drishtantham, 2007
  61. M.R. Rajan, Director Pakarnnattam, 1997; Ithihasathite Sparsham, 1999; Unarvite Kalam, 1999; Nottam, 2000; Minukku, 2006
  62. Murali, Cinematographer Shyam,Raat,Seher, 2010
  63. Nandan Kudhyadi, Director, Producer C.V. Raman, 1989; Rasayatra, 1995
  64. Nandkumar Kavil, Director Athmeeyam, 1996
  65. Nihar Samal,Sound Designer Tatvam Asi, 1997;
  66. Nilanjan Dutta, Director Bhanga Gara:2007
  67. Nishtha Jain, Director Gulaabi Gang, 2014
  68. Pankaj Purandare, Director Dwija, 2004
  69. Pankaj Seal, Audiographer Matir Bhnar, 1998
  70. Paresh Kamdar, Editor Rasayatra, 1994
  71. P.P. Govindan, Malbarriyum Pattunoolam, 1992
  72. Prashant Naik, Editor Harvest of Hunger, 2004
  73. Prateek Vats, Director Kal 15 August Dukaan Band Rahegi, 2010
  74. Radhakrishnan, Sound Designer Anayam Resulam,2013
  75. Rajat Kapoor, Director Tarana, 1995; Hynothesis, 1998; Raghu Romeo, 2004
  76. Rajeev Ravi, Cinematographer Liar’s Dice, 2013
  77. Ranjan Palit, Cinematographer, Director Voices from Baliapal, 1989; In the Forest Hangs the Bridge, 1998; Kaya Pooch Maya Se, 2003 ; In Camera, 2009
  78. Reena Mohan, Director, Editor Kamlabai 1991; In The Forest Hangs a Bridge, 1998
  79. Renu Sawant, Director Airawat : 2011, Aranyak :2014
  80. Resul Pookutty, Sound Designer Padma Shri, 2010; Keralavarm Pazhissiraja, 2009
  81. Saeed Mirza, Director, Mohan Joshi Hazar Ho, 1984; Naseem, 1996
  82. Saikat S Ray, Editor Hope Dies Last In War, 2007
  83. Sanjiv Shah, Editor Mirch Masala, 1985
  84. Sanju Surendran, Director Kapila, 2014
  85. Sankalp Meshram, Editor, Director Lokpriya, 2000; Chhutkan Ki Mahabharat, 2005; Lasya Kavya- The world of Alarmel Valli, 2012
  86. Santosh Sivan, Cinematographer, Director, Producer Padma Shri, 2014, Story of Tiblu, 1988; Mohiniyattam, 1991; Perumthachan, 1991; Halo, 1996; Kala Paani, 1996; Iruvar, 1998; Malli, 1998; The Terrorist, 1998; Dil Se, 1999; Navarasa, 2004; Prarambha, 2008; Indian Rupee, 2011
  87. Satheesh P.M., Sound Designer Kumar Talkies, 1999
  88. Satya Rai Nagpaul, Cinematographer Anhey Ghorhey Da Daan, 2011
  89. Shabnam Sukhdev, Director The Last Adieu, 2013
  90. Shaji N. Karun, Cinematographer, Director Padma Shri, 2011, Thampu, 1979; Piravi, 1989; Swaham, 1995; Sham’s Vision, 1997; Vanaprastham, 1999; Kutty Srank, 2009
  91. Shanker Raman, Cinematographer, Producer Frozen, 2007; Harud, 2012
  92. Sivaprasad Ormayude Theerangalil
  93. Sourav Sarangi, Director Bilal, 2009; Char: The No-Man’s Island, 2012
  94. Subash Sahoo, Sound Engineer and Designer Omkara, 2007; Kaminey, 2010
  95. Sudhakar Reddy,Director-Cinematographer Ek Akaash, 2003
    97. Sudheer Palsane, Cinematographer Koyad, 2012
  96. Sunil Sukhtankar, Doghi:1996,Devrai:2004
  97. Sunny Joseph, Director Clown and Dog, 1984
    100.Suresh Pai, Editor SNIP!, 2001; Page 3, 2005
    101.Susant Misra, Director Indradhanura Chhaai, 1994; Biswaprakash, 2000
    102.Tathagata Singha, Director Ekti Kaktaliyo Galpo, 2009
    103.Umesh Kulkarni,Director Girni:2004,Three of us :2008,Deool:2011
    104.Unni Vijayan, Director Lessons in Forgetting, 2012
    105.Venu, Cinematographer, Director Amma Ariyan, 1986; Miss Beatty’s Children, 1992; Ponthan Mada, 1993; Daya, 1998
    106.Vinod Sukumaran, Director Diary of a Housewife, 2002
    107.Virendra Saini, Cinematographer, Director Salim Langde Pe Mat Ro, 1990; Kabhi Paas Kabhi Fail, 1999 108.Vivek, Sound Designer Ksha Tra Gya, 2004
    109.V.R. Gopinath, Kooduthal Paal Venamenkil:1983, Unnikuttanu Joli Kitti:1990


