The Western India Cinematographers Association (WICA) is a society for Indian Cinematographers. This organisation was formed on 2 August 1953 in Mumbai, and was presided over by a leading cinematographer of the time, Mr. Faredoon Irani; in the following month the first office bearers were chosen, including Mr. Nitin Bose as President and Mr.V. Avadhut as the Vice-President. Mr. Krishna Gopal was then selected as the secretary and Mr. Radhu Karmakar as Treasurer respectively.
All the prestigious members of this society include the suffix WICA after their name in film credits.
Dating back in history, the idea of cinematic department wise association in India was stemmed from the formation of the A.S.C, USA (AMERICAN SOCIETY OF CINEMATOGRAPHY).
Mr. Krishna Gopal emphasised the need for a compact body in following words: “It is necessary to form a compact body of cinematographers so that its voice can be heard. It would also provide cinematographers with a common platform, where they could discuss their problems, exchange views and generally be of help to each other.”
Mr. Rajnikant C. Pandya suggested in the same meeting that regional body be formed instead of all India body and named Western India Cinematographer’s Society.
This new society was to include the camera person working in Mumbai, Pune and Kolhapur, and was ultimately named Western India Society of Cinematographers’.
Initially working as a Society, the Western India Society of Cinematographer’s was unable to solve a lot of problems of its members. And a strong need was felt to register the Society as the Trade Union. At the General Body Meeting of the Society held on 9th April, 1955, it was unanimously decided that the Society will be registered as the Trade Union. On 30th April, 1955 the registrar of Trade Unions Bombay State, registered the Society under Indian Trade Union Act, 1926 as the Western India Cinematographers’ Association.
The registered office was at Shree Sound Studio Dadar (East), Mumbai, Maharashtra.
According to WICA, presently there are 3800 members of the organisation.
Trade Unions in our country are formed in order to resolve issues cropping up at the work floor for various units involved in a given work. Not only do Unions look out for their members by negotiating desirable wages but membership can also make you more employable. In fact, if a person is working in a particular field and not being a member of a filmmaking union, it can be very difficult for a newcomer to thrive in the film career. Likewise, professional organizations provide valuable resources and networking opportunities with others in the same field. Unions also help in providing non-financial aids to the members during professional or personal emergencies.
Indian Cinema is a global enterprise and with the ever expanding viewership with mainstream cinema being launched on OTT platforms, the different departments of Films require to come under the Unions created for their benefits.
WICA is that wide portal for Cinematographers which not only is a registered & recognised organisation for helping its members at every level of work flow but also aspires to meet the ever increasing needs of its family members, right from new to the old Cinematographers. It’s the call of the hour that WICA sees more new entrants in its prestigious records.
Work in COVID age is already at a negative receiving end and therefore all new age Cinematographers should more keenly think of coming under the umbrella of safety, that is being a registered member of WICA.
WICA in the COVID era has gone ahead to bring assurances to their members as brining in LIC insurances, post COVID helps and above all actively connecting with its members through digital aids. When each torch bearer of the yesteryear steps forward to be the guiding light to the budding generation of Cinematographers and when each newbie looks upto the roots for strengthening its ties alongwith knowledge, that’s when an organization comes full circle in fulfilling its vision. Through the medium of this article my dear viewers we intend to bring the past and the future in connect with the present so that this beautifully creative family of Cinematographers can help build a brighter future for not just the organisation but each and every member of its fraternity thereby bringing multifold prestige to the very sacred arm of film making, i.e., Cinematographers.
Written by: Medhavini Bishnoi