FTII students demand CBFC chief Pahlaj Nihalani’s resignation

Calling censor board chief Pahlaj Nihalani ‘propaganda machine’ of the BJP-led government, the students of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) have urged Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajvardhan Singh Rathore to seek his resignation. Their demand comes after Nihalani remarked that he plans to make a documentary evidence to expose FTII students as ‘anti-nationals’.

In a statement the students observed, "Having such a member in the FTII governing council with the other contentious members in the society - Gajendra Chauhan, Anagha Ghaisas, Narendra Pathak, Rahul Solapurkar and Shailesh Gupta - having such intolerant views towards their own institution and plurality of cinema is extremely unhealthy and highly condemnable. Our institute and the culture of cinema in this country are in dangerous hands."

Citing the ban on the documentary film 'Battle of Banaras' by eminent filmmaker Kamal Swaroop, who is also an FTII alumnus, the statement added that "anything which is even remotely critical of the current government is immediately axed by Nihalani. The list of films and filmmakers unnecessarily facing troubles from this man increases by the day".

"As he is a responsible representative of the government we demand Rajyavardhan Rathore to seek the resignation of Pahlaj Nihalani both from censor board and FTII society for calling the students of FTII anti-nationals," the students said in the statement.

FTII students went on a nearly five-month strike against the appointment of television actor Gajendra Chauhan as the chairperson of the FTII Society and other four "political appointments."

The CBFC chairperson recently hit headlines when he said that he was planning to bring out documentary evidence of how FTII students were 'anti- nationals' and were being supported by 'bhoole bichde geet' producers who never made any commercially viable movie in life.