Pune: Academic activity in FTII continued to be at a standstill for the 68th day today even as its ex-chairman and filmmaker Saeed Mirza came out in support of the agitating students demanding removal of BJP member and TV actor Gajendra Chauhan from its chairmanship.
Addressing the striking students who have organised a week-long festival on the campus projecting the theme 'Retracing freedom', Mirza said the chairman's post was not just administrative and the person holding it needed to be aware of all kinds of cinema and performing arts.
Mirza, who served as chairperson of the Film and Television Institute of India's governing council from 2013 to 2014, said he understood the "anger of the students" and sympathised and supported their cause.
The students have been boycotting classes since June 12 demanding reconstitution of the FTII body and removal of Chauhan, who they allege, lacks credentials and vision to head the institute.
Meanwhile, the striking students continued to oppose FTII's new director Prashant Pathrabe's decision to start assessment of the incomplete diploma in film projects of the 2008 batch on 'what is where is' basis, saying it was "unfair and irrational."
The FTII Students' Association (FSA) also protested against the administration's decision to discontinue services of about 80 contractual employees in the institute on the ground that their presence was not "justified" in view of the ongoing strike and closure of academic activity.
Chauhan, best known for his role of 'Yudhishtir' in popular tele-serial "Mahabharat", has refused to step down. His appointment as FTII Chairman on June 9 triggered an indefinite strike by the students on June 12.
While the students have been able to garner support from many Bollywood bigwigs in support of their demands, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry has stuck to Chauhan's appointment, asking them to return to academic activity or face action including rustication.