NEW DELHI, Oct. 12: Bringing to an end the controversial tenure of Gajendra Chauhan as the chief of India's premier film and television school, the Indian ministry of information and broadcasting appointed acclaimed actor Anupam Kher chairman of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) on Wednesday.
Kher replaced Chauhan, whose selection in 2014 ran into rough weather almost immediately with students and illustrious alumni of the Pune-based institute attacking his poor track record in filmmaking and acting, besides his alleged inadequacy to handle the affairs of FTII.
Kher's appointment was widely welcomed by the film and theatre fraternity. His wife and Chandigarh BJP MP, Kirron Kher, tweeted, "Congratulations my dear @AnupamPkher for becoming FTII Chairman! Know you will do a great job!" Adman-filmmaker Pritish Nandy, director Prakash Jha, actor-turned-MP Paresh Rawal and Madhur Bhandarkar were among those who welcomed Kher's appointment.
Born in 1955 in Shimla, and a graduate of Delhi's National School of Drama, Kher is considered one of the most prolific and versatile actors in the Hindi film industry . His acting career spans over 35 years, with critically acclaimed performances in Saaransh (1984), Daddy and Khosla Ka Ghosla! (2006), among others. He was also conferred the Padma Bhushan for his contribution to stage and cinema.
When his predecessor Chauhan was in the thick of a controversy over his appointment, Kher had, however, opposed the ministry's choice, saying FTII needed a person with much more qualifica tions than Chauhan had as a producer, director, or actor.
It is not the first time that Kher has been chosen by the Indian government to hold an administrative position. Kher, who has led NSD and the Indian Central Board of Film Certification in the past, said: "I'm happy and humbled to facilitate students with my experience in Indian and international cinema, travel, and stage acting. I think sharing experience adds up to perspectives."
Handing over charge of the prestigious institute, Chauhan said he had played a T20 innings during his stint at the institute and wished the government had given him more time to complete the work he started. While Chauhan's appointment was confirmed in June 2015, he could only assume office in January 2016 because of a 139-day strike by students opposing his appointment as a political move. TOI
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