Anupam Kher speaks about FTII in an exclusive conversation

This week on Off Centre, Anuradha SenGupta talks to Anupam Kher who has been appointed as the Chairman of the FTII (Film and Television Institute of India) and has been welcomed by people across ideological, political and industry lines. Anupam puts forth his take on government funded education, his vision for FTII, and how being vocal has impacted his life.

Speaking about healing and improving the condition of FTII, he said, “Intention is the most important factor. The blueprint has to be made. Unfortunately, in the last few years FTII has been projected as a troubled place whether it is the students strike; whether it was the appointment of the previous Chairman; lots of things. I think it is an institution that should be taken seriously; it is a place where people are trained. It is an institution, which has produced some of the finest actors, directors, producers, cameraman, technicians and sound people. It’s a place, which is the future of the entertainment department. So that needs to be perfected and what I bring in is not my knowledge, it’s my earnestness.”

“Let’s this get out of our system that it’s not a sick place. It’s may be a little wounded. We will make it happen. I would like to heal. It will going to be done by everybody. It’s not a major issue. Whenever you go back to your earlier school, you feel it’s not the same. So, that was my first reaction that it’s not the same place but that was my first visit about 15 days back. When I went yesterday, I started getting excited about the studio, the facilities, the wisdom tree, the quietness. The place is replaced by the energy now. There are no placards saying that we are unhappy. So we can see that. I am an eternal optimist. I think I have made it because of my optimism. I see what is positive about in a person and what is positive about a place. So, I don’t see arey yeh problem… that will bog me down.” he added.

Talking about Government Funding to Film school, “See I went to the National School of Drama. I did a three years course over there. Before that, I went to the one-year course in Chandigarh. I taught in an institute near Lucknow, which had this one-year thing. People who come to my school Actor Prepares, we offer them a three months course. You can do a three month course. I am referring to basically acting and you can still be a very bad actor. We give a beginning to the thing. In a government institution, I personally feel it takes a little time to produce professionals. Jo art form hoti hain na iss main logon ko yakeen hota hain arey yeh to hamare andar hota hain. That’s all rubbish. I think a government institution has the liberty and the sources to have a course which should be longer. I know it is important. I thank God for a person like me, if the government hadn’t put a three hundred rupees  – two hundred rupees scholarship, I wouldn’t have been able to join drama school either in Chandigarh or in Delhi or in the Film Institute.”

Reacting to the open letter by FTII Students Association listing demands like inclusion in Governing Council meetings, “That’s a decision we have to sit down and listen. See there is no end to making somebody happy. So there is no ideal situation in life. There is no end to listening to all kinds of thing. I think as we find. Let us cross the bridge when we reach it. Slowly, slowly we will do it, but at the end of it, it’s very important to provide them education.”

Talking about impact of his views on his life, “I have lost on certain friends. I have lost on certain work. I have lost on certain issues. Not for my political views but because of my views. It’s obvious na. The moment you sort of say that “What is this? “ Why you people are sort of saying intolerance in the country, intolerance was there in 75’, intolerance was there in 84’. Intolerance was there when Kashmiri pandits were thrown out. The double standard of these people na, I want to live with myself, comfortably. So fine. It is ok. I am a self-made man. That’s the arrogance of a self-made person that he doesn’t mind about this things.”


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