India/ 8.1 Direct and indirect support to artists  

8.1.4 Support to professional artists associations or unions

India cannot be said, for practical purposes, to have any organised or recognised union activity in the arts, barring the film industry and, in some regions, the contemporary theatre industry.

Cinema: The All India Film Employees Confederation (AIFEC), founded in 1973 in Mumbai, however goes back to Tamil Nadu and to the work of film composer and actor M.B. Srinivasan. The  AIFEC itself now has several affiliate organisations, such as the Federation of Western India Cine Employees[1], the Andhra Pradesh Film Industries’ Employees Federation, the Karnataka Film Workers Artistes Technicians Federation, the Federation of Cine Technicians and Workers of Eastern India and the Film Employees Federation of Kerala. The Association of Motion Picture & TV Producers of India and the Film Writers’ Association, Mumbai are among the best known unions. The Independent Documentary Producers Association of India (IDPA) and the Film Writers’ Association are also actively engaged in supporting intellectual debates in their areas of work.

Theatre: There is union activity in some traditional performing arts, e.g. among the Koothu performers of Northern Tamil Nadu. A somewhat unique instance here was the direct intervention of Kattaikkuttu actor Perungattur P. Rajagopal who set up an organisation to both promote Kattaikkuttu as a theatre form in its own right and to further the interests of professional performers. Since its inception more than twenty years ago, the Sangam has developed into an umbrella organisation with a number of activities including educating and training a future generation of young, talented Kattaikkuttu performers (Kattaikkuttu Gurukulam), opening up the theatre to rural girls and women, organizing an annual theatre festival and producing new, and often, innovative plays. The Kattaikkuttu Sangam has received support from the Ministry of Culture.


Chapter published: 22-04-2014