Central Board of Film Certification

From Audiovisual Identity Database

Background

Emblem of India.svg

The Central Board of Film Certification (known as the Central Board of Film Censors before June 1, 1983) is India's film certification body (headquartered in Mumbai), a government agency under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. It was established on June 15, 1951, being the successor to the local film censorship boards that were under the police chiefs of the cities of Madras (Chennai), Bombay (Mumbai), Calcutta (Kolkata), Lahore (now located in Pakistan), and Rangoon (renamed to Yangon and now located in Myanmar).

1st Bumper (June 15, 1951-1973?)

Bumper: The heading "CENTRAL BOARD OF FILM CENSORS" appears at the top, and below it is the following text: "This is to CERTIFY that the film entitled {name of film with any special indicators in parentheses} has been passed for {rating category} within the territories of India to which the Cinematograph Act, 1918 extends." Below this is the following technical information provided for the certificate: the company that is certificate's applicant, the film's production company, length of the film (in feet) and the certificate number. To the right of those fields is the certification symbol, shown inside an outlined circle. The bottom section has spaces for the city where the certificate is issued with the date of issue below and the CBFC chairman's signature with "For Chairman, Central Board of Film Censors" below. A rectangular border encloses everything in the certificate.

Certification Symbols and Their Descriptions:

Symbol Description
U Unrestricted public exhibition
A Restricted to adult audiences

Variant: Later variants of this certificate have a larger certification symbol and circle, the certification message being in a different serif font with "Cinematograph Act, 1918" replaced with "Cinematograph Act, 1952" (the latter law having superseded the former one), and the State Emblem of India (with the text "GOVERNMENT OF INDIA" below) appearing above the heading. Fields for the film's language, the film's gauge (e.g. 35mm), the number of film reels, and the certificate's expiry date are added to the technical information section, and the length of the film is now measured in meters. Sometimes, a block of fine print can be seen between the blocks for the date of issue and the CBFC chairman's signature and name.

Technique: None.

Music/Sounds: None.

Music/Sounds Variants:

  • On Goonj Uthi Shehnai and Hariyali Aur Rasta, a soothing theme with trumpets is played, which continues into the Prakash Pictures logo of the time.

Availability: Very rare. It is seen in every Indian film of the time period, just before the production logos.


2nd Bumper (1973?-1990?)

Bumper: The State Emblem of India (with "GOVERNMENT OF INDIA" below) is seen at the top of the screen, and the certification symbol (in a bold font) is seen to the right of it. Below all this is the heading "CENTRAL BOARD OF FILM CENSORS", and below it is the rating category. Technical information about the film is shown below, in the following order: the film's title; the film's gauge (in millimeters; e.g. 35mm), length (in meters), and number of reels; the certificate number; the dates of the certificate's issue and expiry; and the city where the certificate is issued. On the lower-right of the certificate is the section for the CBFC chairman's signature and his name, with "For Chairman" below. Like the previous bumper, everything is enclosed in a thick rectangular border.

Certification Symbols and Their Descriptions:

Symbol Description Notes
U Unrestricted public exhibition The V/U certificate is used for home video releases
UA
June 1, 1983-
Unrestricted public exhibition, with parental guidance for children under age 12 The V/UA certificate is used for home video releases
A Restricted to adult audiences The V/A certificate is used for home video releases
S
June 1, 1983-
Restricted to specialised audiences Not for public exhibition; only certain professions primarily associated with the film (e.g. doctors, scientists, engineers) can watch it
The V/S certificate is used for home video releases

Variants:

  • If the certificate was issued from June 1, 1983, the heading reads "CENTRAL BOARD OF FILM CERTIFICATION".
    • At least one certificate issued in late 1983 has the word "CENSORS" in the organization's name manually crossed-out with a line of X's and the word "CERTIFICATION" displayed above (all via typewriter).
  • Duplicate certificates (which are requested if the original certificate was lost or by the applying company that has acquired the film negative rights from another company) have the word "Duplicate" indicated on the upper-left side of the certificate.
  • If a certificate is simply a renewal of an older certificate, the word "Re-Certification" is indicated on the upper-left side of the certificate.
  • In later years, depending on the city where the certificate was issued, an equivalent translation of each text in the local language (shown above the English text) was provided.
  • Later variants have the certificate's content be widened; the State Emblem of India is now displayed side-by-side with "GOVERNMENT OF INDIA" above in both Hindi and English.

Technique: None.

Music/Sounds: None.

Availability: Very rare. It is seen in every Indian film of the time period, just before the production logos.


3rd Bumper (1990?-1995)

Bumper: Same as before, but the "CENTRAL BOARD OF FILM CERTIFICATION" text is in a Western-style font with the Hindi translation directly to its left.

