More than 1900 Indian feature films (digital) were certified by the Censor Board in 2015-16 with 20% of them with A-certificate. Hindi & Telugu films accounted for more than 50% of all the A-certified films. More than 40% of the Hindi films were given A-certificate, the highest for any language.
Indian Film Industry is the largest, making over 2000 feature films every year and a much larger number of short films every year. Film certification has always been a contentious issue with the seemingly arbitrary attitude of the CBFC, especially under its former Chairperson. Data from the CBFC indicates that more than 2000 featured films were certified in 2015-16. More than 50% of the A-rated films in the digital category are from Hindi & Telugu.
Why is Film Certification Necessary?
The Supreme Court in a judgment in 1989 said, ‘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. The combination of act and speech, 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, 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. It cannot be equated with other modes of communication. Censorship by prior restraint is, therefore, not only desirable but also necessary.’
What is CBFC’s job?
Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) or more commonly known as the Censor Board is a statutory body under Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, regulating the public exhibition of films. The board, set up under the Cinematograph Act, 1952 functions with its headquarters at Mumbai. The CBFC has nine regional offices, one each at Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Thiruvananthapuram, Hyderabad, New Delhi, Cuttack & Guwahati.
At present, films are certified under 4 categories: U, UA, A& S.
|U||Films considered suitable for unrestricted public exhibition|
|UA||Films which contain portions considered unsuitable for children below the age of twelve, but otherwise suitable for unrestricted public exhibition|
|A||Films considered suitable for exhibition restricted to adults (individuals over 18 years of age) only|
|S||Films restricted for exhibition to specialized audience such as doctors etc.|
Rule 41 of the Cinematograph (Certification) Rules, 1983 sets down the maximum time limit for each step in the certification process as given below.
More than 1900 digital films certified in 2015-16
A total of 1902 digital feature films made in India across various languages were certified by the CBFC in 2015-16. In addition, a total of 433 video feature films from India were also certified in 2015-16. At least one film was certified in 37 different languages. More than 100 films were certified in each of the seven (7) languages of Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Malayalam & Bengali. These seven (7) languages put together account for more than 90% of all the Indian digital feature films certified in 2015-16. Hindi leads with 340 films followed by Tamil & Telugu. Even in video feature films from India, Hindi leads with 120 followed by Telugu & Tamil in that order.
20% of all the Digital Indian Feature Films were given A-Certificate
Out of the 1902 digital Indian feature films certified in 2015-16, 42% (792) were certified as U, 38% (729) were certified as UA and the remaining 20% (381) as A. Among Hindi feature films, nearly 40% were certified as A, the highest for any language followed by 25% in Telugu. In fact, Hindi & Telugu feature films together account for 202 or 53% of the all A-certified films in the country. Three-fourths (3/4th) of the Malayalam films were U-certified, the highest for any language, followed by Tamil feature films with 58% getting a U-certificate. Among the major languages in which films are made, Hindi had the lowest percentage of U-certified films (19%).
Among the 1902 digital Indian feature films certified in 2015-16, 881 were cleared without any cuts while the rest were cleared with cuts. More than 65% of the Tamil films were cleared after cuts while 50% of the Hindi films were cleared after cuts.
Less than 0.5% of the Digital Feature Films were Children’s Films
Out of the 1902 Indian digital feature films certified in 2015-16, only 8 were children’s films. In addition to the Indian feature films, a total of 803 foreign feature films were also certified in 2015-16, 340 of them in digital and the remaining in video. Close to 80% (670) of the certified foreign films are from the USA followed by 38 from Japan and 31 from UK. Films from 20 different countries were certified in 2015-16. Foreign feature films in the digital category had more children’s films (15 in number) than in the Indian feature films.
Featured Image: A-rated films in India