Thursday, 23 July 2015

Gajendra Chauhan: Jahapana Tussi Great Ho

Aitrayee Sarkar writes about the most talked about controversy of the country in recent time. FTII and Gajendra Chauhan are face to face for months now.   

The nation never knew him so well before. India, a country with diverse colors of culture, does not want him to head its most prestigious film school. But Gajendra Chauhan is made of something else. He doesn’t want to listen to anyone—no matter how much respected film personality you are. 
 
Protests were carried out against Chauhan's appointment
Students of FTII have been protesting against Chauhan’s appointment for months now. The row has hit the institute so hard that normal functioning at the premier film school of India is nearly at the verge of complete breakdown. Political appointment in key administrative or institutional chairs is nothing new in India. But perhaps the country for the first time has been encountering a person like Chauhan, who is not ready to step down despite so much protest, agitation and humiliation. 
 
The national as well as regional media have been continuously speaking against Gajendra, who once played Yudhisthir, the eldest Pandava brother who is known for truthfulness and justice. After doing Yudhisthir he never did anything significant at all. It will be better, if we don’t discuss whatever he did following B.R Chopra’s Mahabharat.
Chauhan as Yudhistir in BR Chopra's Mahabharat
The names of the movies done by Chauhan are enough to indicate their quality. Let’s not forget he did ‘Jungle Love’, ‘Vasna’, ‘Jawani Janeman’, ‘Rupa Rani Ramkali’—some of the finest Indian films ever made! Isn’t it? So what if he didn’t do anything? So what if he did some low budget soft porn movies? After all he did the most important thing in life by joining politics in a country like India where now a days failed actors, thrown out cricket players and the babas and gurus roam around happily in the political arena. They consider politics is the safest way to fame, name and power. So what went wrong if Gajendra tried that? Look he of course has the right attitude to please our netas.

Film personalities from across the country have openly criticized Chauhan for sticking to the Chairman’s post of FTTI. People like Mrinal Sen, Soumitra Chattopadhyay, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Aparna Sen and Rishi Kapoor, Resul Pookutty and many more have advised him to step down. But Gajendra Chauhan is Gajendra Chauhan. He remained stubborn and parroted that he should get the opportunity to work  first and then be judged. 

I personally don’t understand what exactly people like Gajendra Chauhan has been expecting from the Indian film industry which has a rich history and a bright future ahead of it. Surprisingly, the popular government in Delhi is still not convinced with the fact that Chauhan is not fit to run FTII. They are even trying to find out some political or criminal angle in the ongoing student demonstration. Whoever, no matter if the names are as popular as Salman Khan or Ranbir Kapoor, is commenting against Chauhan’s appointment are considered as anti-government. It seems that we are fighting a false war of ego.
 
I am sure that sooner or later the Chauhan drama would fade out for the sake of cinema. But my fear is by then whether it would be too late!

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The writer is an editor of WebPressClub