Indian Laws to consider before shooting a film

According to Article 19 (1)(a) of the Indian Constitution, citizens have a right to freedom of speech and expression and this includes shooting the films for public exhibition. However, there may be reasonable restrictions for this fundamental right because Article 19 is not an absolute right. There are 4 types of certifications under Central Board of Film Certification :

  1. Universal (U) – The movies that are given U certificates will have minimum foul language and will be suitable to be vieved by all. Families can watch these movies with children.
  2. Parental Guidance (U/A) – The movies that are given this certification can be viewed  by all but may not be suitable for children under 12 years of age to watch alone; it is kind of a warning that this movie is not for children.
  3. Adults Only (A) – These movies may include scenes which may negatively influence children below 18 years of age.
  4. Restricted to special class of persons (S) – This is the last and a very rare type of certification. It insists that the movie or documentary is specifically made for a specialized category of people like doctors or scientists. “The Birth” was a documentary which was released in India with an S certificate and only doctors or medical professionals could view the film.

The Central Board of Film Certification certifies the film after their members screen the film. If it is given a different certificate than expected, then the makers can approach a court and if the certification does not have any reasonable explanation, then the court will interfere. Any film having a celluloid more than 2000 metres is a long film. In duration, it is set as 72 minutes. Hence, any film that is shorter than 72 minutes is a short film and if it is longer than 72 minutes, it is a long film.

Role of Film Facilitation Office

Indian film makers as well as foreign film makers require permissions and consent from different owners and authorities to shoot their films. The Film Facilitation Office (FFO) was set up by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in the National Film Development Corporation to encourage film shooting in India.

  1. Location permission: If shooting is done in a private area then the permission from the land owner is required. If it is done in a public place then the consent of the Local Police Station is required. You have to mention the date, time and the exact location, where it is shot and the duration of the shoot. Shooting in Jammu and Kashmir requires special permission from the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  2. Filming with Government Authorities: If a scene contains police vehicles or police uniform, then there should be permission taken from the authorities in the area where the shooting is done.
  3. Filming animals or birds: The Animal Welfare Board of India must approve the shooting before specific animals are filmed because there are bans or limitations for filming certain animals. A copy of the film must be sent to the AWBI if there are scenes containing animals and only after the Board’s approval can the film be released.

Television and CBFC                                       

Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) certificate is not required for television programs and serials. However they must comply with the rules and regulations of Cable Television Network (Regulation) Act, 1955. There are rules regarding the content displayed as well as the advertisements. The offences under the Cable Television Network (Regulation) Act, 1955 are non-cognizable, meaning the police cannot file an FIR without the direction of the court. Hence, a specific complaint has to be processed by an authorized Officer by the State government.

Aishwarya Says:

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