The Nair Group's Interim Report (Ch 6 - 7)
Priority Corrective Measures
The GoE has been entrusted with the task of creating a master plan to revitalise and upgrade the FTII. That plan will look at the larger picture and the long term growth of the Institute.
In the meanwhile, we propose certain corrective measures to be undertaken on a priority basis, to tackle the crisis caused by the backlog and bring the FTII back to its normal state of three batches at any given time, by March 2013.
6.1 Proposed schedules for completion of pending exercises
Through a series of consultations with the heads of the four departments: Direction, Camera, Sound and Editing and meetings with students of batches admitted in 2007, 2008 and 2009, the GoE has attempted to devise a set of detailed work schedules which would bring the backlog to an end. Where there is shortage of equipment due to clashing demands, we have indicated the requirements for financial support. To reduce costs, we have also attempted to negotiate with alumni for discounts on equipment and facilities owned by them.
This has involved going back and forth between the concerned groups in order to arrive at a common consensus. In a situation where people are on edge and mistrustful, this agreement is taking time to take shape, but a reasonable time line has been charted. What is tentatively arrived at is represented by the schedules that follow.
6.2 Batch-wise review till completion
S no. Batch by admission yr Schedule detail
1 2006 Diploma schedule
Batch passes out by June, 2011
2 2007 Playback song schedule
2007 Diploma schedule
Batch passes out by March, 2012
3 2008 2nd year Dialogue schedule
2008 2nd year Documentary schedule
2008 3rd year Playback song schedule
2008 3rd year Diploma schedule
Batch passes out by Sept, 2012
4 2009 2nd year Action exercise schedule
2009 2nd year Dramatic exercise schedule
2009 2nd year Dialogue exercise schedule
2009 2nd year Documentary schedule
2009 3rd year Playback song schedule
2009 3rd year Diploma schedule
Batch passes out by March, 2013
These schedules are detailed in Appendix D: step-wise, from submission of script until release print.
Also attached in Appendix D are the academic year calendar and a comprehensive timeline chart for the 2007, 2008 and 2009 batches for an overview of the entire backlog, including various practicals and workshops of all courses. The students of all the batches have also been consulted and have been given these schedules for their review.
To regain the smooth functioning of this place, it is paramount that these schedules are stuck to and executed properly. Slippages are bound to occur, so skillful adjustments have to be made as problems arise.
The stress and shortage is making people despairing and cynical. Fault-finding and blaming marked our conversations with faculty, students and staff, vitiating the ambience of a place devoted to learning and creativity. The state of the community was aptly summed up by a faculty member: “No one is happy on this campus”. The next crisis that arises may well lead to closure. This may be the last chance we have to re-organise the Institute, and it should not be missed.
6.3 Emergency infrastructure requirements with budget outlay
As explained in the previous chapters, the resources and infrastructure of the Institute are stretched to their limits. The numbers of students have increased, the backlog is continuously piling up. It is clear that the existing infrastructure, equipment, teachers and support staff are inadequate to cope with the workload at present. Resources must be obtained from outside on an emergency basis. This must be done by hiring extra equipment, manpower, studios, mentors and any other infrastructure that may be required. Funds must be sanctioned for this purpose.
The following resources are urgently needed:
6.3.1 Cameras: The schedule demands 2-5 simultaneous shootings during a period of 16 months from 14 February 2011 to 13 June 2012.
As such, two Arriflex 435 cameras need to be hired or purchased urgently, to augment the available equipment. If the Institute decides to purchase cameras, a provision should be made for rental of two Arri 435s for at least 100 shooting days over 6 months, until the new cameras arrive. There are also options available online to buy these cameras second hand, at one fifth the cost. The comparative costs of hire and purchase are mentioned in Appendix E.
6.3.2 Lights: Similarly, two extra units of lights, over and above those available with the Institute, are required for a period of 16 months. The comparative costs of hire and purchase of lights are mentioned in Appendix E.
6.3.3 Lightmen: To operate the extra lights, two units of five lightmen and one electrician each, are required for a period of 16 months.
