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. CBFC India is considered to be one of the most powerful film censor boards in the world due to its strict ways of functioning.
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).
U/A (Parental Guidance for children below the age of 12 years)
Films with the U/A certification can contain moderate adult themes, that is not strong in nature and can be watched by a child under parental guidance. These films contain moderate to strong violence, moderate sex scenes (very little traces of nudity and moderate sexual detail can be found), frightening scenes or muted abusive and filthy language.
A (Restricted to adults)
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 abusive language (but words which insults or degrades women 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.
S (Restricted to any special class of persons)
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.
Refusal to certify.
In addition to the certifications above, there is also the possibility of the board refusing to certify the film at all.
Guidelines for certification :
anti-social activities such as violence are not glorified or justified
the modus operandi of criminals, other visuals or words likely to incite the commission of any offence are not depicted;
showing the involvement of children in violence as victims or perpetrators or as forced witnesses to violence, or showing children as being subjected to any form of child abuse.
showing abuse or ridicule of physically and mentally handicapped persons; and
showing cruelty to, or abuse of animals, are not presented needlessly
pointless or avoidable scenes of violence, cruelty, and horror, scenes of violence primarily intended to provide entertainment and such scenes as may have the effect of de-sensitizing or de-humanizing people are not shown;
scenes which have the effect of justifying or glorifying drinking are not shown;
scenes tending to encourage, justify or glamorize drug addiction are not shown;
scenes tending to encourage, justify or glamorize consumption of tobacco or smoking are not shown;
human sensibilities are not offended by vulgarity, obscenity or depravity;
such dual meaning words as obviously cater to baser instincts are not allowed;
scenes degrading or denigrating women in any manner are not presented;
scenes involving sexual violence against women like attempt to rape, rape or any form of molestation or scenes of a similar nature are avoided, and if any such incidence is germane to the theme, they shall be reduced to the minimum and no details are shown
scenes showing sexual perversions shall be avoided and if such matters are germane to the theme they shall be reduced to the minimum and no details are shown
visuals or words contemptuous of racial, religious or other groups are not presented
visuals or words which promote communal, obscurantist, anti-scientific and anti-national attitude are not presented
the sovereignty and integrity of India is not called in question;
the security of the State is not jeopardized or endangered
friendly relations with foreign States are not strained;
public order is not endangered
visuals or words involving defamation of an individual or a body of individuals, or contempt of court are not presented. EXPLANATION: Scenes that tend to create scorn, disgrace or disregard of rules or undermine the dignity of court will come under the term ”Contempt of Court” : and
national symbols and emblems are not shown except in accordance with the provisions of the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950 (12 of 1950)
The Board of Film Certification shall also ensure that the film
Is judged in its entirety from the point of view of its overall impact; and
Is examined in the light of the period depicted in the films and the contemporary standards of the country and the people to which the film relates provided that the film does not affect the morality of the audience
The Board shall scrutinize the titles of the films carefully and ensure that they are not provocative, vulgar, offensive or violative of any of the above-mentioned guidelines.