Tharoor to Modi: Withdraw 'cases' against Payal Kapadia if India is proud of her

Tharoor to Modi: Withdraw 'cases' against Payal Kapadia if India is proud of her

New Delhi | Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Tuesday took a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi after he hailed director Payal Kapadia for winning the Grand Prix award at the Cannes Film Festival, asking if India is proud of her, shouldn't his government immediately withdraw the "cases" against her and fellow FTII students.

Last week, Kapadia became the first Indian filmmaker to win the Grand Prix award, the second highest honour at the 77th Cannes Film Festival, for her Malayalam-Hindi feature film "All We Imagine As Light". Following the win, Modi had said the country is proud of her.

Back in 2015, Kapadia was one of the protesting students who went on strike to oppose actor-politician Gajendra Chauhan's appointment as the chairperson of the Pune-based Film and Television Institute of India (FTII).

In a post on X, Tharoor said, "Modi ji, if India is proud of her, should your government not immediately #WithdrawTheCases against her and fellow FTII students protesting against your government's arbitrary appointment of an unqualified Chairman?"

Tharoor's remarks came in response to Modi's post on X on May 26 in which he wrote, "India is proud of Payal Kapadia for her historic feat of winning the Grand Prix at the 77th Cannes Film Festival for her work 'All We Imagine as Light'. An alumnus of FTII, her remarkable talent continues to shine on the global stage, giving a glimpse of the rich creativity in India. This prestigious accolade not only honours her exceptional skills but also inspires a new generation of Indian filmmakers."

According to protesting students in 2015, Chauhan did not match the vision and stature of past chairmen of the FTII governing council, and his appointment appeared "politically coloured".

During the 139-day strike, the students had also allegedly gheraoed and confined the then FTII director Prashant Pathrabe in his office over some academic issues. This had led to the police entering the campus and arresting some of the protesters.

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