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Gajendra Chauhan: I haven't been replaced as FTII chairman, my tenure ended in March

India Today logo India Today 12-10-2017

© Provided by India Today "My tenure at the FTII ended on March 3, 2017. I have not been replaced or axed as a lot of media has been wrongly reporting! It's been 7 months, my tenure got over and the I&B secretary took over from me. They were looking out for a new chairman, and today they have found a new one, Mr Anupam Kher. I congratulate him, give him my good wishes and I'm sure he will do well, and do good work," says former Chairman of the Film and Television Institute of India, Gajendra Chauhan, while speaking exclusively to India Today. Chauhan is rather irked with all the electronic media reports suggesting that he has been dismissed of his duties by FTII or the I&B Ministry.  

If you remember, Gajendra Chauhan (whom we all know as Yudhishtir from Mahabharat), his appointment as the Chief of FTII in 2015, made headlines as the students of Pune's prestigious Film Institute, went on a protest for 139 days, the longest protest in the history of the institute. The students demanded the removal of TV actor and BJP member Gajendra Chauhan as FTII Boss, for "lack of credentials and vision" to head the institute which has an illustrious list of chairpersons in the past.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had also visited the FTII campus and met the agitating students. However, after 139 days the students resumed their classes, but asserted that they would remain firm on their demands and carry on a peaceful protest. 

However, these protests by the students and the film industry didn't deter Chauhan from doing his job. He said, "I was not insulted or hurt, only thing that irked me was that people were not aware of my administrative capabilities. That time also I had spoken to India Today and told you, let me work there, and people will remember that forever. Today with the CAG report  is proof, that my work was satisfactory. In fact it says the best work has been done by Mr Gajendra Chauhan. I am very happy about it. The only thing that hurts me is that I got very less time to work. Out of three block years as a chairman, I got only one year and two months to prove my mettle. But then I decided I have to play a 20-20 match, I had to do the best of my time." 

Among the Bollywood folks who were against Gajendra Chauhan taking on the post, saying that the institute requires a 'much qualified' person, has now taken over as the Chief of the Film Institute. While wishing Kher well for his tenure, Chauhan said, "Being a good or bad actor, doing big or small work, doesn't matter. At FTII you need to be a good administrator, who can handle the staff and students problems."

However, the former actor reiterated that he was perhaps a victim of a political agenda. He said, "People didn't know about my working system, whereas the actors who were opposing my work, they knew I was good at administration, because I've worked in the Cine and TV artist association as well for over 20 years, handling so many problems. But there was a political agenda as well to this, the Modi government had just come into power, it was barely one year old, since there were no issues they could find in the Modi government, the opposition party targeted this. I was the weak link in the entire scheme of things so they targeted me. Rahul Gandhi has come to FTII, if you remember, but I want to ask Rahul ji one thing, did he visit FTII before that, or even after that issue? What does he know about FTII today. I was made the scapegoat, everyone thought I'm not capable of handling this, but the government was very sure of my capabilities and I was sure that I would be able to do it."

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