[Sansad TV] In Focus: Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill 2023



  • India is the world’s largest producer of films, and this industry is growing rapidly.
  • However, piracy in the entertainment and music industry has been a problem for decades leading to huge revenue loss for this sector.
  • Aiming to curb piracy in film content and protect the creative industry, Union Cabinet approved the Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, of 2023.
What is the Cinematograph Act, 1952?
: The Cinematograph Act of 1952, was enacted by the Parliament to ensure that films are shown in accordance with the limits of tolerance of society. The Act establishes the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC, or the censor board) to certify films. Under the Act, the Board scrutinizes the films following the procedure laid down in the Act and can either reject or grant a certificate, valid for ten years. The Act authorizes the police to perform search and seizure actions if the film is being exhibited in contravention of any of the provisions of the Act.

Cinematograph Amendment Bill, 2023: Key Highlights



AmendmentThe bill proposes to amend the Cinematograph Act, 1952
Harsher PenaltyThe act has provisions for harsher penal provisions for film piracy
New Age CategoriesIt introduces new sub-age categories for films to bring about uniformity in categorisation across platforms
Perpetual CertificationThe certification once given will be perpetual
New Sub-age based CertificationUA-7+’, ‘UA-13+’, and ‘UA-16+’ in place for 12 years
AlignmentThe act will be aligned with Supreme Court judgments
RecertificationRecertification of the edited film for television broadcast
Public ExhibitionOnly Unrestricted Public Exhibition category films can be shown on television
UniformityIt will make the act provisions in line with the provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 to maintain uniformity

Stringent Laws against Piracy

Imprisonment and PenaltyIt includes imprisonment for three years and a Rs 10 lakh penalty for those found involved in piracy
Legal OffenceThe act of piracy will be a legal offense, and even transmitting pirated content will be punishable

Indian Cinema: A Backgrounder

  • The history of Indian cinema dates back to the late 19th century, with the screening of the Lumiere Brothers’ short films in Bombay (now Mumbai) in 1896.
  • Dadasaheb Phalke is considered to be the father of Indian cinema.
  • The first Indian-made film, Raja Harishchandra, was released by him in 1913 and marked the beginning of Indian cinema.
  • The first Indian talkie, Alam Ara, was released in 1931, marking a new era in Indian cinema.

Contribution of Indian Cinema to the Society

  • Entertainment: Indian cinema has been the biggest source of entertainment for people of all ages and backgrounds. From the early silent movies to the latest high-budget blockbusters, cinema has always been a popular form of entertainment in India.
  • National Integration: Indian cinema has played a crucial role in bringing people from different regions, cultures, and religions together. Hindi cinema, in particular, has become a unifying force for people all over the country.
  • Employment: The film industry provides employment opportunities to millions of people directly or indirectly, including actors, writers, directors, technicians, set designers, and more. This contributes to the overall economic growth of the country.
  • Education and Awareness: Movies can be a powerful tool for educating and raising awareness about various social issues. Many films have addressed social issues such as poverty, gender inequality, and corruption, among others.
  • Promotion of Culture: Indian cinema has helped promote and preserve Indian culture by showcasing traditional dances, music, and stories. Indian cinema also contributes to the country’s international image and soft power, with films and stars gaining popularity across the globe.
  • Technological advancements: Indian cinema has played a significant role in the development of new technologies in the entertainment industry. It has led to advancements in sound and visual effects, camera technology, and more.

Economic Impact

  • Revenue source: Indian cinema is a major contributor to the country’s economy, with a revenue of over Rs 180 billion in 2019. The govt earns significant revenue from taxes on film production, distribution, and exhibition.
  • Employment generation: It provides direct and indirect employment to millions of people across the country, including actors, producers, directors, and camera crew, technicians, and support staff.
  • Allied sectors: The film industry also provides a boost to related industries such as advertising, hospitality, tourism, and fashion.
  • Entertainment economy: Cinema houses and multiplexes generate revenue through ticket sales, concessions, and merchandise sales. Services such as music albums, merchandise, and tourism to filming locations.

Social impacts of Indian Cinema

  • Social cause: Many movies have addressed important social issues like poverty, gender inequality, caste discrimination, and communal violence, creating awareness and encouraging discussions about these topics.
  • Breaking gender stereotypes: The portrayal of strong female characters in movies has challenged traditional gender roles and has had a positive impact on the status of women in Indian society.
  • Accessible entertainment: Cinema has helped break down barriers between different social classes by providing affordable entertainment that is accessible to people from all walks of life.
  • Inspirational aspects: Movies have also served as a source of inspiration for many people, especially the youth, who look up to their favourite stars and aspire to emulate them.

Role in nation building

  • Promotion of Social Harmony: Indian cinema has played an essential role in promoting social harmony by creating content that showcases the diversity and cultural richness of India. For instance, the movie ‘Lagaan’ (2001) showcased the spirit of communal harmony and depicted how people from different religions and communities could come together to achieve a common goal.
  • Inculcation of Moral Values: Indian cinema has also played a crucial role in inculcating moral values among the masses. Movies like ‘Taare Zameen Par’ (2007) highlighted the importance of empathy, compassion, and understanding towards children with special needs, while ‘Swades’ (2004) showcased the significance of social responsibility and patriotism.
  • Creating Awareness about Social Issues: Indian cinema has also been successful in creating awareness about various social issues prevalent in the country. For instance, the movie ‘Padman’ (2018) aimed to raise awareness about menstrual hygiene and broke the taboo surrounding it. Similarly, the movie ‘Pink’ (2016) highlighted the issue of consent and the importance of women’s safety and empowerment.

Issues with Indian Cinema

  • Portrayal of violence and sexuality: Many films depict violent acts and sexual content, which can have a negative impact on viewers, particularly on younger audiences.
  • Reinforcement of stereotypes: Women are often portrayed as submissive and objectified, while members of certain castes and religions are portrayed in a negative light.
  • Promotion of materialism: Many films promote materialism, consumerism, and extravagance, which can encourage viewers to adopt unrealistic expectations and values.
  • Lack of diversity: Although Indian cinema has made progress in recent years, there is still a lack of diversity in terms of representation of different communities, especially in mainstream films.
  • Undue commercialization: The Indian film industry is heavily commercialized, which can lead to a focus on profit rather than on producing quality content.  
  • Nepotism: The practice of giving preference to family members or friends in the industry, often at the expense of more deserving and talented individuals is more prevalent.

Way forward

  • Revising the certification process:  The process should be more transparent and accountable, and filmmakers should be given a chance to appeal any decision.
  • Protecting artistic freedom: The government should ensure that the certification process does not infringe upon artistic freedom.  
  • Encouraging regional cinema: The government should encourage and promote regional cinema by providing incentives, tax breaks, and subsidies to filmmakers.  
  • Promoting cultural diversity: The government should encourage filmmakers to explore different cultures and promote intercultural dialogue through cinema.
  • Combating piracy: Piracy is a major issue in the film industry and it hurts the revenues of filmmakers and the government.  
  • Developing film infrastructure: The government should invest in the development of film infrastructure such as studios, post-production facilities, and film schools.  

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