Richa Chadha launches ‘Undercurrent Lab’ to promote women gaffers in cinema

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Richa Chadha is a powerhouse of talent and one formidable star in Bollywood who puts her money where her mouth is when it comes to gender equality and representation in the Indian film industry.

As per latest reports, she is collaborating with filmmaker Shuchi Talati to set up an incubation programme for women who want to work in the lighting part (gaffers) in the movie industry.

Their programme is called, ‘Undercurrent Lab’ and it has been officially launched today, June 13, 2022. This is a joint partnership between WIFT (Women In Film and Television) and one of India’s leading grip and lighting equipment provider ‘Light N Light’.

This incubation lab has been set up with the primary objective of bringing in more female gaffers in Hindi movies. As per their plan, in the first year, this lab will focus on training around ten women – who will be selected after a meticulous screening process, and groom them to take on the role of gaffers for movies.

This is a unique, never-seen-before, workshop where the trainees will get hands on experience and learning from established cinematographers and gaffers of the industry.

After a week’s worth of crash course, the girls will be sent out for field work and will work on movies as trainees in the light department.

Two out of the ten girls also get the opportunity to be part of Chadha and beau Ali Fazal’s all-women crew maiden production venture – ‘Girls will be girls’, the shoot for which is slate to commence in October 2022.

Actor Richa Chadha, who is the founder of ‘Undercurrent Lab’ said, “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. 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.”

Shuchi Talati who is collaborating on this also 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 us 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. We are thankful to folks at Arri, Berlinale, Light and Light and Gratitude House for coming on board to help us pro-bono.”

The studio has been sponsored by Light N Light and this project has been backed by Mastercard and Berlinale Talents. The ‘Undercurrent Lab’ will take place between June 13 and June 18, 2022.

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