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With the death of big studios since the late 70s, film production work based on artisanal practices – carpentry, prop making, costume making, banner painting, etc. – gets fragmented across small sweatshops around shooting locations (Goregaon, Andheri, Dadar and Chembur). These sweatshops function through some holes in the walls, both in industrial zones and residential areas.

In the late ‘90s, with the advent of digital technology, post-production studios – for editing, dubbing, sound mixing, sub-titling, mastering, duplicating, etc. – too shrink into small kiosks in the bazaars and residential areas . Adarsh Nagar, a shanty town adjacent to the upmarket Lokhandwala Complex, becomes a media industry zone.

Thus the labour inputs into the semi-industrialized cinema production become even more unorganized and scattered. To cope with this situation a number of craft based associations get formed. The associations protect the economic rights of its members to a limited extent but more importantly, keep the newly arrived aspirants at bay.

The Sweatshops

The Sweatshops

What is common between a stud farm attendant, a Kazakh dancer, a computer technician, a home based catering outfit and a unit that specializes in stitching buttons to fashion outfits? They all work for the cinema industry of Bombay. Many of them are unregistered and hence their minimum wages constantly fluctuate. These workshops are as transitory in their make shift structures as the workers are with their abstract Bollywood aspirations.

Below is one of the videos on ID cards, made as part of The Western Suburbs installation art work.


Union Chronology

Union Chronology     

1932     Motion Picture Society of India

1937     IMPPA first film trade union

1938     South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce
The Indian Motion Picture Distributor’s Association

1939     Motion Picture Congress brings all allied unions together

1940     Film Advisory Board

1941     Motion Picture Association founded in Delhi

1943     Cine Technician Association of South India

1949     Cine Agents Combine
Films Division

1951     Censor Board

1952     Cine Musicians Association

1953    Western Indian Cinematographers Association
Association of Film Editors

1954   Film and Television Producers Guild of India Ltd
The Film Writers Association

1956     FWICE (parent body of all 22 film union Bombay)

1958     Cine Artists’ Association
Cine Dancers Association
Indian Film Directors Association

1959     Federation of Film Society of India registered under Societies registration act 1860

1962     Cine Still Photographers Association
Western Indian Motion Picture Sound Engineers Association
Cine Costume & Make-up Artistes Association

1963     Indian Motion Picture Export Corporation to negotiate with Hollywood distributors

1964     Junior Artistes Association

1967     Cine Singers Association

1974     Movie Stunt Artists Association

1975     Indian Film Dance Director’s Association
Mahila Kalakar Sangh (split from Junior Artistes Association)

1978     Association of Cine & TV Advertising Production Executives

1980     Cine Music Director’s Association

1981     Cine Workers Welfare CESS ACT, 1981

1983     Film Studio Setting & Allied Mazdoor Union

1984     Movie Actions Dummys & Effects Association
Producer’s Guild stops work for 21 days to protest taxes- Government gives in

1986     Film Federation of India appeals for recognition as an industry

2000     Association of Voice Artistes

2008     Workers protest against producers for not paying on time
Maharashtra Navnirman Cine Workers’ Association

2011     1,39,025 members- FWICE
10,000 members- MNCWA

For a more detailed history read “Manufacturing Cinema: Control, Dispute, Workers’ Rights” by Shikha Pandey from “Project Cinema City” (Eds. Madhusree Dutta, Rohan Shivkumar & Kaushik Bhaumik; Tulika Books 2013)


Demographic Locations

Demographic Locations

This series spots various professions and spaces that are involved in the filmmaking process into the city map.

Map Credit: KRVIA Design Cell.