While fellow-actors have come out in full support of Anupam Kher’s appointment as the new chairperson of the Film & Television Institute of India (FTII), filmmaker and industry spokesperson Ashok Pandit has goes full blast against the section of the student community and of the FTII which has spoken against Anupam’s appointment.
“These are professional protesters who would oppose any move of the government, no matter how wise or sensible, because they are paid to protest,” lashes out Pundit deriding the culture of Page 3 activism. “I’ve seen the hypocrisy of our country’s anti-establishment brigade. As a Kashmiri Pundit I’ve seen how news of the brutal slaying of people from my community made negligible inside-news while every time a Kashmiri militant dies it is a screaming headline. Why? Because there is no money in talking about Kashmiri Pundits. Those who are protesting against Anupam’s appointment should look at his track record. He is both a teacher and student of cinema. He has the widest possible exposure of world cinema and will bring his experiences into the workings of the FTII. There’s hardly anyone in our film industry more qualified than Anupam to head the FTII.”
Shabana Azmi is also welcoming of Anupam’s new appointment. “I am very happy about his appointment and wish him all the best. I think he will be able to inspire the students and draw the best out of them because his work is a good mix of mainstream and independent cinema.”
Naseeruddin Shah’s response to Anupam’s appointment is terse. “His appointment is not entirely unexpected.”