Being FTII

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Ashok Ogra
It is undeniable that the renowned Film & TV Institute of India, Pune (FTII) built its reputation on the enduring value of its founders – Gajanan Jagirdar, first principal, and famous filmmaker Ritwik Ghatak – initially the vice principal and later. promoted Principal who instilled in students an unwavering commitment to excellence, encouraged them to be bold in their choices, original in their ideas and passionate in their quest for creative individuality.
It was the committee of inquiry into the 1949 film SKPatil that recommended the establishment of a film school: the FTII finally appeared in the former premises of the Prabhat studio in Pune in 1960, and the academic session began there. ‘Next year.
Since its creation, the institute has hired teachers with exceptional references. Professor Satish Bhadur was one of those faculties that taught cinema appreciation. Who better to talk about the brilliance of Professor Bhadur than his pupil and later junior colleague, Professor Surendar Chawdhary: “We were impressed and remained in awe of the underlying belief that a great film can only do be structured with great complexity.
The winner Dadasaheb Phalke Adoor Gopalakrishnan who belongs to the first batch attributes his career and his understanding of the language of cinema to the institute.
To mark the 60th anniversary of its creation, the institute has released a fascinating book BEING FTII – containing reminiscences and essays from its former students. In the words of its dynamic director, Bhupendra Kainthola, “the book tells the story of an institution that every Indian filmmaker admires…. The book is the signature of a sacred place that is constantly changing and yet, in a sense, never changes. ‘
Filmmaker and cinema specialist Arun Khopkar writes about the learning environment at the institute: “The sun of a laburnum has fallen on the canopy of the Tree of Wisdom, just outside the theater. main. There was enough space underneath, for ‘argumentative filmmakers’ of all colors, shades and opinions.’ The tree of wisdom located in the middle of the campus has a certain mythical quality. It is considered the busiest place on campus.
Admission to the course in the cinema wing is difficult – perhaps more difficult than IITs – as it only admits 10 students (approximately) against the seven specializations it offers.
For editor AKMitra, studying at the FTII was like “Deconstructing magic”, for director Shaji Karun, the institute allowed me “to visualize life in all its nuances and to read the binaries of life”.
The institute is proud to welcome film masters to its campus, from Akira Kurosawa to Satyajit Ray.
It was left to Professor Bhadur and PKNair of the National Film Archives to expose the students to international cinema.
Famous director Sriram Raghvan tells an interesting anecdote about David Lean’s visit to the institute: “He was shown graduation films made by the students. His response after the viewing was not a pep talk. “Who do you make films for?” I can tell you which shot is from which German, Czech or French film. You should also watch the films of V. Shantaram and Bimal Roy.
That FTII is more than a campus is best expressed by cinematographer AK Bir: “Limited in its scope of limitation, FTII opens up a vast space. This is because it carries a rich heritage from the past, the dynamic value of the present and a progressive vision for the future. ‘
For showman Subash Ghai, the institute has a completely different scent. “I will always be proud of my mother’s institute, FTII, and her creation of versatile talents in film and media arts to this day. FTII, Jai Ho !!! ‘
Pierre Friquet from France who joined the cinematography course is honest to admit that FTII is well recognized across borders – thanks to the top awards its alumni have won at international festivals. No wonder the FTII is ranked among the top 10 film schools in the world.
I can’t think of any other institute in India focused on a singular discipline whose alumni have won so many Padma prizes. The list includes: Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Shaji Karun, Jaya Bachchan, Shabana Azmi, Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, Girish Kasaravalli, Jahnu Barua, AK Bir, Danny Denzongpa, Tom Alter, Sadhu Mehar, Santosh Sivan, Naresh Bedi, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Resul Pokutty (who also won an Oscar) to name a few.
Shatrughan Sinha disagrees with those who think acting cannot be learned: “I salute our FTII and pay tribute to the most wonderful personality in the world who taught me and gave me all I know, the late and great professor Roshan Taneja. ‘
Shabana Azmi echoes similar sentiments when she started filming for ‘Ankur’: “It was my first time entering a village and playing a completely different character than the westernized Bombay girl and I was educated in English in 1973. The training I had received at the FTII on the Stanislavsky method came to my aid. ‘
The history of FTII is closely linked to the establishment of TV Wing in 1974 as a continuing education center for DD personnel. The advent of satellite television in the 1990s brought about a demand for skilled labor. The energetic Professor Iftekhar Ahmed, Dean (TV) responded quickly and launched one-year courses in: directing, electronic cinematography, video editing, and sound and television engineering. In addition, the TV wing organizes many other courses for various government units.
BPSingh acknowledges the contribution of the TV wing to the media industry: “Virtually no program has been produced without the participation of FTII Film Wing alumni, from RAMAYAN to NUKKAD. “
Dhiraj Meshram, Dean (Films) and Prof. RNPathak, Dean (TV) in their articles highlight the contribution of FTII graduates to Indian and world cinema, as well as the television industry.
Laxmi Keluskar, who opted for a course in artistic direction and production design, thanks the institute for teaching her to see beyond the space around the actors and to look at the color palette of the story, the costumes and appearance of actors.
With this book, FTII speaks for itself. And who better to take us down in history than Amit Tyagi, who has worked on various media platforms and was also Dean (Films), and designer Vikram Varma who deserves praise for producing such a fascinating book.
“Every emotion is out there, expressed by someone with more lucidity than I could ever have had… it had to be a book to represent an important national institution of modern India, and it had to represent the cultural and philosophical diversity of India and Indian cinema, which we all experience firsthand at FTII, ”writes Amit.
In addition to the messages of the minister and secretary of the I&B ministry at the time and Shekhar Kapoor, the book contains deep thoughts on cinema: Abhijeet Desphpande, Amit Dutta, Arunaraje Patil, Bipin Naria, Bishwadeep Chatterji, Hitendra Ghosh, Rajul Shah, Krishanarjun
Bhattacharya, Nimisha Pandey, Rajula Shah, Raj Kumar Rao and Vinay Shukla.
Award-winning director K Hariharan pleads for the creation of a film school in the North East so that regional cinema also flourishes like Bollywood. It raises a valid question: “Are today’s Tamil and Malayalam films really regional?”
Both Dharam Gulati and Rajeev Kamal tell the story of the Alumni Association ‘GraFTIl’ – which stands for Graduates of Film and Television Institute of India – a unique common family of versatile professionals, advancing the cause of cinema and ensuring to the well-being of its members. .
With the rise of OTT platforms, FTII must start adopting newer platforms. “This calls for discovering new avenues in the syntax and semiotics of cinematographic language,” argues GS Bhaskar. It’s up to award-winning director Jahnu Barua to provide an interesting insight into life on the non-university campus. The flavor of the weekends was Double Ghoda – an inexpensive brand of alcohol that served as a catalyst for exhilarating discussions about art, culture, literature, movies, philosophy, and more.
Published by the Publications Division, GOI, with rich archival photographs, this is one of the finest table books to offer. It’s like a time capsule and completely fresh. The interesting aspect of the book is that it allows the reader to feel intimate with filmmakers he does not know.
I hope that in the decades to come, learning at the institute – both under the Tree of Wisdom and in the studio – will continue to be a joy. And, in the words of former student Anup Singh, a topography that teaches students to ‘dance in space and time’.
(The author is an advisor, Apeejay Education Society. He also taught at the FTII from 1982 to 1985)


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