Not Just in Hollywood

Women filmmakers and crew are breaking into Bollywood as well— and doing a damn good job of it.

The Female Spine of Bollywood is an excellent article from India's independent weekly new mag, Tehelka. They interview professional Indian female filmmakers from every department, on and off set, from executive producers to sound technicians. And of course, cinematographers.

Among the DP's featured in the article are Pooja Sharma (Homage) who’s set to assist on Tigmanshu Dhulia’s next film, and Savita Singh (Phoonk).

“We work odd, long hours and senior female cinematographers who have families do opt to take on less work. But this is a lifestyle you choose,” says cinematographer Pooja Sharma (32) who, like every other female technician, watches what she wears on set. “I wear cargos and dark t-shirts. There are all sorts of people on set and they might make comments, so I always wear something loose. You are still in a minority — sometimes there are three women among 50 men, so you have to be no-nonsense.”

Savita Singh (28), Director of Photography (DOP) on Ram Gopal Verma’s Phoonk, insists her experience has been better than expected. “I had heard that biases in Mumbai were huge, but when I came here, people were always pleasantly surprised that I was doing my job seriously. [. . .] I didn’t have to fight any bias because seniors like Deepti Gupta (Honeymoon Travels) and Chennai’s Fawzia Fatima (Mitra, My Friend), have already done that. I’m competing with people of any gender regardless.”

It's a really great article and a good insight into the changing dynamic of Bollywood film sets.

It's been hard to find a lot of information on these Indian girl DP's. I've linked what I can above. I also did some digging around and found some still photos of the movie Mudhal Mudhal Mudhal Varai that Fawzia Fatima shot. Her lighting looks very beautiful!


camerawali said...

Hi LH,
Came across your blog becasue it popped up as i was searching for some info about 8mm, and was surprised to find an article on Indian DoPs (the female ones!)
Interesting posts and your colour correction on those two stillsis nice!Would love to see your work if there's any online!

LH said...

Hi! Glad you're here, and that you liked the post!

Pooja Sharma said...

Nice to see your interest in women technicians around the globe :)
We did only schedule of Paan Singh Tomar eventually. There were some date clashes with another film, 'Peepli Live' that we moved onto, and the DoP that I used to assist had to give it up. However Peepli Live has been doing quite well, it was invited to Sundance and Berlin Film Festivals. Do catch it if you get a chance.
All the best!