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When the acting course at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) had its first run in the mid-seventies, the course didn't just produce stars like Jaya Bachchan and Shatrughan Sinha, amongst others who went on to soar in Hindi cinema , but also a brilliant bunch of actors like Om Puri, Shabana Azmi, Satish Shah who chose to defy convention and create the trend of parallel cinema. They were however tagged as 'art film' actors and did not receive their due in mainstream cinema.
However, when the course was restarted in 2004, even though this tag stuck on, the actors who have passed out in recent years have managed to not just shrug it off and enter mainstream cinema, but also gather attention for their acting. The students in fact are treading the thin line of doing mainstream roles but not at the cost of their core acting ideologies.
Just a few years back, movies like 'Pyaar ka Punchnama', 'Shor in the City' and 'Ragini MMS' announced the arrival of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) students--Rajkumar Yadav, Pitobhash Tripathi and Divyendu Sharma-- on the silver screen. FTII graduates are not just diversifying their own genres in mainstream cinema but are also moving to other avenues like the small screen and commercial theatre.
Take the case of Shirin Guha, who passed out in 2011 from the institute. Having completed shooting for 'Lootere', opposite Ranvir Singh, she says she was clear about her profession. "Art, expression and serious cinema are very important elements of film-making, but so is the financial aspect . It wouldn't translate well if we are making films that no one watches, or which flop. That was a reason why I knew I would be 'okay' doing films or cinema that are mainstream. But that is subject to the condition that my views as an actor are not compromised upon. Commercialisation cannot come at the cost of art and vice-versa."