Director: Ben Friedman, Ashish Avikunthak
Duration: 00:20:34; Aspect Ratio: 1.335:1; Hue: 35.282; Saturation: 0.112; Lightness: 0.289; Volume: 0.132; Cuts per Minute: 45.946; Words per Minute: 131.469
A film made in the context and around the discussions of the student strike, and resulting zero semester at the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune in 1996
FTII campus, Pune, India
Crowd Noise: Dada Shetye, Halla Bol !(Repeats)
Man in white shirt: Hello!... Yes am coming right now.
Kavita : I'll just give you a brief history..ok
Kavita : The institute was set up with the purpose of training technicians for the industry... ok... this was the original purpose of the institute.Then there was a commission called the Khosla commission appointed in 71or 72 which said that if the government has taken the responsibility of running the institute... Film And Television Institute... Film Institute of India...
Kavita: Then what is the objective with which the government is running... funding the film institute with the tax payer's money... this... the governments responsibility of running the institute is justified only if the goverment is providing the alternative to the commercial cinema produced by the Bombay film industry... because the institute run by the government cannot promote the same kind of... totally commercial and crass cinema which the Bombay film industry promotes.
Kavita: This is what the institute has followed from... since 1972 beacuse everyone... everyone was in agreement upon this point that the commercial film industry can survive by itself and it's not the governments responsibility to fund it... and promote it through the tax payer's money. There is a need for low budget film makers who would promote socially relevant cinema... whatever...
Kavita: Because then we were living under the... still under the illusion of... living under the welfare state and this and that... and... we had these socialist objectives and... so... all... all thats gone now... so the... now there is not even a pretence of promoting low budget cinema or promoting alternate cinema.
Sudipto: Today, market knows the best. That is... that is the mantra... so everything which... which satisfies the market... is acceptable... is welcome and anything which doesn't gel with the market is not acceptable.
Unknown: Ya, I mean in the sense it's like the economics in Italy.
Man in white shirt: Arre! now I have made a registeration with the Akbar hotel... now... Cabaret, disco, dance... money, money, money.
Neeraj: Over the years FTII... this institute would have accumulated an asset base which is more or less beyond the scope of most... ya...most of the players in the commercial market now... because for them to put in this kind of money into the assets that we have here...
Neeraj: Because of the logic of return on finance... would demand such a high return on finance... that it would be an unprofitable venture for them.
Shami: You cannot measure the institutes performance from profit and even in that sense... whether the objective are there or not people are... have contributed to the industry... much more then what has been spent on them.
Voice over: Featuring Kavita.
Kavita: The argument goes that the industry needs more and more technicians... so we have to supply them with technicians.
Blue t-shirt: My god.
Kavita: They want to listen to just diktats of the market, that is what happened in 1996 - the course was cut down from 3 years to 2 years.
Crowd: Halla Bol!
Kavita: So we went on a strike then and they said... they tried to bribe us... they said for your batch we'll give you an extension but all the coming batches will have a 2 year course because the government does't have money.
Kavita: The second time around, we had a hunger strike and then the issue was resolved. At that time the committee which was formed to look into the question of whether the course should be of 3 years or 2 years after the revised syllabus.This syllabus we feel is in keeping with the objectives of the institute because... when we say... because even the existing course to an extent... a course to produce technicians.
Pink Salwar: What kind of joke is this?
White t-shirt: This no joking matter, Kavita?
Kavita: Because how much might... we want to deny it... even now... like editors are just expected to... learn to... cut and wind... and camera men are suppose to be camera operators.
White t-shirt: I have decided that I am going to work in films.Look, Kavita there are only two ways to earn name, fame, respect and money... one should either serve the country or become a film actor.
Kavita: So what the revised syllabus attempts to do is to introduce asthetic inputs... to introduce theoretical inputs which are so important but which is... there is always this divide between theory and technique and which should... we feel should be done away with... I mean you can't totally deny Eisenstein... and... you cant run a film course without looking into all that... So that is what the revised syllabus attempts and that is what these people are toally against because they feel it's a waste of time
Kavita: They feel if the industry needs technicians, it's our job to supply them technicians.This revised syllabus is approved in entirety by the academic council which decides all academic matters. Now one year has gone by since that decision was taken and the revised syllabus is not been implemented and in this one year... in this interim period... Dr Mohan Agashe came as the director of this... he was appointed as the director of the institute.
Kavita: And he has come here with the... we feel that he has been sent here especially for one purpose, namely to privatise the institute.
