Culture

Why Strike, Dear Students of FTII, When an Incredible India Awaits You?

A noted director writes an open letter to the students of the Film and Television Institute of India

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Dear Students of FTII,

Why are you on strike? Why are you not attending your classes? Don’t you have a reputation for going on strike at the slightest provocation? Don’t you realise that your institution needs change?

Your chairperson is an eminent member of the film and television industry with many notable films, 700 television serials including an iconic portrayal as Yudhisthir. He has 20 years of administrative experience with the film industry. Besides his enviable track record he is also a member of the ruling party. He is a nationalist. He believes that films with a good message make for good cinema. He has been appointed by a government that promises ‘achchhe din’. I am telling you dear silly students, Gajendra Chauhan is the man.

My dear students, you are living in a bubble. Your seniors from the institute were also living in a delusionary world. They were pretending to be inspired by the likes of DeSica, Truffaut, Goddard, Tarkovsky, Fellini, Ray. What use is Truffaut or Goddard or Fellini when your films cannot earn even a fraction of what Chauhan’s illustrious films have earned? Guys, you need a reality check. And Chauhan is the man to give you that. The truth is that you have been force-fed a diet of films made by commies and made to believe that this was cinema. Why? Because your institute was governed by commies like Saeed Mirza and his ilk. These commies are depressing people who make depressing films about the human condition. Nobody watches their films.

Friends, change is around the corner. Embrace it. We have a new government. We have the promise of a new, incredible India. We are now a country run by proud nationalists. Your cinema must reflect this new nationalism. The new wave of Indian cinema will emerge from the nationalistic cinema espoused by Chauhan and the sensible members of the FTII society who have not resigned their posts. Forget losers like Jahnu Barua, Pallavi Joshi and Santosh Sivan who resigned from the council. They are simply not cut out for the transformation that you are so stupidly depriving yourselves of. They have been part of some depressing films and their work deserves to be condemned. Ever wondered why the government appointed them to your society in the first place? I’ll tell you why. This government is very fair. They believe in equal representation. Unfortunately, none of you realise it. You have been blinded by the propaganda of the Left, without realising that the pot of gold is actually to be found on the Right.

You find my reasoning warped? Then learn from some of your illustrious seniors and industry leaders. They protested against the appointment of Pahlaj Nihalani as censor board chief. At a meeting held in Delhi and an austere Mumbai five-star hotel, the good minister assured these wise men (and women) that ‘all ijj well’. Nihalani is still the CBFC chairperson and really all is very, very well. What did you tell the minister in Delhi when he gave you precious minutes of his time? Why do you tick people off? Learn from your seniors. Capitulate to force, surrender to nationalism and you will reap the benefits of this new, free Bharat. Communism is long dead. Prostrate or perish.

Mukesh ‘Shaktimaan’ Khanna is the Children’s Film Society of India chairperson and he is going to transform children’s films in the country. He is also a worthy supporter of the ruling party and distinguished alumnus of FTII. Listen to him, he is inspirational. He wants you to accept this appointment and move on with your academic work. If you do not like this appointment you live in a democracy. You have every right to leave this institution. Understand and hang on to every word Shaktimaan says. Or perish.

I’ve watched your shallow defence of your unjustified cause on national television. A senior member of the film industry was right when he said that your institution has gone to the dogs in the past 10 years or so. Your institute has unleashed rubbish all these years – all in the name of art. When a democratically elected government with a sweeping majority recruits a person to steer you into the new world, you resist. They must be right. Because you are wrong.

Come on guys, chase that pot of gold. Achchhe din await you.

Jai Hind.

Hansal Mehta

Hansal Mehta is a television and film director who has not studied at FTII. Among his films are the sex-comedy Yeh Kya Ho Raha Hai, the unreleased Raakh, the unreleased Anjaan and the released Woodstock Villa. Among his other films are Dil Pe Mat Le Yaar, Shahid, Citylights and the yet to be released Aligarh. He spends most of his time making movies for himself and in his free time writes open letters that deal with closed issues.

