Central Board of Film Certification

"U certificate" redirects here. For the British film organization that has a Universal certificate, see British Board of Film Classification.
Central Board of Film Certification
Formation 1951
Type Government Organisation
Purpose Film Certification
Headquarters Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Region served
Pahlaj Nihalani
Parent organisation
Ministry of Information and Broadcasting
69 million (US$1.0 million) (2011)
Website cbfcindia.gov.in

The Central Board of Film Certification(CBFC) (often referred to as the Censor Board) is a statutory censorship and classification body under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. It is tasked with "regulating the public exhibition of films under the provisions of the Cinematograph Act 1952". Films can be publicly exhibited in India only after they are certified by the Board, including films shown on television. The CBFC India is considered to be one of the most powerful film Censor Boards in the world due to its strict ways of functioning.


Though the first film in India (Raja Harishchandra) was produced in 1913 by Dadasaheb Phalke, the Indian Cinematograph Act was passed and came into effect only in 1920. Censor Boards (as they were called then) were placed under police chiefs in cities of Madras (now Chennai), Bombay (now Mumbai), Calcutta (now Kolkata), Lahore (now in Pakistan) and Rangoon (now Yangon in Burma). Regional censors were independent. After Independence autonomy of regional censors was abolished and they were brought under the Bombay Board of Film Censors. With implementation of Cinematograph Act, 1952, the board was unified and reconstituted, as the Central Board of Film Censors. Cinematograph (Certification) Rules were revised in 1983 and since then the Central Board of Film Censors became known as the Central Board of Film Certification.[1]


Films are certified under 4 categories. Initially, there were only two categories of certificates – "U" (unrestricted public exhibition) and "A" (restricted to adult audiences). Two more categories were added in June 1983 – "U/A" (unrestricted public exhibition subject to parental guidance for children below the age of twelve) and "S" (restricted to specialized audiences such as doctors or scientists).

Films with the U certification are fit for unrestricted public exhibition, and are family friendly. These films can contain universal themes like education, family, drama, romance, sci-fi, action etc. Now, these films can also contain some mild violence, but it should not be prolonged. It may also contain very mild sexual scenes (without any traces of nudity or sexual detail).

Films with the U/A certification can contain moderate adult themes, that are not strong in nature and can be watched by a child under parental guidance. These films can contain some strong violence, moderate sex (without any traces of nudity or sexual detail), frightening scenes and muted abusive and filthy language.

Films with the A certification are available for public exhibition, but with restriction to adults. These films can contain heavily strong violence, strong sex (but full frontal and rear nudity is not allowed usually), strong coarse language (but words which insults and degrades woman are not allowed) and even some controversial and adult themes considered unsuitable for young viewers. Such films are often recertified for TV and video viewing, which doesn't happen in case of U and U/A certified movies.

Films with S certification should not be viewed by the public. Only people associated with it (Engineers, Doctors, Scientists, etc.), have permission to watch those films.

Additionally, V/U, V/UA, V/A are used for video releases with U, U/A and A carrying the same meaning as above.

Composition and leadership

The Board consist of 25 other non-official members and a Chairperson (all of whom are appointed by Central Government). Pahlaj Nihalani presently presides the Board after Leela Samson who resigned[2] after the CBFC's rejection of a certificate for the film MSG: Messenger of God was overturned by an appellate tribunal. Earlier, Leela Samson had succeeded Sharmila Tagore,[1][3] who was the longest continuous running Chairperson in the history. Nihalani is now the 27th Chairperson after the Board's establishment. His appointment is highly controversial given his propensity for censoring films instead of merely certifying them.

The Board functions with its headquarters at Mumbai. It has nine Regional offices each at:

The Regional Offices are assisted in the examination of films by Advisory Panels. The members of the panels are nominated by Central Government by drawing people from different walks of life for a period of two years.

