Early this week, Sudhakar Reddy Yakkanti joined 23 other luminaries in the continuing protests against the alleged atmosphere of intolerance in the country. Cinematographer and scriptwriter Yakkanti is the winner of a Special Jury prize (for the short film, Ek Aakash) and he insists the latest “award waapsi” action is not politically motivated at all. And oh, he’s a former student of the protest-hit Film and Television Institute of India.
“We are keen on resolving the FTII issue because ever since the issue has come up the government has not taken any stand. So we are a couple of members from the film industry, who belong to FTII, and who are hoping the government takes a positive stand,” Yakkanti said in an email interview to Deccan Chronicle.
FTII students have been protesting the appointment of television actor Gajendra Chauhan as the institute’s chairman. Yakkanti adds there is no individual leading this group of 24 — including veteran filmmakers Saeed Mirza, Kundan Shah and writer Arundhati Roy — who lodged their official protests at a press conference on Thursday.
“It’s just that we are using our freedom to speech and expression. No solution has been found for the FTII problem. The students themselves have tried discussions with the government — but these meets have not been fruitful.
“The smooth running of the institute is what we care about. We are part of the film fraternity and it’s just a fight against the prevailing injustice — it’s not that we are dishonouring anyone by returning our Award. This Award is important for each one of us.”
Yakkanti was born in Guntur, in AP. “I’m living with my family in Mumbai now. Having passed out from FTII, after I directed Ek Aakash, there has been no looking back for me. I was the cinematographer for the Telugu film, Madhumasam. I have been the cinematographer for a couple of Hindi and Marathi films as well and I’m also doing a Marathi film currently.
“But I keep going to Pune for shoots and have met the students at FTII. All I hope is that our action prompts a permanent solution.”
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