How ‘Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui’ became a zero-waste film set

The Abhishek Kapoor-directorial won the Dadasaheb Phalke International Film Festival award for the unique distinction

Did you know that around 17,000 kgs of waste from the sets of Hindi film Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui were diverted from landfills and instead composted, recycled, or donated? This amounts to over 95 per cent of the shoot’s waste that did not end up in landfills. The effort to make this mainstream film set a zero-waste one was carried forward by co-producer Pragya Kapoor in association with Skrap, an environment sustainability firm that that works on finding zero-waste solutions for businesses.

Directed by Abhishek Kapoor and produced by T-Series in collaboration with Guy In The Sky Pictures, Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui (now streaming on Netflix) revolves around the story of a transwoman’s (Vani Kapoor) relationship with a Punjabi body-builder (Ayushmann Khurrana). Even as the film attempts to break stereotypes in gender spaces, it was also recently awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke International Film Festival Award for a zero-waste film set, a unique distinction in the film fraternity.

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So, what goes into making a film set environmentally sustainable? And what are the challenges in ensuring an eco-friendly set? “Encouraging crew members to participate in the agenda was challenging at first, since waste segregation was a new concept at the location. Identifying local recycling facilities in a new city can be a tedious process, especially for materials like construction waste from the sets,” says Divya Ravichandran, founder of Skrap.

Ms. Kapoor’s keen interest in waste management inspired crew members to participate, says Ms. Ravichandran, adding that her team worked hard in creating awareness and behavioural change around waste segregation at the sets. 

Some of the efforts undertaken by Skrap was to use water dispensers and compostable plates, thereby reducing the use of single-use plastics. “To minimise food wastage, we worked closely with the film’s production and catering teams to recalibrate meal orders. With the help of organisations such as Feeding India and Robinhood Army, we ensured that excess food was collected and shared among local communities,” says Ms. Ravichandran. 

A waste segregation system was set up across shoot locations, then the segregated waste was sorted into over 15 categories, before being sent to recycling and composting facilities. “With our waste management implementation, the amount of waste discarded to the landfills reduced from around 325kgs per day to an average of less than 4kgs per day,” she adds. 

Since the film was shot during the pandemic, all PPE waste was collected and stored separately for seven days, before being upcycled into items like low-weight bricks and lamp shades. “We also shared regular updates on the zero-waste implementation with the film crew to build awareness and excitement,” says Ms. Ravichandran. 

Skrap is currently working with other production houses like Clean Slate Filmz and Yash Raj Films to help make more film sets zero-waste.

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