Cinematography - Film Making - Cameraman

NEW DELHI — Pursuant to the Cinematograph (Amendment) Act, 2023, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India has notified the Cinematograph (Certification) Rules, 2024, in supersession of the Cinematograph (Certification) Rules, 1983. They have been comprehensively overhauled in order to improve and contemporize the entire process of certification of films for public exhibition.

Background

The Indian film industry is one of the biggest and most globalised industries in the world producing more than 3,000 films annually in more than 40 languages.

Prime Minister has envisioned that India truly possesses immense potential to become the content hub of the world with rich heritage and cultural diversity being India’s strengths.

Minister for Information and Broadcasting, carrying forward the vision PM, also recognised the Indian Cinema being a significant contributor to India’s soft power, promoting Indian culture, society, and values globally.

The empowerment of the Indian film industry with transparency, ease of doing business and protection from the menace of privacy, would go a long way in the growth of the content creation ecosystem in India, and would also help safeguard the interests of all artists and artisans working in the film sector.

With this vision, the historic amendment of the Cinematograph Act was brought in after 40 years in 2023 and is now being fully empowered with the overhauled Cinematograph (Certification) Rules, 2024.

Cinematograph (Certification) Rules, 2024

These new rules aim to streamline and modernize the film certification process for the digital age, keeping pace with emerging technologies and advancement in the film sector.

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Ministry & CBFC have undertaken extensive consultations with filmmakers, cinema owners, disability rights organizations, NGOs, film industry bodies, the general public and other stakeholders, ensuring an all-embracing, all-encompassing and all-inclusive approach.

The key aspects of improvements incorporated in the Cinematograph (Certification) Rules, 2024 include:

1. Comprehensive revision of the Rules has been done to fully align it with the adoption of online certification processes, which will ensure enhanced transparency, efficiency & ease of doing business for the film industry.

2. Reduction in timelines for the processing of film certification and adopting complete digital processes for eliminating all transactional time.

3. Movies/feature films to have accessibility features for certification to make it inclusive for disabled persons, as stipulated in the guidelines issued in this regard from time to time.

4. Introduction of age-based categories of certification by further sub-dividing the existing UA category into three age-based categories, viz. seven years (UA 7+), thirteen years (UA 13+), and sixteen years (UA 16+), instead of 12 years. These age-based markers would be only recommendatory, meant for the parents or guardians to consider whether their children should view such a film.

The age-based certification system with UA markers is to be implemented to ensure young viewers are exposed to age-appropriate content. It will play a crucial role in balancing the need to protect vulnerable audiences, such as children, with the principles of freedom of expression and consumer choice.

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5. Greater representation of women in the CBFC Board & CBFC’s Advisory Panels, where it is stipulated that one-third of the members in the Board shall be women and preferably half shall be women.

6. System for priority screening of films for enhancing transparency and eliminating all discretions. Provision for priority screening for expediting the screening of film screening for certification, in case of any urgency felt by film-maker(s) due to their prior commitments of release of the film in line with ease of doing business.

7. Removal of the restriction on the validity of certificates for only 10 years for perpetual validity of certificates of Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).

8. Recertification of the edited film for television broadcast, as only Unrestricted Public Exhibition category films can be shown on television.

The principle rules were first notified by the Government in 1983 and have been amended from time to time. However, acknowledging the significant advancement in film technology, audience demographics, and content distribution methods for the last 40 years, the new set of rules with overhaul changes are being introduced to better cater to the ever evolving need of our film industry.

The government had last year amended the Cinematograph Act, 1952 after a period of almost 40 years to comprehensively address the issues relating to film certification. Notifying the new Cinematograph (Certification) Rules, 2024 compliments that journey of making the certification process simpler, more contemporary and in line with best global practices.

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