Stop Repressing FTII Students, Say Filmmakers to Government

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A group of filmmakers and scholars have written a letter written to Arun Jaitley, Minister for Information & Broadcasting, Rajyavardhan Rathore, minister of state for I & B and C. Senthil Rajan, Director of Film Festivals condemning the manner in which students of the Film and Television Institute of India have been treated at the International Film Festival of India currently going on in Goa. They have pointed out that ex-students have been arrested for protesting and one student was even put in preventive detention. The letter reads:

Respected Sirs,

As members of the filmmaking fraternity and well-wishers of cinema in India, we would like to place on record our solidarity with the students of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), and our anguish at the way they continue to be treated by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and its various departments. How the Directorate of Film Festivals of India has behaved with these students at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) 2015, currently underway in Goa is an example of this. From ex-students being arrested for exercising their democratic right to protest and false charges being framed against them, to being denied entry into the festival despite valid accreditation simply because they happen to be from FTII, to a student being put in preventive detention – these are measures that have nothing to do with the objectives that IFFI was set up for.

This year, the student package of films at IFFI has also been scrapped, the official reason being given for this is to have more slots available for repeat screenings of films. However, recent events lead us to believe that the decision clearly has to do with the 139 days protest that was led by the FTII students against the current government. The scrapping of the student package affects film students across the country and not just FTII, and is an act that is against the interests of the entire student community.

Students from the premier film institute of the country have a right to attend the International Film Festival of India – to get an opportunity to watch, interact and have conversations about their practice with the larger filmmaking community. By making it difficult to attend the festival, the authorities are in effect preventing the students from exercising their right to access education. This, to our mind, is the complete antithesis of what the International Film Festival of India stands for.

It is also condemnable that Section 144 has been imposed around the festival venue, and delegates at the festival are being unduly harassed for expressing their solidarity with the students.

We, the undersigned, strongly condemn the harsh measures that are being taken to stifle the participation of the student community at IFFI and demand that the students from the Film and Television Institute of India be allowed to participate in the festival, as it is their democratic right to do so. We also demand the dropping of charges against the two ex-students. We also demand that all cases filed against FTII students be withdrawn by the government. We, as a community of filmmakers stand behind the students of the FTII in their larger struggle.


Aditya Seth

Amar Kanwar

Amit Mahanti

Amrita Dasgupta

Amudhan R.P.

Anand Patwardhan

Ani Thomas

Anjali Bhushan

Anjali Panjabi

Anjali Monteiro

Anupama Srinivasan

Aparna Sanyal

Arghya Basu

Asheesh Pandya

Ashim Ahluwalia

Avijit Mukul Kishore

Batul Mukhtiar

Christopher Rego

Daljit Ami

Debalina Majumder

Deepa Dhanraj

Dylan Mohan Gray

Fathima Nizaruddin

Gautam Sonti

Geetha J

Iffat Fatima

Iram Ghufran

Karan Bali

Kavita Joshi


Lalit Vachani

Leena Manimekalai

Madhusree Dutta

Merajur Rahman Baruah

Moinak Biswas

Navroze Contractor

Nirmal Chander

Nishtha Jain

Nitin K. Pamnani

Pankaj Butalia

Paromita Vohra

Pinky Brahma Choudhury

Prateek Vats

Priti Chandriani

Priyanka Chhabra

Rahul Roy

Rajula Shah

Rakesh Sharma


Ranjan De

Ranjani Mazumdar

Rashmi Sawhney

Reena Mohan

Rita Banerji

Ruchika Negi

R.V. Ramani

Saagar Gupta

Saba Dewan

Sabeena Gadihoke

Sabina Kidwai

Sameera Jain

Samina Mishra

Sandhya Kumar

Sanjay Barnela

Sanjay Joshi

Sanjay Kak

Sanju Surendran

Shabani Hassanwalia

Shirley Abraham

Shobhit Jain

Shohini Ghosh

Shoma A. Chatterji

Smriti Nevatia

Sourav Sarangi

Sreemith Sekhar

Sridhar Rangayan

Subasri Krishnan

Sunanda Bhat

Supriyo Sen

Surabhi Sharma

Sushma Veerappa

Tangella Madhavi

Tarun Bhartiya

Usha Rao

Vani Subramanian

Yashodara Udupa

Yousuf Saeed

Categories: Cinema, Dissent

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  • S.Thiyagarajan

    The organisers of the IFFI have got a duty and obligation to conduct the festival in an exemplary and peaceful way. The claim of the authors that they have got a right to protest at the venue is not acceptable. It is the students that are not getting out of the hangover of protest against imaginary grievances. Why should they come all the way from Pune just to protest when the matter has been settled amicably and the willing students have started attending classes. Their only aim is to create trouble which will attract the attention of international film fraternity. The organisers have done well to nip in the bud the trouble mongers. The FTII students will do well to complete their projects which are pending for more than 7 years and get out of the college and pursue their profession, instead of trying to create trouble all over the places. Their troubling reputation will not stand them in good stead and many of the signatories will themselves think many times before giving them any assignment, if at all. You cannot achieve anything by being eternal trouble mongers. Only your academic and professional credentials and your reputation will help you in your life and not these people.