While the stand-off between Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) students and faculty is not entirely over, veteran actress – and a former FTII student herself – Shabana Azmi has said that one needs to look at an individual’s qualification and keep that as a top criteria for the selection to key posts in such cultural institutions. Azmi, who graduated from FTII in 1973, said that the premier institute has a legacy of being headed by eminent personalities such as Shyam Benegal and UR Ananthmurthy.
She said that though ruling parties such as BJP may want to put somebody of their own accord at the key position, but they need to look at one’s qualification, before they do so.
During a recent interview she said that whosoever heads FTII should be as qualified as Shyam Benegal, UR Ananthmurthy and Mrinal Sen.
Commenting on the controversies regarding the Centre’s decision to appoint Gajendra Chauhan as FTII chief, Azmi went on to further attack the government and expressed her concern over shrinking liberal space. She said:
“I can see there is huge dissatisfaction with liberal space shrinking at the moment and people are very much upset about it. We have a government which on one hand talks about very liberal things and on the other hand, does absolutely nothing to denounce those who are making retrograde remarks,”
Azmi, who is married to renowned poet and lyrist Javed Akhtar, is known to speak her mind and stand up for what she believes to be right. She, along with her husband and children, is known to raise her voices against many social issues.