Calm dialogue the only way to end FTII deadlock

What started out as just another appointment of the FTII (Film and Television Institute of India) chairman has now become a potboiler with political agenda, melodrama, violence, and everything in between thrown in.

The government had obviously not anticipated this kind of reaction, snowballing into almost a national agitation, when they announced Gajendra Chauhan as the new chairman for the prestigious film school. The students not only protested but also took the matter to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry. Much to their dismay, the talks apparently failed and things got worse when Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi decided to jump into the fray.

The matter came to a furious boil late on Tuesday night, when five students were arrested from the campus for forcibly detaining the director of the institute, Prashant Pathrabe, because he was following the government’s new diktat that the 2008-batch students still residing in the hostel must now submit their projects. Almost the entire industry (at least those who are vocal about social issues), are standing by the students, demanding that Chauhan be asked to leave the post.

While one does support the cause — the students do have every right to question the credibility of a superior chosen — their aggressiveness in going about proving their point is definitely debatable.

While supporters claim that this is the students’ desperate way of getting their plea heard, dissenters are of the opinion that the FTII students have been resorting to violence and hooliganism quite often. The institute’s student union boasts of almost 40 strikes till now.

Instead, a dialogue sans ego and force from either party might lead to an amicable solution to this situation, which now seems to have reached a dead end.

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