Movies have to go through the eyes of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) before they hit the theatres. CBFC is commonly known as Censor Board.
The film gets released in theaters only after it is cleared by the censor board.
Often there is controversy due to the certificates received by the films. Let us know how the censor board works in India .
What type of organization is CBFC?
The Censor Board is a statutory body, which works under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. This board provides certificates to the films of our country according to their content.
Under the Cinematography Act 1952, it is necessary to give certificates to films before their release. The chairman and members of the censor board are appointed by the central government.
Let us tell you that the members of CBFC do not hold any government post.
In which categories certificates are given to films?
Movies are divided into four categories according to the content. The first category is U i.e. Universal. Under this, the films can be seen by the audience of all classes.
The second category is U/A, under which children below the age of 12 years will be able to watch the film under the supervision of their parents or elders.
The third category is A, under which only adults have the right to watch the film. The last category is S, which stands for certain class of people.
Under what circumstances will the censor board not pass the film?
The Cinematography Act 1952 guidelines read, ‘A film shall not be certified if any part of it is against the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states and public order’.
The Board takes note of the fact that whether the content of the film is causing contempt of court or defamation of any kind.
The Censor Board observes the impact of the film on the society.
How long can the board take to clear the film?
The censor board can take a maximum of 68 days to give a certificate to any film. Firstly the application is scrutinized. It takes about a week.
After this the film is sent to the Inquiry Committee and the Screening Committee sends it to the Chairman of the Censor Board within 15 days. The Chairman can take a maximum time of 10 days to examine the film.
Then the process of certification starts.
There are regional offices of Censor Board at nine places.
The Censor Board is headquartered in Mumbai and has regional offices in Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Thiruvananthapuram, Hyderabad, New Delhi, Cuttack and Guwahati. Application for film certification can also be made in these regional offices.
Two panels arranged to pass films
Two panels have been arranged to pass the film in the censor board. The first panel in this is the inquiry committee. It consists of four members, of which two must be women.
Most of the films get passed through this panel. Please note that this panel does not include the chairman of the board.
After examining the film, the inquiry committee makes editing by giving suggestions in writing. The report is then sent to the Speaker.
After the inquiry committee, the film goes to the revising committee.
The second panel is the Revising Committee, which can have nine members in addition to the chairman. When the Inquiry Committee refuses to give a certificate to the film, the matter reaches the Revising Committee.
The special thing is that in this the identities of the members of the panel are kept secret. Only those members get a place in this panel, who are not included in the first panel.
This panel also has the right to stop the film if there is an objection.
What is the remedy if the censor board does not pass the film?
If the censor board refuses to pass the film, the makers are left with one last resort. The makers can approach the court to get the certificate of the film. However, there is a slight delay in this process.
Censor board strengthened after the abolition of FCAT last year
Earlier there was also the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT), which was struck down by the government last year. Apart from retired judges, there were people from the film industry.
With the cancellation of FCAT, the powers of the Board have increased. Earlier, the makers had the right to appeal in the FCAT against the arbitrariness of the Censor Board.