110.Aditya Bikram Sengupta Asha Jawar Majhe, 2014
111.Anand Patwardhan, Director Bombay Our City, 1984
112. Anindya Chattopadhyay, lyricist Antaheen, 2008
113. Anirban Dasgupta Shabdo, 2012; Nirbhashito, 2014
114. Aniruddha RoyChowdhury, Producer Anuranan, 2007; Antaheen, 2008
115. Anjali Menon, Dialogue writer Ustad Hotel, 2012
116. Anjan Dutt, Music director Ranjana Aami Aar Ashbo, 2011
117. Anwar Rasheed, best Popular film Ustad Hotel, 2012
118. Aparna Sen, Padma Shri 1987, 36, Chowringhee Lane, 1981; Paroma, 1984; Yugant, 1995; Paromitar Ek din, 2000; Mr. and Mrs. Iyer, 2001; 15, Park Avenue, 2005
119.Asha Achy Joseph, Producer Diary of a Housewife, 2002
120.Asok Dasgupta, Cinematographer The Trail, 1998
121. Ashim Ahluwalia, Director John and Jane, 2007; Miss Lovely, 2014
122. Ayan Bhattacharya, audiographer Tender is the night, 2014
123. Buddhadeb Dasgupta, Producer, Director Bagh Bahadur, 1989 Charachar, 1983 Lal Darja, 1997 Mondo Meyer Upakhyan, 2002 Kaalpurush, 2008 Dooratwa, 1978 Phera, 1987 Tahader Katha, 1993 A Painter of Eloquent Silence: Ganesh Pyne, 1998 Uttara, 2000 Swapner Din, 2005
124. Chandramala Bhattacharya, producer Kahini, 1996
125.C.S.Venkiteswaran, Critic, Director Best Critic, 2002, 2009; Pakarnnattam, 1995
126. Dibakar Banerjee, Director Khosla Ka Ghosla, 2007, Oye Lucky, Lucky Oye, 2009
127. Dipankar Chaki, Sound Designer Shabdo, 2012; Nirbhashito, 2014
128. G.P.Ramachandran, Critic Best Critic, 2006
129. Gayatri Chatterjee, Film Scholar Awara, 1993
130. Geetanjali Thapa, Actress Liars Dice, 2013
131. Hansal Mehta, Director Shahid, 2013
132. I.Shanmugadas, Critic 1999
133. Iram Ghufran, Director, Editor There is Something in the Air, 2011
134. Joshy Mathew, Producer Black Forest
135. Jayaraj, Director, Producer Kaliyattam, 1997 Vellapokkathil – The Deluge, 2007 Vellapokkathil – The Deluge, 2007 Desadanam, 1996 Shantham, 2000 Daivanamathil, 2005 Ottal, 2014
136. Kamal Perumazhakkalam, 2004 Karutha Pakshikal, 2006; Celluloid, 2012
137. K.P. Kumaran, Director Rugmani, 1988
138. K.R. Manoj, Director A Pestering Journey, 2011
139. Kavitha Lankesh, Director Deeveri, 2000; Preethi, Prema, Pranya, 2004
140. M.Manikandan, director Kakka Muttai, 2014
141. Madhu Iravankara, writer 1999, best book on cinema
142. Malay Bhattacharya, Director Kahini, 1996
143. Mani Ratnam Padma Shri, 2002; Mouna Ragam, 1986 Geethanjali, 1989 Anjali, 1990 Roja, 1992 Bombay, 1995 Kannathil Muthamittal
144. Nagraj Manjule, director Fandry, 2013
145. Nandan Saxena, Director Cotton for my shroud 2011; Candles in the wind, 2013, I cannot give you my Forest, 2014
146. Neel Dutt, music Director Ranjana Aami Aar Ashbo, 2011
147.Nilanjan Bhattacharya, Producer Under This Sun, 2005; Johar: Welcome to our World
148.Nirmal Chander, Director Dreaming Tajmahal, 2012
149. Onir, Director I Am, 2012
150.Parthapratim Barman, sound designer Bishar Blues, 2008
151. Pradip Krishen, Director In Which Annie Gives It Those ones, 1989; Electric Moon, 1992
152. Priyanandanan, Producer Pulijanmam, 2006
153. Pradipto Bhattacharya, producer Bakita Byaktigoto, 2013
154. Rajeev Nath, Director Janani, 1998
155. Revathi, Actress, Producer Thevar Magan, 1992; Mitr, My Friend, 2002; Red Building Where the Sun Sets, 2011 156. Rakesh Sharma, Director Final Solution, 2006
157. Ranjith, Producer Spirit, 2012 Thirakkatha, 2008 Indian Rupee, 2011
158. Ranajit Ray, director Documentation of clay images of Kumartuli
159.Rinku R. Thomas, Director Timbaktu, 2012
160.Sabarni Das, Costume Designer Jatishwar, 2010
161. Salim Ahmed, Producer Adaminte Makan Abu, 2011
162. Sabu Cyril, production designer Thenmavin Kombath, 1994; Kaalapani, 1995; Om Shanti Om, 2007; Enthiran, 2010
163. Sanjay Kak, Director In the Forest Hangs a Bridge, 1999
164. Sarbajit Sen, producer Painting in Time, 1995
165. Sathyan Anthikkad Kochu Kochu Santhoshangal, 2001
166. Sibi Malayil, Producer Kanakkinavu, 1997; Aakasadoothu, 1994; Doore Doore Koodu Koottam, 1987
167. Shajith Koyeri, Sound Designer Omkara, 2006
168. Sidhartha Siva, Director 101 Chodyangal, 2013; Ain, 2014
169. Somnath Gupta, Director Aami Aadu, 2011
170. Sreekar Prasad, Editor Raakh, 1989 Rag Birag, 1997 Nauka Caritramu, 1997 The Terrorist, 1998 Vaanaprastham, 2000 Kannathil Muthamittal, 2002 Kutty Srank; Kaminey Keralavarma Pazhassiraja
171. Srijit Mukherjee, Director, Screen play writer Chotushkone, 2014
172. Subhodeep Sengupta, sound designer Chitrasutram, 2010
173. Suja Kulangara An encounter with a life living, 2004
174. Sudipta Chakraborty, Actress Bariwali, 2000
175. Sumon Mukhopadhyay, Director Herbert, 2005
176. Sunil Shanbag, Producer Maihar Raag, 1994
177. Supriyo Sen, Producer Nest, 2000; Way Back Home, 2003; Hope Dies Last in War, 2007
178.T.V.Chandran, Producer Ponthan Mada, 1993; Ormakal Undayirikkanam, 1995; Mangamma, 1997; Dany, 2001; Paadam Onnu: Oru Vilapam, 2003; Aadum Koothu, 2005
179. T.K.Rajeevkumar, Producer Jalamarmaram, 2000
180. Tarun Bhartiya, Editor In Camera, 2010
181. V.K.Joseph, Critic Best Critic, 2007
182. Veenu Bhushan Vaid, Director Eka Gacha, Eka Mainsha, Eka Samudra, 201

