The days of speculation have finally comes to an end when Ministry of I&B (Information and Broadcasting) appointed a new director for the elite Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) replacing D. J. Narain. The man appointed is Prashant Pathrabe, former director of National Film Archives of India.
Mr. Pathrabe is taking the charge at a juncture of great turmoil faced by one of the most prestigious institutes of the nation. FTII was hit by an indefinite strike by students of the institute who were agitated against the decision of appointing a TV actor who turned politician lately, Gajendra Chauhan as the acting chairman of FTII governing body.
Mr. Pathrabe, a student of IIMA, was director of the Press Information Bureau in Pune and Director of NFAI before achieving his post as the Director of FTII. In 1993, he was also a part of Indian Information Service.
The former director of FTII, Mr. Narain has an all rounding history. Narain, an ex-student of IIT Kharagpur, attended the prestigious Institute of Technology in 1990 as a part of Indian Information Service. He also is a member of a rock-pop band named, “The Aryans”. Mr. Narain took over as the Director of FTII in July of 2011 and his post was further extended to July 2015.
As reliable sources inform, the ministry believed that Narain was unable to control the situation strictly and let it go out of hand resulting more turmoil. Hence the ministry was unsure of him in the directorial post. Recently a notice was issued by the Director warning students to terminate the strike.
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After further deterioration of the situation, Mr. Narain was forced to take strict action against the protesting students. He issued a strong warning to the students to stop with their protest and said if they don’t they will have to face serious administrative action which might result in rustication of some.
The students defying this notification seem to go further with their protest and they stand with their demand of immediate revocation of the appointment of Mr. Chauhan, who they believe to be unfit for the post. They stated their beliefs in detail saying that the governing body is being contaminated with mediocrity and political party agendas lacking vision in artistic ideas.
The strike drama of FTII took another turn when FTII registrar, U.C. Bodake had written a letter to I&B Ministry regarding the ‘increasing indiscipline’ on the FTII campus. He added to his letter of complaint that these recent years have brought shirking of reputation to the institute like no other years.
In the mean time, a third group of technical and ex-FTII employees have established a forum named “Save FTII”. This group has also requested the students to call off their strike.