Veteran actress-activist Shabana Azmi has said an individual’s qualification should be the criteria for selection to key posts in cultural institutions like the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII).
Azmi, a former student of the Pune-based institute, said FTII has the legacy of being headed by eminent personalities like Shyam Benegal and U R Ananthmurthy.
“BJP may want to put somebody of their own in a particular position. But qualification is something which we need to pay much more attention,” she said during a recent interview to a Malayalam television channel.
“We had persons of the quality of Shyam Benegal, U R Ananthmurthy and Mrinal Sen in FTII. So, there has to be people with such qualifications,” she said while replying to a question on recent controversies regarding the Centre’s decision to appoint Gajendra Chauhan as FTII chief.
The five-time National Award-winning actress also expressed concern over shrinking liberal space in the country.
“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 doing absolutely nothing to denounce those who are making retrograde remarks.”
On the fatwa issued by a Mumbai-based Muslim outfit against music maestro A R Rahman, Azmi said she strongly stands in solidarity with the Oscar winning musician. But, the 65-year-old actress felt that the media should not have given prominence to such an act by a low-profile outfit.
“I strongly stand in solidarity with Rahman in the issue.
The outfit which issued the fatwa does not enjoy any weight within the community. So, I will urge media that do not jump into anything taking even things that are said by inconsequential people,” she said.
Azmi, known for her iconic performances in films like “Ankur”, “Paar” and “Godmother”, also recalled a fatwa issued against her by some fundamental groups for tonsuring her head for a movie.