Published: 07th December 2021
In search of 'colour': The story of aspiring filmmaker Ashutosh Kumar's tryst with FTII
Ashutosh found out that he was colour blind at the medical examination before his admission to the FTII and that changed his life
When did you finally realise what you'd do in life? Some of us are still clueless. But Ashutosh Kumar (30), from Patna had not only decided which career to take up but also selected an institute for himself when he was in Class 7. He wanted to work with films and graduate from the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) in Pune. But what he did not know is that his dreams would have to jump through hoops for at least 6 years to get there.
And it all came down to a filmmaker's essence - his eyes. Ashutosh found out that he was colour blind at the medical examination before his admission to the FTII and that changed his life. "I was intrigued by cinema from a very young age. Both our parents would go to work and my sister and I would spend the afternoons watching films. When I was in Class 7 or so, I accompanied my father to Delhi. On our way back, we met two people who claimed to be filmmakers and were talking about films. I heard the name FTII for the first time and studying there became a goal. After I finished my schooling I wanted to enrol, but they (FTII) said that I needed a graduation degree to get in. I did my graduation — completed my graduation in BA Psychology (Hons) from Patna University. The next step was to apply. I applied in 2013 the first time but did not get in. In 2016, I got through Film Editing. I was there prepared with the fees and everything. Then came the test, where they said that I was colour blind and that I was not eligible to study this course," said Ashutosh.
Ashutosh moved the Bombay High Court and then the Supreme Court in 2017. In the meanwhile, he has been taking up freelance work after a short stint in journalism and also completed his Masters in Mass Communication from the Nalanda Open University. "I have endured everything in these few years. I do not come from a family with affluence or filmmakers in their lineage," said Ashutosh. He also reached out to famous filmmakers like Raju Hirani for their statement on this issue and they helped. "Colour blindness should not affect the work of a film editor," wrote Hirani and added that the director and the cinematographer are the people who look after that aspect.
Ashutosh said that his fight was not just for himself but for everyone with colour blindness. "Three out of 10 human males in the world are colour blind. This isn't just my fight but for all those who will come next," said the young filmmaker.
The Supreme Court bench of justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MM Sundresh has now asked a committee to be formed. The committee will have an ophthalmologist, director, film editor, colourist, script supervisor, head of any department of FTII and a lawyer. “Role of the committee would be to ascertain whether colour blindness is to be perceived as a disqualification for all courses in FTII,” the court order said, adding that the rules of the institute need to be looked at keeping the Right to Persons with Disabilities (RPwD) Act of 2016 in the perspective. “It is an evolving process. We now have documents with details of some renowned filmmakers, some even got national awards in India, who have been colour blind...The best thing to say is that with the advancement of science, the issue should be revisited by a committee, within the principle of reasonable accommodation. It is futuristic thinking,” added the two-judge bench.