6.3.4 Mobile generators: With simultaneous shooting, and to overcome existing shortages, more power is needed on location. Twomobile generators of 80/120 kw are required to be either hired or purchased. The relative costs are mentioned in Appendix E.
6.3.5 Fixed generator: Since power breakdowns and load shedding are frequent in Pune and schedules are often interrupted on their account, purchase of a 250 kw fixed generator is recommended to tide over power outages for shootings and post-production on the campus.
6.3.6 Vehicles: The Institute is suffering a shortage of vehicles at present. With more simultaneous activity, there will be an even greater need for transportation. Purchase and/or hire of additional vehicles is recommended, as outlined in Appendix E.
GraFTII, the FTII Alumni Association, has made a proposal to provide logistical support for the clearing of the backlog. The ex-students have volunteered to make available equipment, studios and other resources from among their network at highly discounted rates, and these offers should be examined by the Institute.
6.4 Monitoring mechanisms for effective implementation
6.4.1 Since so many productions are taking place simultaneously, it is essential to take the services of two line producers to ensure that the schedules run on track. They are needed for a minimum period of 16 months, where the greatest crowding and possibilities for slippage occur. They have to be given the authority to take crucial decisions on the spot and make adjustments as required.
6.4.2 There is an extraordinary bottleneck in post-production sound. Students report difficulty with sync sound recording, dubbing, track laying and mixing. Two sound mentors are recommended for a minimum period of 16 months to guide sync shooting and post production processes.
6.4.3 One of the crucial reasons for projects getting delayed is unpreparedness with scripts. Two script mentors are recommended for the 2007, 2008 & 2009 batches. They would come to the campus for 10 days every month, for a period of 16 months and be available through e-mail for consultations as required.
Details of personnel to be hired, their estimated salaries and other costs are mentioned in Appendix E.
6.5 Enforce discipline and accountability
The present grave crisis that the institute faces is the outcome of a total lack of discipline and accountability. Everyone involved in the exercise of preparing and implementing the revised schedule (students, faculty, staff and administration) should feel equally responsible and maintain self discipline to ensure that the schedules are kept up.
Full accountability must be enforced for the staff and all those supervising the students’ work as well the students. In case discipline is breached by anyone, quick and firm action must be taken in a transparent manner.
6.6 Strictly curb absenteeism of students and faculty
6.6.1 Students who cannot be present at the appointed time for workshops, practicals and especially for the completion of projects (for shooting, editing and sound mixing), must obtain written permission in advance from the Heads of their Departments. If leave is granted, the HoD must ensure that the work carries on uninterrupted in the student’s absence. If necessary, pending work should be completed without the concerned student, with her/his work assigned to a faculty member.
In cases of absence leading to re-scheduling or delays, the concerned student’s absence should reflect in the evaluation done for that project.
6.6.2 Faculty members who remain absent from their posts must inform the administration about the reasons in writing. Even if their paid leave is due, service rules should be adhered to; and leave granted to teachers only if their absence does not affect the timely completion of students’ work. Leave should not be granted if students would be left unsupervised in their absence.Faculty members must show team spirit and co-operate with this system, as a part of their responsibility towards clearing the backlog. It is only when they lead by example, can they enforce any discipline among their students.
6.7 Set clear norms for the Film Acting students' diploma films and make sure that they are completed on time
Urgent attention must be paid to the year ending projects of the Film Acting students. At present, it is unclear from their syllabus when and how their Diploma films are to be made, and they are commissioned in an arbitrary way without any fixed norms. These films also get inordinately delayed in the making, and add to the backlog crisis.
Clear norms must be set and adhered to for the Acting course's films. These must be communicated properly to all concerned, and completed in a time bound manner.
6.8 Keep fresh admissions on hold until the backlog is cleared
Keeping in mind the revised schedule and to avoid crowding and new backlogs, fresh admissions must be put on hold until the pending 2005 & 2006 batches have left the campus. Fresh admissions must also be restricted to July or January of each year, and no batches must be admitted in between, so that the academic year and semesters can be fixed.
