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Beware! She shoots

JAM meets Anamika Nandy who has carved her success story in the male dominated world of videography and camera crews

Describe your journey so far. Was it tough?
I got interested in the field of videography after working on a documentary film in Sophia College in Mumbai during my post graduation. Commercial films did not appeal to me, so I applied for jobs in documentary filmmaking or news channels. The funny part is that many news channels refused to hire me for their camera team, and offered me the feature section, which was silly. I refused to them.
Two years ago, I gave an interview at UTVi (now BloombergUTV) and the interviewers were surprised to hear my choice of career. However, they realised that I was dedicated and gave me my much-needed break in the field. I am still working with BloombergUTV, in spite of being offered bigger pay packages by other companies. Today, I proudly stand as the 3rd camera woman in Delhi.

Have people finally accepted you in the profession?
Honestly speaking, I did have initial hiccups because when I would be assigned to do a report, my team would show slight hesitation. It was only after looking at my work did they come around to trust me. I was lucky to get great colleagues at the Bombay office, who would actually call me irrespective of the time and force me to come for shoots with them so that I learnt all the tricks of the trade. I end up working for over 12 hours a day, as in the news field one cannot miss a beat.
Women are often not sent to cover hard stories due to safety reasons. I faced this too! Such a situation first arose during the unfortunate 26/11 terror attacks. Although I was early in office that day, I wasn’t sent to the spot. After much protest, I was finally allowed to go. My first location was the Taj and I manned the Trident single-handedly till next morning.

Was your family supportive enough?
My family has always been supportive of my choices, but my mother feels that I should think of doing still photography because in the long run videography does take a toll on your health. Your spine goes for a toss due to carrying heavy equipments, and many times you are running to cover a story. My family has been supportive and in fact, they are proud of me.Share one interesting fact about your work.The actual shooting time is much more than what one would sees on the TV. For instance, a two-minute story generally requires shooting over 40 minute footage depending on the subject, which is then edited.

Would you encourage other women to pursue this as a profession?
Of course! The feeling you get while competing in an all man’s territory and beating them at their own game is crazy. It’s a great feeling when you start and people from the field recognise your talent. Many times, I reach a locati-on and other camera people from other channels come and appreciate my work.
On the other hand, the job can be professionally frustrating and physically tiring. I feel women will definitely make better camera persons, as firstly, we are clean. Yes, most of the guys on the field stink. We have the capability of making a guest at ease and we are brilliant at multi-tasking, which is a necessity asset in this field. Over all, it’s a fantastic field. You get to travel and interact with interesting people.

Currently, what is your job profile?
I man the camera and do the voice over for the company. I also help out on the tech show of the channel which involves taking interviews and managing the camera. The work culture in Mumbai is better than in Delhi. I face a lot of sexism, but I am still fighting it, even as I answer you.

-Priyanka Talreja

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