Role Of The Censor Board In Indian Cinema

By : Abhinav Chhabra(PGDFTP) Roll no. C-05

According to the CBFC website: "Objectives of film certification are as follows: (a) the medium of film remains responsible and sensitive to the values and standards of society." Organization The censor board has its headquarters in Mumbai but has offices in many states. a recent one being firing of Anupam Kher. from its chairperson post. . Most art films and documentaries are never released in mainstream cinemas. The board is often involved in controversies. and its failure to defend artists and directors from violence and vandalism by outraged groups. and (e) as far as possible. the film is of aesthetic value and cinematically of a good standard. morality etc. integrity and security of India. It is currently headed by Sharmila Tagore. Functioning The board classifies movies according to a sometimes highly subjective criteria. public order. in mind. (c) certification is responsible to social changes. its attempts to placate various regional and religious groups. a move viewed as political by the ruling Congress Party. Very often. It is also criticized by the liberal artist groups in India for its attempts to suppress and censor documentaries exposing the government. It is headed by the Chairman. (b) artistic expression and creative freedom are not unduly curbed. Usually a mainstream artist or director. It is officially known as the Central Board of Film Certification (or CBFC). "The Cinematograph Act lays down that a film has to be certified keeping the interests of sovereignty. a film which is released by the censor board but which is found objectionable by many sections of the society. friendly relations with foreign states. is nominated by the government to this post. having allegiance to the current political party in power. According to the censor board. (d) the medium of film provides clean and healthy entertainment. is subject to an unofficial boycott in public theaters.The Indian Film Censor Board is a government body in charge of classifying and certifying all motion pictures for public screening in India.

Under section 5B(2) the Central Government issues detailed guidelines. Explicit scenes There is a marginal adult movie industry in India (mostly concentrated in the Southern states) which do show a lot of upper body nudity (breasts) of porn actresses. * A classification: Adults only. A film is judged in its entirety from the point of view of its overall impact and is examined in the light of the period depicted in the film and the contemporary standards of the country and the people to whom the film relates. The term Adult is not defined on the CBFC but it usually means a person at least 18 years of age. Showing of one's breasts was unheard of. Such movies are classified as "A" movies but are not shown in mainstream theaters. Most films fall in this category. It is common to see young children watching "A" movies. do not follow the classification by restricting the audience based on age." Anybody can still watch the movie. even though they might contain graphic scenes of violence or erotic behaviour. lip-to-lip kissing) used to be extremely rare. The state owned television channels usually show such movies late at night and not during the daytime. The policy regarding movie trailers is not clear. or due to the traditional nature of the cast. Since the late eighties. * U classification: No restrictions on public screening or viewing. even an "A" movie could not contain any scenes of breasts or any prolonged sexual scenes. The advertisements shown in a movie theater are also classified and the certificate is shown before their screening. provided that the film does not deprave the morality of the audience. the censor board has become more tolerant of explicit scenes. Guidelines are applied to the titles of the films also." Classification The censor board classifies motion pictures in three categories: U. "A" movies are shown on Indian television channels also. It is alleged that in the recent movie "Shaque" bare breasts have been shown (unverified). . Note that most theaters. The certificate issued by the board is usually shown as a still image at the beginning of a movie. The production standards of such movies are extremely poor. The censorship in mainstream movies is usually self-imposed by the film producers. including the modern multiplexes in Indian metros.g. explicit scenes (e. * UA classification: This is analogous to the notice "Parental discretion advised. Earlier. UA and A.

not only desirable but also necessary”. . It cannot be equated with other modes of communication. therefore. The combination of act and speech. it has as much potential for evil as it has for good and has an equal potential to instill or cultivate violent or good behaviour.Conclusion According to the Supreme Court of India : “Film censorship becomes necessary because a film motivates thought and action and assures a high degree of attention and retention as compared to the printed word. sight and sound in semi darkness of the theatre with elimination of all distracting ideas will have a strong impact on the minds of the viewers and can affect emotions. Therefore. Censorship by prior restraint is.

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