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CBFC Film Certifications Hit Record Low at 8,299 in Covid-Affected Year

Amidst the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, a notable decline in film certifications has been observed. The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) reported a decrease from the usual count of around 20,000 films per year to a mere 8,299 during the pandemic-ridden year of 2020-21. This is in stark contrast to the peak of 22,570 certifications granted in the year 2018-19, prior to the pandemic’s impact.

During this pandemic-hit phase, the CBFC had a significant role to play. Approximately 17.77 percent of the films submitted for certification during 2020-21 required modifications or edits, as advised by the CBFC. In normal circumstances, the CBFC typically covers a wide spectrum of films including Indian and foreign features of both short and long lengths, issuing certifications across various categories.

The recent insights were shared with the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Communications and Information Technology, which assessed the performance of the CBFC. Over the past years, there has been a fluctuating pattern in the number of certified films: 22,570 in 2018-19, 20,593 in 2019-20, 8,299 in the pandemic year 2020-21, and a recovery to 12,719 in 2021-22.

The year 2022-23 displayed a sign of the film industry’s resurgence, with CBFC certifying 18,070 films. This hints at the gradual bounce-back from the pandemic’s impact on film production and certification.

The decline in certification numbers was attributed to the pandemic by the Ministry, a reason highlighted in the report presented during the recent monsoon session of the Parliament.

Throughout these years, filmmakers have often been directed to make necessary changes before being granted certification. In 2019-20, 13.52 percent of the films (2,785 out of 20,593) required alterations as per CBFC’s suggestions. This trend continued into the following years. In 2020-21, 17.77 percent of the 8,299 films certified underwent modifications, while in 2021-22, the number stood at 15.02 percent of the 12,719 films certified.

The period between April 1 and September 30, 2022, showcased a total of 9,484 films certified by CBFC in 2022-23. Out of these, 11.13 percent (1,056 films) were advised to undergo alterations before receiving certification, reinforcing the CBFC’s role in ensuring film content aligns with appropriate standards.

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