07/01/2016 8:21 AM IST | Updated 29/08/2016 9:42 PM IST

FTII Chairman Gajendra Chauhan's First Day At Work Promises To Be Tense

Pacific Press via Getty Images
JANTER MANTER, DELHI, INDIA - 2015/08/03: Indian students from the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), along with other student activists, chant slogans during a protest against the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as the chairman of the FTII, in New Delhi. Protesters are demanding the removal of Chauhan, who they say is not qualified for the post but was given the position due to political reasons, and have been boycotting their classes at the institute over the issue since June 12. (Photo by Hemant Rawat/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The insulting graffiti and the paintings on the walls will be whitewashed and the campus spruced up as Gajendra Chauhan, the embattled new chairman of the Pune-based Film And Television Institute Of India (FTII), officially starts his first day at work today amid plans by students to hold a "peaceful protest".

Chauhan has been the central figure in a protest at the campus against his appointment, that students have deemed political, as the head of the prestigious institute. His claim to fame was his role as the eldest Pandava Yudhisthira on the popular TV show Mahabharata. He has worked in around 150 movies and over 600 TV serials. The institute’s students launched a protest in June last year and boycotted classes after his appointment. Their strike went on for 139 days. There have been several rounds of talks with the Information and Broadcasting ministry to break the deadlock.

Also Read: The Saffronisation Of The FTII: Why We Must Continue To Protest

More than 150 staff members are expected to welcome Chauhan to the institute, reported Times of India. Chauhan has apparently conveyed to the administration that he wanted to talk to the students.

Chauhan will meet the FTII society and start the process of electing a 14-member governing council, an academic council and a finance committee. “We will be finalising the governing council and then other agenda will be discussed,” Chauhan told IANS.

Also Read: Ranbir Kapoor Declares His Support For FTII Students, Who Are Currently On Strike

“I have been ordered by the government, and I will do my job. Let me go there and see. I can’t comment on what they will do, but I am ready to do my job,” he said.

Also Read: Bam! Watch Anupam Kher Ruthlessly Showing FTII Chairman Gajendra Chauhan His Place

"We will protest with peaceful sloganeering," a third-year student at the institute told TOI.

The Deccan Gymkhana police has asked 17 students who were earlier booked for gheraoing FTII director Prashant Pathrabe to refrain from any protest, according to the report.

In response to an RTI query, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry had earlier said that Chauhan was selected on the basis of a one-para CV. The RTI applicant had sought information regarding the educational and professional qualifications of Chauhan, and the basis on which he was considered for his selection as President of FTII.

The 281-page record provided by the Ministry includes details of resumes of others who were proposed for the post of FTII President. The only reference to Chauhan's qualification is a one paragraph summary.

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