Protesting FTII students write to Ambika Soni

Studnets at the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune, have been protesting against the commercialisation of India’s best known film school. In letters to the Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni, they write:

In the proposal, made by Hewitt at the behest of your ministry for the ‘up-gradation of FTII to international standards’, refers to FTII as a ‘brand’. What this company fails to understand that this ‘brand value’ it refers to has come into being because of the diploma films that the students of the ‘3 year subsidized course’ have made it in the last 50 years. The other ‘self sustained courses’ that exist today (with its self sustainence) exists and has any value, if at all, because of these 3 year diploma courses.

The diploma course in its essence inspires films of various aesthetic nature, as the students making them come from all parts of the country and all strata of society. These films made with our humble resources, have represented our nation across the globe for half of a centurry. Dis-investment would lead to this unique diversity of the place that still inspires art, being lost. With its tall free structure, FTII (as your ministry would like to see it) would shut itself to a huge section of the society. The films that come out would be made by a very small section of society and hence would be homogeneous in nature. This itself would kill all possibility of art and subsequently would kill a huge part of alternative cinema that even today represents our films in a respectable light.


By increasing the fees you are curbing the potentialities of so many creative minds who come from humbler backgrounds and cannot afford it. Even if you are starting short term courses which are ‘profit-making’ to subsidize the main streams of the film course, who are you intending these courses for then? Why do you even consider opening courses such as computer gaming in one of the two only government institutes in the country dedicated to the art and craft of cinema? Why can you not open another institute somewhere else to do this?

The creation of a film needs space, necessary equipment and time, all of which would be seriously infringed if there is an overpopulation of students all relying on the same hardly sufficient infrastructure. Why do you subvert all these concerns with the bizarre promise of making the institute a ‘global film school’? In your own ministry website, which incidentally has not been updated for more than three years, you advertise the institute as having produced films as well as filmmakers of international repute – does not your comment ignore if not actually insult the pivotal role this institute has played in the history of Indian cinema, in its rich legacy of talent and influence? If you mean that the institute needs to be upgraded we all plea for the same and could not agree more – but why, instead of taking the immediate and necessary action to salvage the crisis in the institute, do you divert the issue into making the institute an elitist and capitalist enterprise which goes against its very grain and idea?

Go over to their blog for more.

2 thoughts on “Protesting FTII students write to Ambika Soni”

  1. This is best ever possible article written about current situation in FTII. It also shows that Government’s attitude towards education. Pls mail me who wrote this.


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