The Film and Television Institute of India’s (FTII) decision to alter the time-frame for completion of an academic exercise has met with boycott call from students. The second-year batch of various courses have decided to boycott an assignment “dialogue exercise” to protest the administration’s directive to finish shooting of films in two days instead of three days. In the third semester, students from Direction, Cinematography, Sound Design, Editing and Art Direction courses are supposed to shoot films as part of their curriculum and the exercise is called “dialogue exercise”.
According to FTII Students’ Association (FSA), the entire batch of 2016 has decided to boycott the scheduled production meet which generally takes place before the actual shooting of the films of “dialogue exercise”. The administration initially reacted by asking a student each from Direction, Cinematography, Sound Design, Editing and Art Direction courses to vacate the hostel for the third semester, but eventually revoked the order. FTII director Bhupendra Kainthola today said the decision asking the students to vacate the hostel has been revoked and they will no longer have to vacate their hostel.
“The notices issued to all these students to vacate the hostels are revoked,” he said. FSA president Robin Joy said as per new norms, every shooting shift will be of 12 hours and the exercise has to be completed within two days. “Earlier, it used to be of three days with eight-hour shift per day,” he said, adding it is not logistically feasible to do 12-hour shift for two days. Joy said it would be “inhuman” to force lightmen, carpenters, painters, make-up artists and actors to work at such a long stretch. “With such a co-ordinated exercise in a studio, students should be given enough time as primarily students’ learning aspect should be prioritised rather than looking to finish off the exercise in a haste,” Joy said.
Meanwhile, Amit Tyagi, Dean (films), said the two-day norm has been there for a long time and it was only altered a few years back. “With a credit-based syllabus in place, the institute wants to prevent backlogs and has brought back the old two-day 12-hour shift norm. Our purpose is to complete the semester on time so as to prevent the backlog,” he said. Tyagi claimed even the students had agreed to the changed norm. “We have given them an offer in which they can even use the previous day, apart from the two days, when propping and lighting is done before the actual shoot,” he added. However, the students have decided to boycott the “dialogue exercise”.
“We will not accept the offer and we will continue to boycott the exercise,” said joy. Standing firm, the administration said if the students failed to participate, they would miss the opportunity to make a film and in no circumstances, would they be allowed to be a part of the exercise later. In 2015, the students had held a 139-day-long protest against the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan, then FTII chairman, over his “credentials”. Veteran actor Anupam Kher was yesterday named as the new chairman of the premier film institute.