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Feel proud I was chairman when Payal Kapadia was studying at FTII: Gajendra Chauhan

Feel happy that I was chairman when Payal Kapadia was studying at FTII. Gajendra Chauhan

NEW DELHI Gajendra Chauhan, an actor and politician, congratulated Cannes winner Payal Kapadia on Tuesday, saying he is proud of the director, who studied at the institute while he was its chairman.

Kapadia became the first Indian filmmaker to receive the Grand Prix, the second highest award at the 77th Cannes Film Festival, for her Malayalam-Hindi feature film “All We Imagine As Light” last week.

Kapadia was one of the students that went on strike in 2015 to protest Chauhan’s selection as chairwoman of the Film and Television Institute of India, situated in Pune.

Congratulations to her and I feel proud that I was the chairman at the time when she was doing the course there,” Chauhan stated to PTI.

When asked what he wanted to say about Kapadia, who challenged his selection, the “Mahabharat” actor responded, “She has never said anything about me. “What can I say then?”

According to protesting students, Chauhan lacked the vision and grandeur of previous chairmen of the FTII governing council, and his selection appeared “politically motivated.”

During the 139-day strike, the students allegedly gheraoed and confined then-FTII Director Prashant Pathrabe to his office over academic difficulties. This resulted in the police entering the campus and detaining some of the demonstrators.

Chauhan, who served as chairperson from January 7, 2016 until March 2, 2017, stated the protest was not directed at him.

“That protest was not against me, but against the director and the administration. I was appointed by the Indian government. I did a lot of work at FTII, and the media never covered any of it,” he said.

The FTII chairperson is nominated by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Currently, actor R Madhavan occupies the position.

Chauhan stated that he was not fired or resigned from his position.

“I was never fired; I finished my tenure. “Some say Gajendra Chauhan resigned; I never resigned,” he stated.

In 2015, 35 students, including Kapadia, were charged under Indian Penal Code sections 143, 147, 149, 323, 353 and 506, which dealt with non-bailable offenses such as illegal assembly, criminal intimidation, and rioting.

The filmmaker’s documentary “A Night of Knowing Nothing” showed the protests at FTII.

Kapadia’s film “All We Imagine As Light” is the first Indian film to be selected for the Cannes main competition in 30 years, the previous being Shaji N Karun’s 1994 Malayalam film “Swaham”.



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