Richa Chadha is one of the few actresses who walks the talk when it comes to gender representation in the industry.
She, along with director Shuchi Talati, are setting up an incubation programme for women who hope to work as gaffers in the film industry.
The programme, called ‘Undercurrent Lab’, officially launched, and is a joint partnership between the Women in Film and Television Association, India (WIFT) and one of the largest lighting and grip equipment providers in Bollywood, ‘Light N Light’. This incubation lab has been set up with the objective of introducing more female gaffers in Hindi films.
In its first year, the ‘Undercurrent Lab’ will focus on training 10 women (selected after a rigorous interview process) in lighting for cinema. It will start with a first-of-its-kind, hands-on workshop, where the trainees will learn the art from gaffers and cinematographers from the industry.
After the week long crash course, the girls will be sent out on the field, to work on film sets as trainees. Two of the 10 girls will be placed on the nearly all-women crew on Chadha and Fazal’s maiden production — ‘Girls will be girls’ which shoots from October this year.
“When we set out to have an all-women team, we found that there’s virtually no women who work in the lighting departments in Hindi films. So our associate, Tanya Negi came up with the idea for this workshop,” said Chadha in a statement. “We are starting this training programme for women which aims to increase the participation of women behind the camera. I hope that the initiative seeds in a much larger change in the way things work in this industry.”
Director Shuchi Talati added: “We applied for a grant at Berlinale Talent Footprints in February this year to set up this Lab, and won! The ‘Undercurrent Lab’ will give the opportunity of making a solid career in the lighting department in the film industry, to our ten candidates who have been chosen after a careful series of interviews.”