The government has named a new chief of the prestigious Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) and it has left the film industry shocked and surprised. BJP member and television actor Gajendra Chauhan who played Yudhisthir in B.R. Chopra’s epic TV series Mahabharat will be the new president of the institute.
Chauhan has had no association with the institute, neither as a student nor a faculty. He has been associated with the BJP for over 20 years but became an official member in 2004 and had campaigned extensively for the party in Haryana during the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections last year.
Agencies quoted producer Mukesh Bhatt as saying, “The FTII once produced gems of actors and directors who have been gifts to the Indian film industry. It is sad that appointments now are only about extending political largesse.”
FTII has produced stalwarts like Shatrughan Sinha, Subhash Ghai, Sudhir Mishra, Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, Prakash Jha, Shabana Azmi and Rajkumar Hirani. In recent years, however, it has not been attracting quality faculty.