6.9 Reconvene the Syllabus Review Committees and complete the review process
6.9.1 The process of Syllabus Review must be completed. The Syllabus Review Committees must be reconvened and asked to complete their work before any new syllabi are introduced and the recommendations endorsed by the members of the Committees.
6.9.2 The syllabus for the Acting, Art Direction and Screenplay Writing courses, as well as the TV Wing's courses must be reviewed properly and approved by the Academic Council. Thesecourses were not included in the 2009 syllabus review exercise.
6.9.2 The administration must ensure that all infrastructure is properly in place for the correct implementation of the new syllabus, before bringing it into effect.
6.10 Ensure that FTII continues to live up to its worldwide reputation
The Governing Council should be conscious that the Institute no longer enjoys the reputation that it did in the past. If the present situation is allowed to drag on and no immediate corrective measures are taken, the FTII could lose its position as the premiere Indian institute of national and international repute for learning the art and technique of cinema.
Planning for the physical environment of the three campuses
Master Plans for the three FTII campuses (original Prabhat Studio premises on both sides of Law College Road and the 'new' campus across the hill acquired in the early 80s) were finalised by the end of 2006 and were approved by the Governing Council. However, since then they have merely remained on paper.
Such an institutional campus cannot be seen as a series of isolated buildings, but these should be located harmoniously within a big picture of the overall environment. Such a plan, in fact should be the physical manifestation of the vision of the Institute for the present and the future, representing the aspirations of those who study and teach here, as well as the film making community of the nation.
Unfortunately, the existing structures on the F.T.I.I. campuses have come up in a piecemeal fashion, without any systematic thinking and today we find almost no options left for further building on the two campuses on either side of Law College Road.
In this report we will refer to the three campuses as Prabhat (with the original studios), Sharan (with residences across the road) and Darshan (for the new campus across the hill).
7.2 The current status
7.2.1 Over the past four decades, after the FTII came into being, several buildings: the Boys' Hostel, the Director’s residence, the Girls' Hostel, TV Building, Editing and Sound Buildings came up on the Prabhat campus. At the Sharan campus a TV hostel was and two constructions are ongoing at present. On the Darshan campus are the staff quarters and buildings owned by Doordarshan and NFAI.
They are all built in an ad hoc manner with no future expansion in mind. It appears they were built hastily, almost accidentally when funds were released and had to be spent in a limited time. Their construction seems to ignore site-specific data like contours and natural features, built as they are in response to immediate and desperate needs.
For example, in the Director's residence, there is no thought for privacy of bed rooms, designed as it is with the kitchen and service entry at the far end of the approach road. The garage was so built that vehicles have to go all around the residence on a tar road that had to be constructed as an afterthought. The hostels were designed and built without any concept of community space and without recognising the timing of it usage for 24 hours (against limited working hours of academic and amenity spaces).
We were told that prevailing norms have compelled the Institute to function through the Civil Construction Wing (CCW) of All India Radio and architectural decisions have been most often arbitrarily taken by people without the required training or sensibility.
7.2.2 Our enquiries revealed that there has never been any assessment of existing space usage, internal circulation, movement to and from buildings and interaction with other buildings and activities on the campus. Such a space audit is today a mandatory part of any management plan. In the Institute, a large part of such data is oral, based on actual usage, and not documented in any manner.
For example, the Draft MOU with Doordarshan provides for substantial use of the studio by TV students. This additional facility could relieve the requirements of the Prabhat campus.
Likewise, the NFAI has built vaults with 25% of the space reserved for FTII use. Existing space on the Prabhat campus should be vacated and all film stock, negatives etc stored in the vaults at Darshan. This would free up space on the Prabhat campus for academic use.
7.2.3 Sometime in 2003, a Master Plan was initiated in response to this situation of congestion and haphazard growth. This consisted of a set of specific drawings and particular guidelines for the future. The effort continued for a few years (including meetings with the then Secretary of the I & B Ministry) ending in late 2006 with a proposal for a new Main Theatre (MT) and Class Room Theatre (CRT). This plan was approved by the GC and signed by the Director for presentation to the Pune Municipal Corporation for its sanction.
