Central Board of Film Certification

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Central Board of Film Certification
CBFC logo.png
Formation 1951
Type Government Organisation
Purpose Film
Headquarters Mumbai
Region served
Pahlaj Nihalani
Parent organization
Ministry of Information and Broadcasting
₹ 6.9 crore (2011)
Website cbfcindia.gov.in

The Central Board of Film Certification (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". It assigns certifications to films, television shows, television ads, and publications for exhibition, sale or hire in India. Films can be publicly exhibited in India only after they are certified by the Board.


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]

Current certificates[edit]

Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (2013) Certificate, an example of an UA certificate holder.

The CBFC currently issues the following certificates:

Theatrical Release Certificates
Certificate Name Definition/Notes
U Universal Unrestricted Public Exhibition throughout India, suitable for all age groups. Films under this category should not upset children over 4. Such films may contain educational, social, comical or family-oriented themes. Films under this category may also contain fantasy violence, mild sexual dialogue and/or mild bad language.
UA Parental Guidance All ages admitted, but it is advised that children below 12 be accompanied by a parent as the theme or content may be considered intense or inappropriate for young children. Films under this category may contain mature themes, some sexual references, mild or implied sex scenes, violence with brief gory images, some drug use and/or infrequent use of crude language.
A Adults Only Only for adult audiences (18 years and over). Nobody below the age of 18 may buy/rent an A-rated DVD, VHS, UMD or watch a film in the cinema with this rating. Films under this category may contain adult/disturbing themes, frequent crude language, brutal violence with blood and gore, crude sexual dialogue and sex scenes and/or scenes of hard drug abuse which are considered unsuitable for minors.
S Restricted to any special class of persons This rating signifies that the film is meant for a specialised audience, such as doctors.

Additionally, V/U, V/UA, V/A are used for video releases with U, UA and A carrying the same meaning as above. UA and S certificates were introduced in 1983.[2]

Composition and leadership[edit]

The Board consist of non-official members and a Chairperson (all of whom are appointed by Central Government). Pahlaj Nihalani presently presides the Board after famedBharatnatyam dancer, Leela Samson who resigned[3] after the CBFC's rejection of a certifate for the film MSG: Messenger of God was overturned by an appellate tribunal. Earlier, Leela Samson had succeeded Sharmila Tagore,[1][4] who was the longest continuous running Chairperson in the history. Nihalani is now the 27th Chairperson after the Board's establishment.

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[edit]

No. Name From To
1 C S Aggarwal 15 January 1951 14 June 1954
2 B D Mirchandani 15 June 1954 9 June 1955
3 M D Bhatt 10 June 1955 21 November 1959
4 D L Kothari 22 November 1959 24 March 1960
5 B D Mirchandani 25 March 1960 1 November 1960
6 D L Kothari 2 November 1960 22 April 1965
7 B P Bhatt 23 April 1965 22 April 1968
8 R P Nayak 31 April 1968 15 November 1969
9 M V Desai 12 December 1969 19 October 1970
10 R Srinivasan 20 October 1970 15 November 1971
11 Virendra Vyas 11 February 1972 30 June 1976
12 K L Khandpur 1 July 1976 31 January 1981
13 Hrishikesh Mukherjee 1 February 1981 10 August 1982
14 Aparna Mohile 11 August 1982 14 March 1983
15 Sharad Upasani 15 March 1983 9 May 1983
16 Surresh Mathur 10 May 1983 7 July 1983
17 Vikram Singh 8 July 1983 19 February 1989
18 Moreshwar Vanmali 20 February 1989 25 April 1990
19 B P Singhal 25 April 1990 1 April 1991
20 Shakti Samanta 1 April 1991 25 June 1998
21 Asha Parekh 25 June 1998 25 September 2001
22 Vijay Anand[5] 26 September 2001 19 July 2002
23 Arvind Trivedi 20 July 2002 16 October 2003
24 Anupam Kher[6] 16 October 2003 13 October 2004
25 Sharmila Tagore[7] 13 October 2004 31 March 2011
26 Leela Samson 1 April 2011 16 January 2015
27 Pahlaj Nihalani 19 January 2015 19 january 2017


  1. ^ a b "Background". CBFC Website. Central Board of Film Certification. Retrieved 9 January 2012. 
  2. ^ http://image.slidesharecdn.com/censorboardformoviesandserials-111204023133-phpapp02/95/slide-8-728.jpg?1322987872
  3. ^ Ashreena, Tanya (16 Jan 2015). "Censor board chief Leela Samson quits over Dera Sacha Sauda leader's Bollywood dreams". Retrieved 22 January 2015. 
  4. ^ Dhwan, Himanshi (29 March 2011). "Danseuse Leela Samson is new Censor Board chief". Times of India. Retrieved 9 January 2012. 
  5. ^ IndiaTimes Movies staff reporter (22 July 2002). timesofindia. indiatimes. com/2002 July 22/news-interviews/27308006_1_vijay-anand-cbfc-chairman-films "Vijay Anand Quits Censor Board". Times of India. Retrieved 9 January 2012. 
  6. ^ rediff. com Entertainment Bureau Staff reporter (8 October 2003). com/movies/2003/oct/08kher. htm "Anupam Kher is new chief of censors". Rediff Movies. rediff. com. Retrieved 9 January 2012. 
  7. ^ Indo-Asian News Service (16 October 2004). com/channels/hindi/article/10963. html "Sharmila Tagore replaces Kher". IndiaGlitz. Retrieved 9 January 2012. 

External links[edit]