Featured image credit: icultist/Flickr cc 2.0

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  • shekhar

    700 serials? Like his mentors, Mr. Chavan seems to be adept at twisting truth abd saying 1 episode equals 1 serial.

    • GumnaamStyle

      I think you did not see the sarcasm part, sir!

  • Indra Kumar
    • Rajan

      Well have we Indians got hooked to the business model which is ‘how many?’ and not ‘what quality?’. The issue is not of left or right but the quality and the professional competence of the director/chairperson. Her/ his background reflected on the CV is as important.We can see this trend of ‘how many?’ of any kind of superficial work with appointments to university posts too. While I do not blame the incumbent government alone for such a bad model of dealing with academic standards and think that the last government was responsible for putting it in place this government has fiddled with the traditions of understanding what is truly academic. They have tried and been successful in the state of Gujarat to drum down academics. Not their fault there they are businessmen following the buying and selling model. But that does not work with an academic institution.

      The academic institution has to be ,’not for profit nor for gain’. It will perhaps take a century for the incumbent government to have this as a value as it is not a part of their value system. By then it will be more profitable to keep the degree shops running without quality but with superfice. This will take its toll on the country and the nation will, ironically our so called majortarian government which markets itself as a nationalistic party, would perhaps not even be there to assess the damage to the nation by that point of time. Well I would like to think of my self more nationalist than the nationalists and am genuinely worried by this disturbing trend that is afflicting academic and national institutes by putting a kind of ‘lumpen’ element (thanks to the Marxists I have the terminology to talk of what has become the condition of the incumbent government and Marxist parties too) to fill posts that require much more than people who we see technically suited for the post with the minimum of so called technical qualifications.

      What of course we can notice with this government is that even these minimum technical standards are not maintained and party loyalty is more than loyalty to the nation which is a larger and more complex phenomenon. The FTII students by their resolute strike have symbolically placed before the nation this terrible anomaly that is getting to be an Indian disease like corruption and soon no one will be shocked by it! By then the damage done will be irreparable!

  • tushar

    A nationalist is always better than a diehard antinational commie. Because he loves his country its people and its culture. That will make his decisions better. And the type of negative movies made in the name of art cinema which continues for long what purpose do they serve .

  • Joy Chakraborty

    hansal mehta- proud gujju 😛

  • Adeep Tandon

    Any fool can criticize,condemn and complain,and most fools do. I am NOT supporting Gajendra Chauhan AT ALL,because he has ALREADY exposed his incompetence on camera.I would just like to ask,can anyone PLEASE give the track record of all the previous Chairpersons and what did they do to further the cause of the Institute & the students? Yes, some of them were commies & it payed them RICH dividents being one & they are living the REGAL life under the garb of FAKE communism.It’s also a FASHON to rebuke & ridicule anything HINDU or even vaguely connected to Hinduism.Is it a crime to talk of Hinduism in a Hindu majority country? And Why bring in the name of the PM in every matter when there are other concerned ministers to do their respective jobs? Just because he declared that he is a Hindu & a Nationalist,does it make him guilty of ALL the ills plagueing the country till date? Your sarcasm smacks of utter arrogance & ego.No one has the right to deface the institute premises UNDER ANY PRETEX ,strike or no strike.This thing has to be told to the students that by their this behaviour they have lost lot of sympathy of those people who where in their favour.There were lots of self-centered chairperson in previous years who did NOTHING and yet they are being praised,WHY? Because they were congress appointees? For God sake DON’T bring BJP & congress & make it a duel of these parties,I am also a graduate of the Institute & care a damn whosoever’s govt.is at the centre.I am only CONCERNED about the Institute’s prestige which has taken a heavy toll in the fight between the left & the right.The institute should be absolutely NEUTRAL, it has produced all kinds of filmmakers,arty as well as commercial & we are proud of the achievements of all.Students will come & go it’s the INSTITUTE which shall remain.We CAN”T afford to lose such a great institution at any cost and we must try to bring back it’s glory rather than get into nitpicking & blaming game.

  • Gagan Jain

    This is a sarcasm guys..Hansal Mehta also oppose Gajendra’s appointment. 😀