India's film rating system is set for a revamp, with the draft Cinematograph Bill, 2010 adding more age-specific categories of certification, in line with international norms.
Under the draft Bill, which could see the light in the next session of Parliament, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is proposing five categories of ratings.
The Central Board for Film Certification (CBFC), better known as the Censor Board, will now be asked to certify films under the U, 12+, 15+, A and S categories. This translates to films meant for unrestricted viewing (U), those unsuitable for children below 12 years (12+), those unsuitable for children below 15 years (15+), and those meant only for adults, or people above 18 years (A). The S rating is for films restricted to certain professions or classes.
Under the current Cinematograph Act, 1952, there are three categories — U, A and UA, the last of which calls for parental discretion and guidance on whether the film is suitable for children under 12 years.
The new draft Bill also acknowledges the importance of women's perspectives on the films to be released and mandates that one-third of the members of the CBFC, as well as the regional advisory boards, must be women.
If the applicant for certification is the producer of the film, the certificate will be deemed to be evidence that he owns the copyright of the film, according to the draft Bill. It also stipulates that the Board must disclose the reasons for its decisions either to refuse certification or to restrict the film under any of the categories except the U rating.
The draft Bill also aims at dealing with the issue of piracy by introducing penalties for those who make duplicate prints or issue unauthorised copies or negatives. The punishment ranges from a fine between Rs.5 lakh and Rs.25 lakh and imprisonment from one to three years.