Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore defends Gajendra Chauhan's selection as FTII chief

Claims Minister of State (MoS) for Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, while defending the Centre’s selection of Gajendra Chauhan as FTII chief over icons like Amitabh Bachchan and Rajnikanth, among others

New Delhi: The Centre yesterday defended appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as the head of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), saying it wanted someone who could devote time to the premier institute.

Also read: FTII chairman Gajendra Chauhan should voluntarily retire, says Rishi Kapoor

Rathore’s justification for selecting Chauhan (above) as the FTII chief comes amidst reports that among the potential names suggested for the position of FTII chairman included icons like Amitabh Bachchan and Rajnikanth as well. In addition, the names of filmmakers Gulzar, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, and Shyam Benegal were also under the consideration of the I&B ministry, claimed sources. File pics
Rathore’s justification for selecting Chauhan (above) as the FTII chief comes amidst reports that among the potential names suggested for the position of FTII chairman included icons like Amitabh Bachchan and Rajnikanth as well. In addition, the names of filmmakers Gulzar, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, and Shyam Benegal were also under the consideration of the I&B ministry, claimed sources. File pics

“The government wanted the Governing Council, including the chairman, to be people who could commit time for the development of the institute,” Minister of State (MoS) for Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore told reporters here.

Rathore’s comments came amidst reports that among the potential names suggested for the position of FTII chairman included icons like Amitabh Bachchan and Rajnikanth as well. Significantly, the names of filmmakers Gulzar, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, and Shyam Benegal were also under the consideration of the I&B ministry, claimed sources.

Meanwhile, a senior ministry functionary said, “It was felt that while Chauhan may not be the tallest of all names suggested, he certainly met all the requirements, including willingness to give time generously. If people like Bachchan or Rajnikanth would like to run FTII, there was no objection.

But only those names, who it was felt could devote enough time to thoroughly focus on the job, were shortlisted,” adding that another factor was the willingness to take up the job, indicating that some prominent names were not keen. The official also rubbished suggestions of differences between I&B Minister Arun Jaitley and MoS Rathore on the matter.

Other officials denied that Chauhan’s nomination was an attempt at ‘saffronisation’ and that the RSS was involved in decision-making, and claimed the members on the FTII council were chosen from diverse backgrounds. Citing another reason for choosing Chauhan, an official source said it was felt that some difficult decisions were needed, which an alumni may not be comfortable in taking.

Watch video: Ranbir Kapoor comes out in support of students in FTII row

Joining those supporting the agitating FTII students on their demand for removal of Chauhan as the institute’s chief, veteran actor Rishi Kapoor said he should not fight for his post but step down as students “are not able to look up to him.”

“Don’t fight for it, don’t force yourself into the post...I am not doubting anybody’s capabilities. You cannot impose yourself. A chief commands respect and I feel bad for him. I think he should step down,” Kapoor told reporters in Mumbai.

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