Certification Symbols and Their Descriptions:

Symbol Description Notes
U Unrestricted public exhibition The V/U certificate is used for home video releases
UA Unrestricted public exhibition, with parental guidance for children under age 12 The V/UA certificate is used for home video releases
A Restricted to adult audiences The V/A certificate is used for home video releases
S Restricted to specialised audiences Not for public exhibition; only certain professions primarily associated with the film (e.g. doctors, scientists, engineers) can watch it
The V/S certificate is used for home video releases

Technique: None.

Music/Sounds: None.

Availability: Rare.


4th Bumper (1995-January 2020)

Bumper: An ornate border surrounds the certificate. The upper-right side contains the State Emblem of India. Here are the following sections:

  • Header: The words "GOVERNMENT OF INDIA", "CENTRAL BOARD OF FILM CERTIFICATION", "THIS CERTIFICATE IS VALID FOR THEATRICAL RELEASE ONLY", and "PART I" are seen, each of them has the text both in Hindi and English with a slash separating the two parts (except the third item, which is in two lines instead). A serial number for the certificate is seen at the left of the third item, and the emblem of the Government of India is seen on the upper-right side.
  • Main content: In addition to the usual technical information and the CBFC chairman's signature blocks, there's a lengthy certification message with the names of four panel members and an examining officer. The rating symbol is placed to the right of the technical information block and is both in Hindi and English, separated with a slash.

Certification Symbols and Their Descriptions:

Symbol Description Notes
U Unrestricted public exhibition The V/U certificate is used for home video releases
UA Unrestricted public exhibition, with parental guidance for children under age 12 The V/UA certificate is used for home video releases
A Restricted to adult audiences The V/A certificate is used for home video releases
S Restricted to specialised audiences Not for public exhibition; only certain professions primarily associated with the film (e.g. doctors, scientists, engineers) can watch it
The V/S certificate is used for home video releases

Variants:

  • Home video releases have the indication "THIS CERTIFICATE IS VALID FOR VIDEO FILMS ONLY" in place of "THIS CERTIFICATE IS VALID FOR THEATRICAL RELEASE ONLY". Here, the rating symbol is in two lines, with the Hindi symbol above and the English symbol below.
  • In later years, the certificate's design, now computer-generated, is updated as follows:
    • The certificate's border is changed.
    • The State Emblem of India is moved to the top left side of the content space (within the border), with the CBFC logo occupying its former position on the top right side.
    • The rating symbols are in a bold font and are separated by a thin horizontal line, with the Hindi symbol on top and the English symbol on the bottom.
    • The data fields for the gauge, running length, and number of reels is replaced by a data field simply indicating the film's duration in minutes and seconds.

Technique: None.

Music/Sounds: None.

Availability: Rare.


5th Bumper (August 31, 2019 [preview], January 2020 [start of implementation]- )


Bumper: The front side of this certificate is divided into two parts crosswise by a line of small black dots; the top half takes up about 30% of the screen, while the bottom half contains a grey "pinstripe" pattern. Here are the sections of this certificate:

  • Header: Contains the State Emblem of India (with "Government of India" in English and Hindi below) and the Central Board of Film Certification (both logos are separated by a thin black vertical line).
  • Overlapping the two halves is a white horizontally-centered box with a grey outline only on the left, bottom, and right borders, with ten small black dots (arranged vertically) positioned on the top-left and top-right corners; on that white box is the caption for the type of the certificate's validity, with the corresponding Hindi translation above; below this is the text "Part-I", both in Hindi and in English.
  • Main content: Shows technical information for the film and the certification message, with the corresponding certification symbols on the upper-right side. On the upper-left side (nearly touching the division border and positioned to the left of the overlapping box) of this section is a serial number and the type of film being released (such as "Feature"). Below it are the data fields for the certificate number, certification date, rating category, the film's title (in bold, even the technical indicators shown in parenthesis after the title), and the film's running length (now expressed in minutes and seconds). Below the technical information block is the certification message; to the right of that message is a QR code. On the lower-left side are the data fields for the names of the applicant and the producer, and on the lower-right side is the space for the CBFC chairman's signature, his name, and his position.

Certification Symbols and Their Descriptions:

Symbol Description Notes
U Unrestricted public exhibition The V/U certificate is used for home video releases
U/A Unrestricted public exhibition, with parental guidance for children under age 12 The V/UA certificate is used for home video releases
A Restricted to adult audiences The V/A certificate is used for home video releases
S Restricted to specialised audiences Not for public exhibition; only certain professions primarily associated with the film (e.g. doctors, scientists, engineers) can watch it
The V/S certificate is used for home video releases

Trivia:

  • This certificate design was unveiled on August 31, 2019 by Prakash Javdekar, the current Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting at the time.
  • By scanning the certificate's QR code, the film's basic certification information can be found on the CBFC website's corresponding page.

Variant: See the previous bumper regarding the home video variant of this bumper.

Technique: None.

Music/Sounds: None.

Availability: Current.

Legacy: This is one of very few film rating bumpers to incorporate a QR code in its design.

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