In the course of making this proposal, it was discovered that the FTII had already given an undertaking to the Pune Municipal Corporation to demolish the Main Theatre before the completion of the sound building as the construction violated minimum regulations for fire fighting and emergency movement around the building. Non compliance with this undertaking has prevented the certification of the sound building which in turn obstructs the necessary insurance cover, apart from continuing to be a safety hazard.
In the meanwhile, the CCW scrutinised the proposal for a new Main Theatre for almost a year. The financial sanction was finally received sometime in late 2007, but in early 2008 this was summarily set aside at the behest of the Ministry with the reasoning that the Archives Theatre (seating only 195) was ready and therefore the FTII did not require another theatre. No further comment is needed here regarding the process of construction on the campus.
7.3.1 Today, the Prabhat campus is in a state of saturation with only the playground at the entrance left as a true open space. The condition can be somewhat relieved by initiating a process of reconstruction that will consist of structural and financial assessments, demolition of the most redundant structures and detailed design projections of alternative developments.
It is recommended that the plan for a new Main Theatre (MT) and Class Room Theatre (CRT) already approved by the GC is revived and sanctioned, and necessary technical processes be initiated for implementation. If this is done efficiently, demolition linked with construction of proposed buildings could be undertaken for completion of the new structures within 24 months, that is by December 2012.
7.3.2 The following four structures have outlived their original purpose: existing Main Theatre, Director’s bungalow, the Girls' hostel and the original Prabhat Chawl on the Sharan campus. Additional ad hoc structures like toilet blocks and sheds that are unaesthetic as well as illegal should also be removed at this time.
The first three of the above list are neither original Prabhat period buildings nor do they have any heritage, artistic or utilitarian value. They all have load bearing walls, without potential for major alterations or adding of floors above. The Prabhat Chawl is already in a dilapidated condition and should be vacated.
7.3.3 A clearer policy for building residential areas is required; hostels, staff, director and guest rooms should form an integrated residential community and should not be isolated as individual units in different parts of the campus. This will be possible only on the new 36 acre Darshan campus across the hill.
7.4 Action plan
7.4.1 Prabhat Campus
126.96.36.199 As with most campuses of any stature, we need to control vehicular traffic, which currently reaches every doorstep, creating pollution, disturbance and obstructs efficient working on the campus. A larger pedestrian foot-print will lead to a greater balance with the environment. An ecologically sound plan has to be created in consultation with the whole community for it to be truly effective. This will include maintaining a service link to every structure, a system for recycling garbage and biodegradable natural debris, disposing of plastic and other ecological concerns.
188.8.131.52 Demolition of the Main Theatre (in keeping with the undertaking given to the Pune Municipal Corporation) will create a central pedestrian plaza in the middle of the campus. This will provide a much needed focus and a community gathering space around the Wisdom Tree area that could be used for open air meetings and outdoor screenings and concerts on special occasions.
This existing and approved plan also indicates organised parking on the outer periphery of the playground, an open air amphitheatre and isolation of vehicular traffic from the central core of the campus. This space could be developed into an eco-friendly pedestrian zone.
184.108.40.206 Demolition of the ladies hostel and director’s residence and construction of a four storied hostel with a central kitchen and dining hall (instead of the three existing kitchens, and a fourth one under construction) and a penthouse level residence for the director.
220.127.116.11 The area facing the Law College Road (now the Director’s residence,) should be seen as a Phase II structure with art gallery, multiplex theatre (that NFDC and the CFSI could be invited to operate,) book shop, conference room and other requirements of future FTII outreach programmes.
18.104.22.168 The top floors of the TV building have been designed for additional construction. The College of Engineering has also certified that sloping roofs and light weight blocks can be used for such additions. One such floor on the west wing of the TV building will provide 10,000 sq ft and can be ready within six months.
There is an existing sanction of Rs. 2 crores for a resource centre that can be provided within this TV building instead of breaking fresh ground elsewhere. Our recommendation is that after an appropriate design review, the resource centre be located on the ground floor and other spaces be redistributed within the building.
