[Reader-list] Save Film and Television Institute of India

anupam chakravartty c.anupam at gmail.com
Sun Nov 14 17:22:04 IST 2010


To:  I&B Ministry, India

Picture this - The death of FTII

Over the past fifty years, FTII has proved to be a central pillar in the
evolution of Indian cinema, as we know it. With their continued contribution
to mainstream as well as regional cinema, the alumnus of the Institute has
ensured that FTII is recognized as a national center for film education and

Set up in 1961 with the aim of promoting good alternative cinema and setting
new standards in film-making both aesthetically and technically, the
institute has provided free space for thinking and learning to generations
of would be film-makers. Over and above setting critical benchmarks for the
film industry while nourishing it with highly professional and focused
people, specialised in various aspects of film-making, FTII resonates in the
halls of World Cinema with it�s sensitive understanding of life and film as
a post-industrial art practice. . Along with the National Film Archives of
India (NFAI), the Films Division and the National Film Development
Corporation (NFDC), it has played a crucial role in the creation,
preservation and propagation of our cross cultural heritage through the
medium of Cinema.

All this had been made possible by our love for socio-aesthetic experience
of life translating through the Government ensuring pluralistic democracy,
celebrating varied shades of our interlinked racial memories. FTII has been
unique in the world amongst all film schools, providing equal /
non-discriminating and ample scope for experimentation and exploration,
encouraging independent tendencies that challenge the conventional and
perpetuate change. FTII�s emotional quotient, and fabric have attracted
students from various socio-economic and cultural backgrounds. It�s dynamism
and richness are reflected in their work and concerns. Over the years, the
students of this institute have contributed to and excelled in the various
creative and technical aspects of Indian cinema � both as practitioners as
well as scholars. The excellent collection of films at the National Film
Archives has acted as a rich resource for learning. The two institutes have
together been a crucible for nurturing talent.

However, following a press report published by a PTI source mentioned FTII
being re modeled as a Public Private Partnership (PPP) regarding the same, a
draft report prepared by Hewitt Associates, Gurgaon, appointed by no less
than the ministry apparently, proposes an embarrassing and ridiculous �up
gradation of FTII to international standards�. The said report strongly
advocates the launching of a number of exorbitantly priced, �industry
oriented�, short terms courses to make the institute profit generating. The
report clearly lays a blue print, which will ensure that in due course of
time; the Government can withdraw all support, read responsibility, from the

Mahatma Gandhi had observed, the real difficulty is that people have no idea
of what education truly is. We assess the value of education in the same
manner as we assess the value of land or of shares in the stock exchange
Also mounting over the past five decades, market forces have plagued the
institute regularly. Almost in apology of FTII�s founding Nehruvian plan,
various governments have, on more occasion than one, shown active interest
to withdraw its support from the running of the institute. Crisis is not a
stranger to us. This could only happen once academic interests become slaves
to a numb blindness and indifference parading in the name of marketability.
Cynical opportunism and shortsightedness prefer instant lotteries to lasting
values. Constant hikes in the fee structure and recent trend of launching
exorbitantly priced short term, �industry oriented� courses without any
corresponding increase in the physical and intellectual infrastructure, are
cases in point...in recent times, repeated attempts have been made to change
/ re-cast the independence, concerns, structure and functioning of the
institute. The crumbling global-ised economy, its gambles and disasters have
only pressed on harder to turn the institute into a mere profit machine. We
are witness today to a complete subversion of FTII, its imminent the
cultural death like most counterparts across the country. The students, with
the continuous support of the alumni, filmmakers, artistes, academicians
etc. have been resisting this mindset of the ministry towards FTII.

We feel that if the recommendations of the DPR are accepted then FTII will
cater only to a certain set of people � those who can afford it, making it
exclusive and homogeneous, eliminating any of the plurality and diversity in
creativity. Skills will be given precedence, and people will be �trained�
for the job market rather than organic professionals looking at cinema also
as an art and not just a craft. From being an art school which encourages
plurality of cinema, FTII shall be relegated to being a facilitator in
providing skilled labor for an assembly line production system. It will be
designed and constructed as an institution along the lines of a profit
making, giving no room for experimentation, or space to redefine the
boundaries of film making. How will it grow? It will remain stunted. This
fundamental alteration in the moral fabric of the institute will, we fear,
mark the end of FTII and what it has stood It seems ironical that this is
being pushed through at a time when the Deputy Chairman of the Planning
commission, Mr.Montek Singh Alhuwalia himself has admitted that PPP�s have
not delivered much in the Health and Education sectors. Despite this, the
Government is bent on shying away from its commitment to education and is
seeking to privatize most educational institutes and is withdrawing
financial support from them. The crisis faced by FTII is symptomatic of the
onslaught on higher education throughout the country.

This is a matter of growing concern for us as students, especially because
this Institute is one of its kinds in the country, which is able to draw out
creative people from different parts of the country.

�What is the purpose of higher education and its faculties In the light of
the current assault on young people ,especially since it is education that
provides the intellectual foundation and values for young people to
understand ,interrogate and transform the when necessary the world in which
they live? Matters of popular consciousness, public sentiment and individual
and social agency are far too important as part of a larger political and
educational struggle not too to be taken seriously by academics who advocate
the long and difficult project of democratic reform�
Prof. Henry A Giroux
In �Youth Beyond The Politics of Hope�

We appeal to all concerned individuals, artists, filmmakers, thinkers,
academicians, students and supporters of FTII, to please back our endeavors
and show their concern by signing this petition. Hoping for support in large

Students of FTII


The Undersigned <http://www.petitiononline.com/mod_perl/signed.cgi?ftii>

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