Why a film needs to be certified

CBFC is a statutory body under the I&B ministry to regulate the public exhibition of films.

Written by Raghvendra Rao | Published: August 20, 2014 2:29 am

What does the CBFC do

It is a statutory body under the I&B ministry to regulate the public exhibition of films under the provisions of the Cinematograph Act 1952 and the Cinematograph (Certification) Rules 1983. Over 1,000 films apply every year.

Why does certification matter?

Only after that can a film be publicly exhibited in India. Films are rated U (unrestricted), U/A (unrestricted, but with parental discretion advised for children below 12), A (adults only) or S (restricted to any special class of persons). U or U/A means wider access; A-rated films can’t be shown on TV unless they apply for a re-certification with cuts. The Dirty Picture was edited, but still pulled off prime time on satellite hours before its premiere, and asked to air late night.

How can it involve corruption?

If a certification is delayed until just before the release date, producers can only pay their way out. Investigating agencies also suspect bribery in films being allowed to retain content that may have faced deletion.

How is the board structured?

Headquartered at Mumbai, it is headed by a chairperson and has 12 to 25 non-official members, eminent persons from a cross-section of society appointed by the Centre for a period of three years. Its nine regional offices (Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Thiruvananthapuram, Hyderabad, New Delhi, Cuttack and Guwahati) are assisted by advisory panels whose members have two-year tenures.

How is a film certified?

It is submitted to a regional officer, who forms an examining committee. Many films are cleared at this stage, with or without modifications. If an applicant is not satisfied with the decision, the matter then goes to headquarters which can then set up a revising committee of board members who decide by majority vote. If the chairperson doesn’t agree with the majority view, he/she may may appoint another revising committee. If deletions are ordered, the applicant has to submit the film a second time. If the applicant is still not satisfied, he can approach the Delhi-based Film Certification Appellate Tribunal headed by a retired judge.

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  1. Kidambi Anandagopalan
    Aug 20, 2014 at 4:42 am
    It is people's perception that Censor Board is also one of the corrupt Govt. organisation. Nothing is coming out in public because the people who pay for the CBFC officials are rich who do not mind paying few thousands when crores are spent on producing a film. Modi says corruption is cancer - then we can change the name as CANCER BOARD FILM CERTIFICATION.
    1. H
      Aug 20, 2014 at 2:37 pm
      Article led, why a film needs to be certified..... no where in the article answered the question.. simply gave the structe and working of cbfc.Either change the headingmor please dont waste ppl time
      1. H
        Harish Sharma
        Aug 22, 2014 at 6:07 am
        Agreed! Misleading article le
        1. V
          Aug 20, 2014 at 6:55 am
          Self certification by the producer with pre formulated questionnaire should be good enough case of objections from audience the producers can be asked to explain.This will root out corruption.More the regulations ,more the corruptions.Thererefore have minimum regulations for Corruption Free India.Cinematograph Act of 1952 has outlived its utility.Let us s all archaic Acts.