ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Unmaking of Film Institute

The recent changes in the syllabus and course content of the Film and Television Institute of India will shift the focus of education from the aesthetics of film-making to operational matters and are directed at stifling experimentation. Is it any wonder that its students, who come to the institute for a comprehensive understanding of the mediums, are discontented? 

The recent drastic and arbitrary changes in the syllabus and course structure of India’s premier film training institute, the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), are diluting the cause it stood for. At stake are its ethos and the very aims and objectives with which it was set up. The changes are so fundamental that they are no longer peripheral to the constitution of the institute, but hit at the right to free expression and individual thinking. The institute has become a target of the larger design of privatisation and globalisation (Americanisation?) and is today being viewed by decision-making authorities an industry for generating profits rather than a centre of learning. If the changes are not immediately halted and the tide reversed, the country will lose forever the only training ground for people committed to meaningful and socially relevant cinema.

Set up in 1961 with the aim of promoting good alternative cinema and setting new standards in film-making both aesthetically and technically, the institute has provided free space for thinking and learning to generations of would be film-makers. It has provided the film industry with highly professional, focused and specialised people in various aspects of film-making. Along with the National Film Archives of India (NFAI), the Films Division and the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC), FTII has been one of the pillars for promoting a plurality of voices via the medium of cinema. It has been unique in the world amongst all film schools, providing ample scope for experimentation and exploration. The government supported education has provided aspiring film-makers from all strata of society and the remotest parts of the country access to hands on experience on world class equipment and exposure to the best of world cinema. The excellent collection of films at the National Film Archives has acted as a rich resource for learning. The two institutes have together been a formidable base for nurturing talent.

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