FTII students are not criminals, talk to them: Benegal

Panaji, Nov 23 (IANS) Students are not criminals or crooks and should be engaged in dialogue, veteran award-winning filmmaker Shyam Benegal said on Monday.

He also questioned the students for their quantum of outrage against FTII chairman Gajendra Chauhan.

Benegal, who was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an International Film Festival of India event in Panaji, said political ideology has no role to play in the discharge of duties of the chairman of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII).

“The fact is students are students…they are not criminals. They are not crooks. They are a not anti-national,” Benegal said.

“…they may be unhappy. They may think that things are not quite correct, but the fact is that (it is) for those in charge to deal with them in a way which makes sense. My own opinion is that you have to meet the students and talk to them,” Benegal said.

Benegal is the recipient of the Padma Bhushan award, the Dadasaheb Phalke award and has received the National Award for best feature film on six occasions.

FTII students staged a 139-day strike from June 12 this year, to protest the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as the institute’s chairman, claiming the artiste was unfit for the position.

After the appointing authority, the union ministry for information and broadcasting, stuck to its guns and did not cancel Chauhan’s appointment, the students withdrew the strike on October 29, but also insisted that their protests would continue.

Benegal also questioned the accusation that political ideology plays a role in running the functioning of the Institute.

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