India/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation  

5.3.6 Film, video and photography

The Indian cinema is effectively regulated under the Indian Cinematograph Act, 1952. Although there have been several rumours and news items that this Act is to be amended, this has not yet happened. The 1952 Act governs both film certification and regulates the public exhibition of films. This act also provides for the establishment of Central Board for Film Certification (CBFC). Section 5-A of Cable Television Networks Act read with Section 4 of Cinematograph Act provides for the examination and certification of films by the CBFC.

All films for public viewing need to be certified by the Board. A film is not certified for public exhibition if any part of it is ‘against the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality, or involves defamation or contempt of court or is likely to incite the commission of any offence’.

It was only in the year 2000 that cinema was given the status of an ‘industry’ under the Industrial Development Bank Act of 1964, making it eligible for financial support from banking and financial institutions. This status also meant that films now come under the organised industrial sector and are under the preview of the Industrial Disputes Act, etc.

The Indian government opened up the industry (film financing, production, distribution, exhibition, marketing and associated activities) to 100% Foreign Direct Investment[1] in the year 2000.

The National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) set up under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting promotes independent cinema in various Indian languages. It has financed more than 300 films in 18 Indian languages. NFDC co-produces projects involving public private partnerships.

Some of the terms and conditions for production of films by the NFDC are: only the first feature film or short/featurette film of the applicant Director, as the case may be, is eligible for financing under the 100% production scheme of the Corporation, and applications received should state that at least 80% of the film would have the language, which has been stated in the application.[2]

The National Film Archive of India (NFAI) was established in February 1964 as a media unit of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Its main objectives and functions are:

  • to trace, acquire and preserve for the use of posterity the heritage of national cinema and a representative collection of world cinema
  • to classify and document data related to film and undertake and encourage research on cinema
  • to act as a centre for the dissemination of film culture in the country, and to promote Indian cinema abroad.

India does not have any law for compulsory deposit of films. Copies of films that receive national awards are deposited in the NFAI at the cost of producers (a law that the NFAI itself has not been able to enforce).

Films Division of India (FDI) under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting produces documentaries and news magazines for the publicity of Central Government schemes. For some years since its birth (in 1948), it was one of the largest documentary producing units in the world. Its significant archives hold more than 8,000 titles on documentaries, short films and animation films. The content that the FDI has produced has been mainly for the State television broadcasting arm, Doordarshan. The broad themes of the documentaries and short films are heritage, national information and integration.

Chapter published: 22-04-2014