22.214.171.124 The Sound building requires some internal modifications and acoustic treatments with the aim of putting all sound students into one building. This will require a relocation of the Radio FTII.
126.96.36.199 The Classroom Theatre (CRT) building requires some upgrading and modifications that will provide the Direction department with an integrated space and their own identity.
7.4.2 Sharan Campus
188.8.131.52 The top floor of the TV hostel can accommodate an additional floor. Such an addition will accommodate 72 beds in single, double and triple seaters, and can be ready within six months.
184.108.40.206 We understand that VIP quarters and a fourth common kitchen is being constructed on the Sharan campus though we have not had the benefit of studying the plans. This seems an ad hoc and ill-considered step. House-keeping in such guest-houses requires full-time professional work and is not viable on a small scale. Given the prevailing practices, VIPs are likely to be lodged in hotels nearby for their comfort. We recommend that this construction be suspended immediately and this building be re-designed to meet one of the more immediate housing needs of the Institute.
220.127.116.11 There is also a new hostel under construction with 40 triple seater rooms for 120 students, for which plans have not been made available to the GoE. It has a history. A garden and playground was proposed on a vacant debris ridden plot by some staff members, towards the end of 2009. The Director responded to the idea and inspected the open spaces in the Sharan campus and responded positively asking for a proposal and an estimate. The plan included parking along the main road wall that would have left the remaining area free of vehicles.
After some initial work on leveling the land and clearing stones and other debris began, it was announced that a hostel was now going to be built on the area being prepared. The residents took up the issue with the Director, making alternative suggestions, however they were overruled without any discussion. The staff also withdrew from the issue for fear of victimisation and construction began in March 2010.
The planting of 120 students in the midst of an already crowded staff residential area without any holding or spill over area is most unfortunate. We were told that two floors are being completed on an emergency basis to accommodate 60 newly admitted students of 2010, while work will continue on two floors above. This is technically an unviable, unsafe and wasteful method of building. Since the building already stands, we recommend that construction activity be halted at the current height making it a floor less than planned and the terrace be made into a roof top garden for the residents of the Sharan campus.
7.4.3 Darshan Campus
18.104.22.168 At present to reach the Darshan campus a person exits the FTII campus on Law College Road, travels to Nal Stop via Karve Road and the flyover to Paud Road, takes a U turn, crosses through several narrow lanes, to reach the new campus, at a distance of 4 km.
Integration of the Prabhat campus with the 36 acre new campus Darshan across the hill, is a requirement for convenient use. The cost of a subway and underpass to provide a private link of 300 metres between the two campuses may be compared to the fuel and transport expenses of going the 4 km distance by existing roads and the former seems a better investment in the long term. The proposed subway and underpass will be 150 meters long and the rest of the route will be under the open sky.
Linking the two campuses like this has multiple benefits. A permanent connection will, in effect, make the two campuses into one contiguous space and the connection could be for pedestrian and bicycles with motor vehicles used only for emergencies and transport of heavy equipment. This link could be used as an intriguing location for shooting: as a tunnel, underpass and other underground structures.
22.214.171.124 The new campus has undulating natural contours and a substantial tree cover. Both these features will enable water harvesting and development of a lake inside a dense but compact forest area. This will be a boon for shooting, being a noise-free, isolated outdoor locale conveniently located within a city, yet suitable for sync sound work.
126.96.36.199 In view of the dilapidated condition of the Prabhat Chawls and the staff quarters on the Sharan campus, we recommend development of residential and community spaces that will include the existing staff building. The estimated budget provides for 20,000 square feet.
188.8.131.52 Lastly, we recommend building two modern, multi purpose studios with service and infrastructure facilities. There have been suggestions for more elaborate shooting facilities with structures for permanent rural and urban street settings, a market, a railway station etc but these need not be taken up immediately. The development of the natural assets of the property are in themselves an invaluable asset for use by the Institute as well as for generating substantial income at minimum expense through outside productions and events.
A preliminary estimate for proposed changes & developments to the physical environment of the three FTII campusesis given in Appendix F.
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