Voiceover: Now let Mr. Mohan Agashe take the stage... Mr. Mohan Agashe
Kavita: Do you like being the director a place where not even one student trusts you.
Voice over: Mr. Mohan Agashe !
Kavita: Where not even one student wants you on campus?
Grey coat: Imposter.
Voice over: Mr. Mohan Agashe !
Mohan Agashe: Say it again will you?
FTII strike assembly
Voice over: Mr.Mohan Agashe !
Mohan Agashe: Say it again will you?
Voice over: Mr.Mohan Agashe !
Kavita: Because he's come up with... with... barely a couple of months after he joined this place he's come up with 4-5 proposals which he calls his conceptual proposals... his argument for bringing these conceptual proposals is that the government has given a positive directive asking the institute to generate 30-40% of the recurring expenditure by itself. So 30-40% cut in subsidy...
Kavita: So to fund the institute he's come up with proposals such as... raising the fee upto 3 lacs from the present 3,500 per year... he's suggested that there will be some categories such as... out of the 8 students admitted every year, 3 will have to pay 3 lacs... other two will be sponsored candidates... another two will take a loan... so in fact you'll take a 10 lac loan from the institute which you have to repay the minute you pass out of the institute.
Kavita: Now what that translates into is that the minute you pass out of the institute you will have to again join the same industry, whose films you oppose, produce the same shitty serials to pay back a loan of 10 lacs.
Shriram Lagoo: What do you want?
Grey shirt: 5 lacs.
Shriram Lagoo: That's all! Given.
Kavita: If the fee is raised to 3 lacs, then the whole composition of the student body of this institute will drastically change. Only people of a certain class background would be able to come to the institute. Another proposal the director has made is that all the training will be on video and the final project will be on film. So that means a 3 year training on video and you shoot your final exercise on film - what kind of training is that? I mean the aesthetics of the two are totally different, first of all. And secondly you don't need three years to master video. There's another proposal that the institute produce 2 feature films in a year.
Kavita: Two profit making feature films he says. Now the question is how is the... how is anybody going to ensure that the film is going to make profits?
So we feel that all the proposals are completely ridiculous and the way in which these proposals were p... have been pushed by the director... A) he we went to the governing council with these proposals without consulting the faculty without consulting the academic council. In the institute all the academic matters have to go through the academic council.
Kavita: So we feel that he went to the governing council first because the governing council is the policy making body and the governing council is responsible for finance and this body will be only too happy with new proposals that talk about... yeah... that will generate money for the institute so that the ministry has to give less money then... so we feel that he has been manipulating the academic council and the governing council right from day one and he has been manipulating the faculty also.
Kavita: And the faculty... major problems with this place, the faculty unfortunately is largely spineless. The likely step now seems to be that some students go on a hunger strike and taking... using that as a moral pressure the others try and shut down the institute totally not just the students... not just shutting down the work of the students but entire institute indefinitely, because we feel that there is no point continuing with this kind of a situation. There is no point letting the institute- Because if Agashe's proposals are going to be implemented, if the conceptual proposals are going to be implemented
Kavita: Then we feel that...then it's best that the institute shuts down because there is no point wasting the public money on running an instute which is going to churn out C grade films.
Shriram Lagoo: The tea has grown cold.
Kavita: We stil haven't decided what is going to be the next step... we decide that in the meeting today but I dont know how much a shut down would also work ya...
Man with glasses: All the trustees will be coming. I've also heard that a film producer from Bombay will be coming. You must uphold the honour of the college... you've got everything of your choice. You are playing the part of Romeo and tere is no question of who will be Juliet.
Man in blue: Excuse me, Sir!
Unknown: It's not just...
Neeraj: For whatever it is that we are fighting for the benefit of cinema or art... whatever it is, it is only us who's going to act upon it.
Man in glasses: I think you should choose your words carefully.
Neeraj:We've been in a situation of conflict and battle so to say for a very prolonged period of time.
Man in glasses: You know nothing. You are a liar. I'll say your a liar... you're misinformed... you know nothing.
Neeraj: We've driven ourselves into a position of the acting rather than reading what it is that we wish to achieve...given that we have a particualr objective the need for us to bring this entire place to halt... I think we need to devise a strategy which takes... assumes that we are all minorities. So we need to figure out the strategy or dynamics of minority action... we need to figure out how minority actually can work within the given matrix.
