Art & Entertainment

Ex-FTII Chairperson Gajendra Chauhan On Payal Kapadia’s Cannes Win: Big Difference Between Being Talented And Disciplined

Payal Kapadia had previously opposed the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as the chairperson of the institute.

Gajendra Chauhan And Payal Kapadia
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It was a triple win for Indian talent at the 2024 Cannes Film Festival. While Payal Kapadia's ‘All We Imagine As Light’ won the Grand Prix Award, ‘Sunflowers Were the First Ones to Know’ by FTII student Chidananda S Naik, and Anasuya Sengupta of ‘The Shameless’ fame too bagged top honours in their competitive sections at Cannes.

But do you know that Payal Kapadia, who carved history by becoming the first Indian filmmaker to win the Grand Prix award, was once a student at Pune’s Film and Television Institute of India? And at her time at the film school in 2015, she had led a student protest against the appointment of actor-turned-politician Gajendra Chauhan, known for his role of Yudhisthir in the hit TV serial ‘Mahabharat’, as the chairman of the institute. 

During a recent interview, Chauhan was asked about Payal’s Cannes win and the disciplinary action that was taken against her. To which, Chauhan told Times Now, “I would just like to say, we are all very proud of her. I’d like to congratulate her for her achievement.” When asked about Payal’s opposition to his appointment, he said that the “matter is in court now” and added, “Let me tell you, there is a vast difference between being talented and being disciplined. Talent is all very fine but being disciplined is also very important.”

Kani Kusruti, Chhaya Kadam, Payal Kapadia And Divya Prabha
Kani Kusruti, Chhaya Kadam, Payal Kapadia And Divya Prabha Photo: Vianney Le Caer
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Talking about the disciplinary action taken against Payal, Gajendra said, “I don’t remember correctly if her name was on the chargesheet. But a large group of students had been held and confined, actually hijacked, then then-FTII director Prashant Pathrabe. He was diabetic and was held against his will for 12-14 hrs.”

As for the 139-day strike, the students allegedly confined the then FTII Director Prashant Pathrabe in his office, which led to police arresting some of the protesters. Later, 35 students, including Payal, were booked under Indian Penal Code.

As for her film ‘All We Imagine As Light’, it stars Divya Prabha, Kani Kusruti, Azees Haneefa, Hridhu Haroon, Lovleen Misra and Chhaya Kadam.

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