Hindi News

Anupam Kher On Heading FTII: ‘I&B Minister Smriti Irani Has No Problem With Me Running My Acting Institute’

Actor and Film and Television Institute of India’s (FTII) new chairman, Anupam Kher, has said that Information and Broadcasting Minister, Smriti Irani, had no qualms about him heading a government institution despite him running his own private acting institute.


The Indian Express reports him speaking at the Aaj Tak Manthan, where he reveals that he himself had concerns over taking up the post, despite Irani’s assurance.

“I got a call from Irani where she told me you’ve to chair this. I thought there was no discussion. We all can run away from any situation but I said if I can make a difference then why not. I told her that I travel a lot, I have my own acting schools, these are the things I want to inform you. She said, ‘No problem, you do it,” he said.

Kher was appointed as the new chairman of FTII on October 11, taking over from Gajendra Chauhan. Kher, who has been in the industry for over 30 years, also served as the former chairperson of the National School of Drama and runs an acting school – Actor Prepares.

The actor credits his experience running a private acting school for taking up the position as chairman of another institute. “If I did not have my own school maybe I wouldn’t have been qualified to be the chairman of this place. I am very proud of the fact that I’ve got my own school. Fourteen years back I started that school with eight students, in a 8 by 10 room. I thought I must open an acting school because while working with newcomers I realised they were so nervous. With eight students, today I have three floors of the school, every three months a batch of 120 students pass, we do students workshops. So if I can take that institute and bring it to this level, why can’t I make a contribution here?”


The previous chairman, Gajendra Chauhan, became a part of FTII in 2015 but his stint was regarded as one of the most controversial ones. A section of students thought his appointment was a blatant attempt to “saffronise the institute”, and there were a lot agitations as a result. Students also felt that Chauhan wasn’t qualified to hold the prestigious position.

In March this year, Chauhan ceased to be the chairman of the institute.

Kher, on the other hand, received Padma Shri in 2004 and the Padma Bhushan in 2016 for his contribution in cinema and arts.