Neeraj: This minority action should be able to achieve both these things; one is which is what is called the offensive kind of activity... which is striking, which is gheraoing, which is humiliating... all that... whatever the tactics we should employ but one part of the minority will always have to be engaged in an activity which is simply genetic activity for lack of anything I can only think of it as a hunger strike... right now. So, for example if you have 4 people who sit on a hunger strike... in that sense it...
Neeraj: Because the activity of sitting on a hunger strike is an acitivity which... which in the wider perception of people who are seen as a very urgent thing... which also gives the othre 8 people... 10 people in the minority sufficient mandate to say that look you go home 4 people are sitting on hunger strike... now either you solve the problem or go home there is no need of you over here.
Man in glasses: That is not the way to talk. I dont want to hear you... shut up
Unknown: How are you talking?
Man in glasses: You need to apologise for your behaviour.
Neeraj: This action does not generate any sympathy but even if we contemplate it as a minority act we should have sufficient strategy to figure out ways in which we can determine the agenda... which will get us what we want. There are only 20 of us here who believe that we want this place to have a three year course and the revised syllabus and all.
Neeraj: Let's just forget about reacting to Mohan Agashe... reacting to this guy and the other and devise a minority action oriented strategy which will try to get us that.
If we can... bring this place to a halt... a halt means, a complete halt and I don't mean that they should bring it to a halt by generating or engineering or elliciting consensus to the halt. We've assumed that we are a minority which wishes to bring this place to a halt... then you can completely forget about talking to people, one to one, two to one, ten to one... whatever it is to try to bring it to a halt.
Unknown: See you are a student behave like one.
Unknown: Sir, you....
Unknown: Don't... don't behave like....
Inspector: This is illegal way... this is not a legal way.
White shirt: Now I don't want to indulge in any arguments.
Inspector: This is not legal.
Unknown: What is illegal?
White shirt: You are....
Unknown: Why is it illegal?
White shirt: Yes you are...
Inspector: That I will tell you in police station.
Neeraj: I think you need to split your demands into 1) a critical demand and 2) many other larger demands like the critical demand is an example would just be... just something simpler as Mohan Agashe... no more man we dont want you... that's the critical demand but you must have a litany(?) of demands around which you can stand at the gate and talk to all sorts of people who are part of this place.
Neeraj: To tell them... that look these are the issues around which this man is solely responsible and he should go. I'm not saying that this is like the seduction kind of activity where you hijack somebody's need or hijack somebody's oppression or whatever to get your thing done. It was our... our failing that we could not lift the issue beyond which was just immediately relevant to us.
Unknown: I would like to bring to your notice... Sir, I would like to bring to your wise notice... but sir it is not us whi have called the police here.
Mohan Agashe: Wait now! This is not the governing council right!
Unknown: Sir it is not us who called the police here.
Mohan Agashe: You have created this situation and let me politely tell you that dont do this this is not in the interest...
Man in beard: When something happens this governing council will not be with you when things happen with you.
Mohan Agashe: You..
Kavita: We are also politely telling you sir...
Man in beard:The governing council will not be with you when things happen with you. We're telling you.
Mohan Agashe: What will happen?
Man in beard:Whatever
Unknown: Sir, politely we are telling you...
Kavita: Why dont you... Why dont you contact...
FTII strike assembly
Mohan Agashe: This is a threat... this is a threat.
Unknown: No...No... The consequences... consequences of whatever you take...
Kavita:If you are dismissed tomorrow
Mohan Agashe: That's ok. If I am dismissed tomorrow that's fine
Unknown: One second sir, you perceive that.
Man in beard: What threat are you taking of ? you think we 're a threat to you?
Kavita: We have to extract mileage from everybody.
Man in beard : Why are you afraid of us?
FTII strike assembly
Kavita: You're threatening me?
Mohan Agashe: It's considered as a threat
Unknown: Sir, I want to tell you something... we're talking to you and to you that seems like a threat. But here there are people standing in uniforms with sticks. Is that not a threat... Is that not a threat sir?
Crowd Noise: Mohan Agashe Murdabad... Mohan Agashe Murdabad... Halla Bol... Dada Shetye Halla Bol... tanashahi(Despotism ka Halla bol(Repeats)
Crowd Noise: Halla Bol! (Repeats)
Unknoownm: Look Madame behave like a student now you have protested..ok... please...please... please madame... wait
Crowd Noise: Shameful... shame... shame... shame(Repeats)
Crowd: Halla Bol!