Know about censor board

Updated - October 18, 2016 03:13 pm IST

Published - June 13, 2016 04:23 pm IST - Chennai

cartoonscape censor board colour 090616

cartoonscape censor board colour 090616

The film ‘Udta Punjab’ was in the news last week for the tussle it created between the producers of the film and the censor board. The Central Board of Film certification or the censor board asked for 13 cuts in the film, the film producers have taken the issue to the court. The Bombay High Court is to pass order today(Monday).

How many of us know what Central Board of Film certification actually is? CBFC is a statutory body under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The main function of the body is to regulate the exhibition of films under the Cinematograph Act 1952.  Any film can be exhibited in the country publicly only after they have been duly certified by this organisation.  

The government at the centre appoints the non-official members and a Chairman who constitute the Board which is headquartered at Mumbai. There are a total of nine regional offices for the CBFC which includes Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Thiruvananthapuram, Hyderabad, New Delhi, Cuttack and Guwahati.    The advisory panels help the regional offices in the examination of the films. The advisory panels consist of members from different walks of life, who are nominated by the Central government for a term of two years.

The certification process is in accordance to the Cinematograph Act, 1952 , The Cinematograph (certification) Rules, 1983, and the guidelines issued by the Central government u/s 5 (B). 

The body’s primary function is to assign each film to one of the four categories - 

U – Unrestricted public exhibition

A- Restricted to adults

UA –Unrestricted public exhibition (with a word of caution that Parental discretion required for children below 12 years)


S – Restricted to any special class of persons (for example: doctors)


The vision of the Censor Board is to ensure that healthy entertainment is provided to the general public of the country. The certification process is generally kept very transparent.  Any film, be it foreign or Indian, must get certified by the CBFC before being screened in India.

A brief history

It is believed that cinema came to our country in the year 1896. Lumiere Bothers  (Auguste Lumière  and Louis Lumière)  presented the first show at Watson Hotel in Bombay.   The Lumiere Brothers were one of the earliest filmmakers in history. The first film in India, Raja Harishchandra, was produced by Dadasaheb Palke in 1913. It was around this time that Indian Cinematograph Act was passed but it came into effect in 1920.   The Censor boards during that time were under the control of police chiefs in various cities - Madras, Bombay, Calcutta, Lahore(Pakistan), Rangoon(Myanmar).  The regional censors were allowed to act independently. After India gained Independence, the autonomy of regional censors was abolished and they were unified under the Bombay Board of Film Censors. After the Cinematograph Act 1952 was implemented, the board was reconstituted as the Central Board of Film Censors. The Cinematograph (Certification) Rules were revised in 1983 and since then it came to be known as Central Board of Film Certification.


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