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Richa Chadha says women technicians facing sexism on film sets is ‘default setting’: ‘We hope to change it’

Richa Chadha has spoken about how sexism continues to be the default behaviour in not only the film industry but also the society at large. The actor recently turned into a producer as she, along with her partner Ali Fazal, started a production company Pushing Buttons Studios last year. They were trying to find an all-women team for their maiden production Girls Will Be Girls when they realised the lack of women in the lighting department. Also Read| Farhan Akhtar, Richa Chadha call out ‘tasteless, twisted minds’ over perfume ads: ‘Does everyone think rape is a joke?’

The couple, along with Girls Will Be Girls’ director Suchi Talati, have now started a workshop called the Undercurrent Lab to train 10 women in the lighting department, and will also be hiring two of them to work on their debut production. In a recent conversation with Hindustan Times, Richa said that she hopes to change things for off-the-camera women workers in the film industry by taking such steps.

Asked if she has ever witnessed women technicians facing sexism on the film sets, she said, “Sexist behaviour is the default setting of our society. It’s very common behaviour. We hope to change that a bit by slowly and slowly by including women in the workplace. That’s how change literally begins. That’s what I want to do.”

About their ongoing workshop teaching women to handle lighting equipment, the actor said, “The experience is great. This is basically a field where there were few women to no women. That’s why we started this, and now because the girls are really learning, we are really feeling happy. We hope to continue this, not just for lighting, but maybe for some other department next.”

Richa was last seen in the Disney+ Hotstar crime mystery drama The Great Indian Murder. She is currently filming for the third instalment of Fukrey, in which she plays Bholi Punjaban. In addition, she has three yet unannounced projects in the pipeline. Her production debut Girls Will Be Girls is also scheduled to start filming in October this year.

Meanwhile, the actor will also complete her 15 years in the industry next year. The actor, who had made her debut with the 2008 comedy film Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!, has said that she considers the 2012 noir gangster saga Gangs of Wasseypur to be her starting point. Looking back at her journey, Richa said, “There have been films that I have enjoyed working on and there have been films I have regretted doing, but it’s all a part of the process, part of growing, learning, figuring out what’s best for you, and then moving on.”

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