Chairpersons of the CBFC

No. Name From To
1C S Aggarwal15 January 195114 June 1954
2B D Mirchandani15 June 19549 June 1955
3M D Bhatt10 June 195521 November 1959
4D L Kothari22 November 195924 March 1960
5B D Mirchandani25 March 19601 November 1960
6D L Kothari2 November 196022 April 1965
7B P Bhatt23 April 196522 April 1968
8R P Nayak31 April 196815 November 1969
9M V Desai12 December 196919 October 1970
10R Srinivasan20 October 197015 November 1971
11Virendra Vyas11 February 197230 June 1976
12K L Khandpur1 July 197631 January 1981
13Hrishikesh Mukherjee1 February 198110 August 1982
14Aparna Mohile11 August 198214 March 1983
15Sharad Upasani15 March 19839 May 1983
16Surresh Mathur10 May 19837 July 1983
17Vikram Singh8 July 198319 February 1989
18Moreshwar Vanmali20 February 198925 April 1990
19B P Singhal25 April 19901 April 1991
20Shakti Samanta1 April 199125 June 1998
21Asha Parekh25 June 199825 September 2001
22Vijay Anand[4]26 September 200119 July 2002
23Arvind Trivedi20 July 200216 October 2003
24Anupam Kher[5]16 October 200313 October 2004
25Sharmila Tagore[6]13 October 200431 March 2011
26Leela Samson1 April 201116 January 2015
27Pahlaj Nihalani19 January 2015 Till Date


CBFC has been associated with various scandals. Movie producers reportedly bribe the CBFC to get 'U' certificate to avail 30% exemption in entertainment tax despite violent scenes and coarse dialogues.[7] A CEO of CBFC was arrested in August 2014 for accepting bribes speedy clearance.[8] Chairperson of CBFC Leela Samson resigned alleging political interference after the CBFC's rejection of a certificate for the film MSG: Messenger of God was overturned by an appellate tribunal. She was later replaced by Pahlaj Nihalani. His appointment caused more than half the board members to resign alleging Pahlaj Nihalani is close to the present ruling party.[9] CBFC was panned by social media for reducing two kissing scenes in the movie Spectre,[10] CBFC became the subject of controversy again when it demanded visual cuts and muting of words, totalling to 90 cuts in a 2016 movie Udta Punjab. However, on 13 June 2016, Bombay High Court allowed the release of the film with one cut and directed the CBFC to issue an 'A' certificate to this film.[11]


  1. 1 2 "Background". CBFC Website. Central Board of Film Certification. Retrieved 9 January 2012.
  2. Ashreena, Tanya (16 Jan 2015). "Censor board chief Leela Samson quits over Dera Sacha Sauda leader's Bollywood dreams". Retrieved 22 January 2015.
  3. Dhwan, Himanshi (29 March 2011). "Danseuse Leela Samson is new Censor Board chief". Times of India. Retrieved 9 January 2012.
  4. IndiaTimes Movies staff reporter (22 July 2002). "Vijay Anand Quits Censor Board". Times of India. Retrieved 9 January 2012.
  5. rediff. com Entertainment Bureau Staff reporter (8 October 2003). "Anupam Kher is new chief of censors". Rediff Movies. rediff. com. Retrieved 9 January 2012.
  6. Indo-Asian News Service (16 October 2004). "Sharmila Tagore replaces Kher". IndiaGlitz. Retrieved 9 January 2012.
  7. "Tamil Nadu film producers grease palms to get 'U' certificates". The Times of India. 20 August 2014.
  8. "Censor board CEO held for accepting bribes to clear films quickly". The Times of India. 19 August 2014.
  9. "India's censorship board in disarray amid claims of political interference". The Guardian. 21 Jan 2015.
  10. https://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/nov/19/spectre-kissing-censored-in-india
  11. "Punjab and Haryana HC clears the way for Udta Punjab's release". Hindustan Times. 16 June 2016.

External links

This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/16/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.