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Anupam Kher resigns as FTII chairman, cites other professional commitments

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Anupam Kher, who needs to be in the US for a TV show, says he had told Smriti Irani about this commitment at the time of appointment as FTII chairman.

New Delhi: Actor Anupam Kher has resigned as the chairman of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) citing other professional commitments. His decision comes after just a year into his tenure.

In a letter to Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, dated 30 October, Kher said, “I write to you with the intention to, with due notice, resign from the post of the Chairman at FTII, Pune. This decision has not come without considerable thought of the responsibilities expected of me vis-à-vis the time I have at my disposal to execute them.”

According to sources familiar with the development, Kher, who was appointed chairman in October 2017, following the controversial tenure of his predecessor Gajendra Chauhan, was never keen on taking up the post of the chairman. He had, in fact, communicated this to the former I&B Minister Smriti Irani, ThePrint has learnt.

Also read: I&B minister Rathore may not reverse ‘arbitrary transfer’ of officers by Irani in one go

Smriti Irani knew

In his letter to Rathore, Kher said, “At the time when I was officially approached by the former I&B Minister, Smt. Smriti Irani to be appointed as the Chairman, I did share with her that I was due to be stationed in the US for nearly 6 months for an international TV show.

“The latest news now is that the show has been given a further extension of 4 months,” he said. “This translates into me being stationed in the US for nearly 9 months between 2018 and 2019 and then for a similar period for a minimum of three years more.” (Sic)

He has added that holding the position of chairman given these commitments would be unfair. “Given this assignment, it would not be fair to me, the students and management team for me to hold a position of such accountability, without being actively involved in the operations.”

In the letter, he said that he would be serving the notice period, during which the government should scout for someone suitable for the position.

The one-year tenure

Kher, whose acting career spans over 35 years, was appointed FTII chairman six months after the post fell vacant.

While his appointment was welcomed by many, students at FTII had said his professional credentials notwithstanding, Kher had been appointed due to his proximity to the BJP.

Earlier this week, it had been reported that Kher had held the first general society meeting since his appointment to discuss issues being faced by students after directions from the central government. The chairman is supposed to hold three such meetings in a year.

Kher has been a vocal supporter of the Narendra Modi government, while his wife, Kirron Kher is a BJP MP.

The 63-year old has recently wrapped up shooting for the film Accidental Prime Minister in which he plays the role of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

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