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SANATKADA FILM STUDIO: AISHA KHATOON, SAIRA KHAN AND KAHKASHAN BAIG
CATEGORY: CULTURE MASTERS
Being school dropouts from lower income communities of Lucknow, they have used photography and videography as tools of empowerment for themselves and their communities. As the first, Muslim women film studio in Uttar Pradesh, they have taken photographs and made short films on profiles of women from their community in the context of violence against women, Lucknow’s cultural heritage, food, craft and they also get orders to photograph weddings. These are spaces where no woman has entered before. They have photographed and video graphed the Mahindra Sanatkada Lucknow Festival, Dastan Goi and Classical music performances amongst others. They have also photographed community based leaders across the country. They have documented their work on women’s leadership including rag pickers, Bodo women and domestic workers union. They have given training in photography to women from the communities in Bodoland Assam, Bareilly and Banda. Aisha Khatoon from Bas Mandi, an area near city station, first stepped out of her home and community in the struggle for the legal authorization for their home, which is a hundred years old. They lost the legal battle and their home but young Aisha uses the camera as a tool for empowerment and is a role model for her community and many other young women in Lucknow. Saira Khan from Gadi Kanaura, a class 5 school dropout, whose father is a mechanic and mother gives tuitions on religious texts at home, has made her mark as a women photographer in her area. Technically a wiz, Saira also manages social media for the team and is willing to explore the cultural living history of Lucknow. Kahkashan Baig is the first, who stepped outside her community to work. Besides women’s empowerment, she is also passionate about fighting for women rights.