“Proud” of Cannes winner Payal Kapadia, says former FTII Chairman Gajendra Chauhan

Back in 2015, Kapadia was one of the protesting students who went on strike to oppose Chauhan's appointment as the Chairperson of the Pune-based FTII
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In a conversation with PTI today, Tuesday, May 28, actor-politician Gajendra Chauhan extended his wishes to Cannes winner Payal Kapadia, saying that he is proud of the “filmmaker who studied at Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) when he served as its Chairman”.

Last week, Kapadia became the first Indian filmmaker to win the Grand Prix award, the second highest honour at the 77th Cannes Film Festival, for her Malayalam-Hindi feature film All We Imagine As Light.

Back in 2015, Kapadia was one of the protesting students who went on strike to oppose Chauhan's appointment as the Chairperson of the Pune-based Film and Television Institute of India (FTII).

"Congratulations to her and I feel proud that I was the chairman at the time when she was doing the course there," Chauhan told PTI.

Asked what he would like to say about Kapadia who protested against his appointment, the Mahabharat actor said, "She has never said anything about me. What can I say then?"

According to protesting students, Chauhan did not match the vision and stature of past Chairmen of the FTII governing council, and his appointment appeared "politically coloured".

Chauhan, who served as the chairperson from January 7, 2016 to March 2, 2017, claimed the protest was not against him.

"That protest was not against me, it was against the director and the administration. I was appointed by the government of India. I did a lot of work at FTII and the media has never reported about any of it," he added.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting nominates the FTII Chairperson. Currently, actor R Madhavan holds the post. Chauhan said he was neither sacked from the job nor did he resign.

"I was never sacked, I completed my tenure. Some say Gajendra Chauhan resigned, I never resigned," he further told PTI.

In 2015, 35 students, including Kapadia, were booked under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections, including 143, 147, 149, 323, 353 and 506, dealing with offences, a few of them non-bailable, related to unlawful assembly, criminal intimidation and rioting.

The filmmaker's documentary A Night of Knowing Nothing depicted the protests at FTII.

Kapadia's film All We Imagine As Light is the first film from India to be selected as part of the Cannes main competition in 30 years, the last being Shaji N Karun's 1994 Malayalam movie Swaham.

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