FTII Stalls Shooting of Student Film Project By Acclaimed Director

FTII says that Gurvinder Singh violated the shooting norms given to him, while Singh says this comes in the wake of his support of a suspended student.

The shooting of a diploma film project directed by an acclaimed Punjabi filmmaker has been stalled by authorities of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), with allegations that the director violated the ‘shooting ratio’.

Gurvinder Singh, director of Chauthi Koot, is an alumnus of FTII and has been critical of the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as the institute’s chairman as well as of the policies of the Union government. He also supported an acting student who was suspended for supposedly sending an abusive letter to Tom Alter, head of the acting department.

FTII is producing a one-hour feature film instead of the usual two 30-minute short films for the 12 students of the 2013 batch, making the project an unusual one. It was believed that Singh’s with the project also made it one which would launch the careers of the students working on it.

Although FTII has said that the film’s shooting was stalled due to the crew violating a 1:6 shooting ratio norm, as they shot 390 minutes for 30 minutes of footage, Singh says it was because he supported suspended student Shardul Bharadwaj, the Indian Express reports. He claims the shooting ratio norm was not in the contract he signed and he was informed of it only in November last year, in the middle of the first shooting schedule.

Singh told the Indian Express that he tried his best to persuade the FTII authorities to allow him to go ahead with the shoot of the second schedule, as the alleged over-shooting did not have any budgetary repercussions, and that they even agreed to delete the extra footage.

Bharadwaj was removed from the film’s cast after being suspended, but Singh had sent him an email saying he could participate in the film should the high court allow him to do so. When the high court allowed him to be a part of the film, the crew shot with Bharadwaj without the institute’s knowledge – which Singh says angered the administration.

FTII director Bhupendra Kainthola has, however, denied Singh’s allegations, saying that the norms governing film production were given to Singh but he went ahead and deliberately violated them. He claims that Singh could have controlled the situation had he wanted to when he was issued a notice on the third day of shooting.

Students who were involved in the film have said this set back could cause them to suffer academically and that this incident may deter other filmmakers from working with the institute on projects, Indian Express reported.

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