Dr Mohan Agashe's views on teaching film-making (Q&A, August 7) are shocking. Since he is director of the Film and Television Institute of India, and is threatening to put his ideas into practice, all of us who care for cinema in India must pay serious attention before it is too late.
Which educational institution in the world finds it necessary to worry about its students becoming rich and famous after they graduate? Even if this concern does give Dr Agashe sleepless nights, he would feel a lot better if he knew the facts: FTII alumni who have made successful commercial careers include, among a host of others, David Dhawan, Vinod Chopra, Subhash Ghai, Kundan Shah and Sanjay Bhansali. In fact, the entire crew of Mr Bhansali's Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam -- director, cinematographer, editor, sound recordists and even assistant directors -- are FTII graduates, as are most of the film industry's top technicians. The stalwarts of the parallel cinema like Mani Kaul, Kumar Shahani and Saeed Mirza, are also from the FTII.
Every year's list of national award winners features a large number of Institute graduates. Dr Agashe feels TV is now as important as cinema. So, if he walks into the offices of any channel, he will find FTII graduates employed in top posts. There is no need for him to alter everything the Institute has stood for to prepare students for ``outside realities''.
The FTII is one of the best regarded film schools in the world. The quality of its education has been slowly eroded over the years and all of us who care for the Institute's future know that many radical changes in its functioning are surely required if it is to survive. In fact, a syllabus review committee, fully supported by the students, made a comprehensive set of recommendations two years ago addressing precisely this. Strangely, in his interview, this fact seems to have slipped Dr Agashe's mind. It is hoped that the governing council members will call for proper deliberations with experts, instead of letting Dr Agashe act unilaterally.
Jabeen Merchant, Mumbai
I read the news of noted writer Arundhati Roy joining Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) to oppose construction of the `Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) and it felt like yet another celebrity taking up an environmental cause to reinforce their intellectual status with anti-establishment and nonconformist way of thinking. It is nice for celebrities to hop from one capital to another all over the world attending seminars and grabbing international media attention but it is another issue to plan and work with tribals on a long-term basis for their development.
In an developing country like India we have to take a balanced view towards development. Environmental issues should not strangulate development, as basic amenities like water for drinking and irrigation cannot be denied to the masses.
For those of us who belong to Gujarat, the SSP provides hope. A major portion of the state falls under a rain shadow zone and it rains in plenty in the Narmada Valley. The SSP was conceived seeing the long struggle by the peasants of Gujarat who suffer from heavy floods during the monsoons and from dry spells the rest of the year. With the SSP we can hope to bring another green revolution in the countryside of Gujarat.
Ajay Modi, Ahmedabad
Apropos the full page advertisement against a ``foreign ruler'' (TOI, August 9), it is an irony that the people, who opposed the Quit India movement, ridiculed and attacked Mahatma Gandhi throughout his life, and sided with a foreign government, are in a position to use government machinery for their partisan ends and to take undue advantage of this sacred occasion for the same purpose. These very people went to a foreign land on a bus to embrace a foreign ruler and gave him an opportunity to grab a chunk of our land. Under the dictates of another foreign ruler they prevented our brave jawans from crossing the LoC and forced them to fight foreign forces, with their hands tied at their back, in spite of their burning desire and insistence.
Those very people, in government, have the audacity to attack and usurp all the freedoms granted to every citizen by the fundamental rights under our Constitution and safeguarded by its very preamble. As a person who took part in the Quit India movement, I am deeply offended by the advertisement released by the DAVP.
Yash Paul Miglani, New Delhi
When Ian Botham laid down his gloves some years ago, a journalist asked him why he was retiring in his prime. Botham's response is worth recounting. He said, ``I am retiring now because after one year, you will be asking me, ``Why don't you retire?'' Perhaps there is a lesson in this for Mohammed Azharuddin.
Amit Kumar, Pune