  • S Thiyagarajan

    Contrary to their assertion, the PUBLIC AT LARGE is not at all bothered about the FTII issue. They can as well send a similar letter or visit the FTII campus and convince the students about the unreasonableness of their outrageous demands. They should tell the students that the chairmanship of the institute is not their concern and they should concentrate on their studies and complete their studies within the stipulated time. They should impress on them about the illegality of detaining an elderly director for severeal hours withut even permitting him to use the toilet. To tell them not to politicise the issue by inviting and listening to all sorts of fringe politicians. To tell the students that they have been in the habit of going on strike all along and this strike No. 40 is hugely unnecessary. they should insist that Mr.Chouhan should be given a reasonable chance before condemning him. All these eminent people should have done this at the first place before writing directly to the President. Are they afraid of telling all these things to the students?


      hey moron…studying cinema means studying the world around…no cinema can be taught only in the classrooms alone…your attitude betrays your posture of neutrality.they are fighting exactly against such mindset…

  • Hi All,
    This is indeed a great initiative and an urgent need of the hour!
    I received this notification via John Dayal’s Facebook page.
    Thanks John for sharing this.
    All good wishes to the people involved in this.
    Have a profitable day.
    Best Regards
    ~ Philip

  • Vijay A

    Great and objective letter – Long Live Indian Democracy!! Govts heavy handed nonchalant stand is disappointing indeed..