The Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2021: An Analysis

Kiran Sharma


Film piracy, particularly the distribution of pirated versions of films via the internet, causes enormous losses to the film industry and the government exchequer. In most cases, piracy begins with illegal duplication in movie theatres. There are currently no enabling provisions in the Cinematograph Act, 1952 to combat film piracy, necessitating the inclusion of such a provision in the Act. To tackle this menace of film piracy, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting introduced The Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill. The bill proposes punishing film piracy with an imprisonment and a fine, instituting age-based certification, and empowering the central government to order recertification of a previously certified film in response to complaints. Few provisions have received a major backlash from the film industry as it gives more power to the central government and have also added a layer to the securitization in films to get approval for certifications. Now it is matter to see whether this bill reduces the piracy or creates more problem to the industry people?

1. Introduction

Cinema is a form of artistic expression that expresses ideas, tales, and opinions. Few other forms of communication have the same amount of widespread effect and presence in our daily lives as the internet. ‘Raja Harishchandra’, India’s first indigenous feature film, was made and premiered in 1913. India is one of the world's largest film makers, and the film industry in India gives employment opportunities to millions. With technology and sound recording improving constantly, first musicals were released in 1930’s. This was the beginning of songs and dance in cinema.

In 1918, the first Indian Cinematograph Act was passed, placing Censor Boards (as they were known at the time) under the control of Police Chiefs in Madras, Bombay, Calcutta, Lahore, and Rangoon. After independence, regional autonomy was established. When the Bombay Board of Film Censors was founded, censorship was removed. Sanctioning of cinematograph films for exhibition has been included in Entry 60 of the Union List (List-I) of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India. However, cinemas subject to the provisions of List-I Entry 60 are included in State List Entry 33 (List-II). As a result of