Central Board of Film Certification

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Central Board of Film Certification (India)
CBFC logo.png
Formation 1951
Type Government Organisation
Purpose Film Certification
Headquarters Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Region served
Shravan Kumar IRS
Parent organisation
Ministry of Information and Broadcasting
69 million (US$1.0 million) (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, including films shown on television.


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 – "UA" (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).

  • U (Unrestricted Public Exhibition)

Films with the U certification are fit for public exhibition, and are often family friendly. These films can contain universal themes like education, family, drama, romance, sci - fi, and action etc. Now, these films can also contain some mild violence, but it should not be prolonged.

  • U/A (Unrestricted Public Exhibition - but with a word of caution that Parental discretion required for children below 12 years)

Films with the UA certification can contain universal to 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,frightening scenes and bad, abusive, filthy language etc.

  • 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, kissing scenes, implied sex, some coarse language 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 UA 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 science (Engineers, Doctors, Scientists etc.) have permission to watch those films

Composition and leadership[edit]

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 certifate 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.

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[4] 26 September 2001 19 July 2002
23 Arvind Trivedi 20 July 2002 16 October 2003
24 Anupam Kher[5] 16 October 2003 13 October 2004
25 Sharmila Tagore[6] 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. ^ 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). timesofindia. indiatimes. com/2002 July 22/news-interviews/27308006_1_vijay-anand-cbfc-chairman-films "Vijay Anand Quits Censor Board" Check |url= value (help). Times of India. Retrieved 9 January 2012. 
  5. ^ rediff. com Entertainment Bureau Staff reporter (8 October 2003). com/movies/2003/oct/08kher. htm "Anupam Kher is new chief of censors" Check |url= value (help). Rediff Movies. rediff. com. Retrieved 9 January 2012. 
  6. ^ Indo-Asian News Service (16 October 2004). com/channels/hindi/article/10963. html "Sharmila Tagore replaces Kher" Check |url= value (help). IndiaGlitz. Retrieved 9 January 2012. 

External links[edit]