Ready to discuss issues: Kher on FTII students’ open letter

Mumbai: The newly-appointed chairman of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Anupam Kher, says he was on board to discuss the issues and problems faced by the students, as highlighted in their open letter to him.

The 62-year-old veteran actor was on Wednesday appointed the chief of the Pune-based FTII, an autonomous body under the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

The students of FTII yesterday wrote an open letter to Kher, voicing their opposition to some short-term courses started by the prestigious acting school and drawing his attention to a slew of other issues being faced by them.

The FTII was founded with an aim to impart learning on different aspects of filmmaking, but it is now slowly being turned into a school that runs short-term crash courses for “generation of funds”, the letter stated.

“Whatever I have to discuss, I would love to discuss it with the students over there. I am like their senior. I was a student there in 1978 and now, 38 years later I will go there as a chairman,” Kher told reporters here last night.

“So, I think it is a great time to celebrate but I am not going there with any baggage or any preconceived idea that I have to tell them this or that,” he said.

“Today’s youth can teach a lot to an actor and a personality like me. We will sit across, we will talk about it and we will take this great institution to greater heights,” Kher further said.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the opening ceremony of the Jio MAMI 19th Mumbai Film Festival here.

The letter, signed by FTII Students Association (FSA) president Robin Joy and general secretary Rohit Kumar, read, “We sincerely believe the short-term courses being run (by FTII) can’t impart knowledge on filmmaking in such a short duration.”

A government institute that exists to provide education to students from all sections of the society should not be driven by the agenda of funds generation, which currently seems to be the aim of such short-term courses, the students’ association alleged.

In the letter, the FSA took objection to events like Foundation Day and Open Day started by the institute and stated that over the past one year, the administration had spent “large amounts” of money on such events.

“We, students, believe the amount of money being spent on lights, erecting set pieces in front of the campus can be spent on the infrastructure and in buying and repairing equipment which would only help us in finishing our projects on time,” the students said.

Expressing apprehension on the implementation of the new syllabus, the FSA said there is a confusion among the faculties on the new credit-based semester system (which replaced the earlier annual assessment system).

“Being aware of Mr Kher’s association and activities in the past two to three years, we are asking him some questions through this letter and curious to know his take on them,” said Joy.

Earlier, the students’ body, while questioning Kher’s appointment as the FTII chairman, had alleged there was a “conflict of interest” as the actor ran his own acting school.

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