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Indian Cinema: Rule Reforms, Kashmir’s Policy

In a synchronized effort, the Indian government rolls out revamped certification rules and unveils a progressive film policy for Jammu and Kashmir. The new measures promise to modernize the industry, enhance transparency, and stimulate creativity across the nation

By Tauheed Ahmad

In a synchronized move aimed at revitalizing the Indian film industry, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, announced the implementation of the Cinematograph (Certification) Rules, 2024, while concurrently, the Administrative Council (AC) approved the Jammu and Kashmir Film Policy-2024.

The notification of the Cinematograph (Certification) Rules, 2024, signifies a significant leap forward in the modernization of film certification processes. With a focus on transparency, efficiency, and inclusivity, these rules mark a departure from the antiquated Cinematograph (Certification) Rules, 1983. The adoption of online certification processes, reduction in processing timelines, and introduction of age-based certification categories are pivotal enhancements designed to align the certification process with the digital age and evolving industry standards.

In parallel to that, the approval of the Jammu and Kashmir Film Policy-2024 underscores the government’s commitment to fostering cinematic creativity and productivity in the Jammu and Kashmir.

These dual initiatives, while distinct in focus, converge in their overarching goal of propelling the Indian film industry into a new era of growth and innovation.

In a landmark move poised to reshape the cultural landscape of Jammu and Kashmir, the Administrative Council (AC), has green lit the eagerly awaited Jammu and Kashmir Film Policy-2024.


AC approves Jammu and Kashmir Film Policy-2024 – The INS News

With a vision to position J&K as a veritable nucleus of cinematic ingenuity, the approved policy encompasses a spectrum of initiatives designed to bolster the cinematic landscape, including time-bound administrative support, the establishment of a Single Window Cell, streamlined permissions for film shoots, financial aid packages, and the promotion of both governmental and non-governmental entities involved in cinema publicity. Moreover, the policy strives to cultivate a nationally competitive infrastructure for filmmaking, with provisions for bodies such as the Film Development Council, J&K Film Division, Script Screening Committee, Divisional Location Permission Committee, Film Development Fund, and mechanisms for branding and promoting film festivals.


Financial Support and Incentives:

The policy introduces a comprehensive package of financial assistance, aimed at promoting both governmental and non-governmental organizations associated with the publicity of cinema. Notably, it sets forth criteria for claiming subsidies, with a minimum shooting duration of 20 days mandated for films seeking subsidy from the UT Government. The maximum subsidy for productions in regional languages is capped at Rs 1.25 crores.

For films seeking subsidy from the UT Government, production costs must exceed Rs. 10 crores and screenings are required on at least 25 screens nationwide. Conversely, for J&K domiciles, the minimum production cost is Rs. 50 lakhs with screenings on a minimum of 3 screens. The policy also specifies ineligible categories for subsidy, ensuring efficient resource allocation.

“A Film Development Fund shall be created from fiscal year 2024-25 with allocation of Rs. 500 crores (payable in next 05 years with an annual budgetary grant of Rs. 100 crores.) to be sourced from CAPEX budget for disbursement of subsidies/incentives. The minimum cost of production of the film shall be Rs.10 crores and it must be screened on minimum 25 screens across the country. For domiciles of J&K, the minimum cost of production of a film shall be Rs.50 lacs and it must be screened on minimum 3 screens. The in-eligible categories for subsidy have also been notified in the policy. The policy will have positive impact on the economy in terms of generating employment and growth of film tourism.  The policy will be valid for 05 years”, the statement reads.


Arif Basheer Manzar, a seasoned filmmaker, shared his perspective on incentivizing films, stating, “In itself, it is a weird idea to incentivize a film… My take on incentivizing would be if you don’t charge a fee for locations.” He stressed the importance of facilitating filmmakers by offering access to locations without financial barriers.

Shahnawaz Bhat, an actor, writer and Director emphasized the critical importance of infrastructure in filmmaking. He highlighted the significant challenge filmmakers face with high camera rental costs, stressing the need for affordable equipment availability within Jammu and Kashmir itself. “Infrastructure is crucial for us filmmakers. The main hurdle we face is the high cost of camera rentals. If the government could make such equipment available here at affordable rates, it would be a game-changer,” he said.


Shahnawaz further pointed out the additional expenses incurred due to accommodation and transportation, suggesting that discounts at hotels would be beneficial. Moreover, he advocated for the provision of camera, sound, and editing studios at discounted rates, stating that these facilities are essential for filmmakers and would greatly contribute to cost-saving measures.


Film Policy will revive Film Tourism, boost economy, and promote local  talent in J&K – The Kashmir Horizon

Infrastructure Development:

In its commitment to fostering a robust cinematic ecosystem, the policy outlines the establishment of key bodies such as the Film Development Council and the J&K Film Division. Additionally, it sets up essential committees including the Script Screening Committee and the Divisional Location Permission Committee to facilitate smooth operations within the industry.

“The policy provides for time-bound administrative assistances, setting up of Single Window Cell, facilitation for granting of permission for shooting films, package of financial assistance, promoting Government/Non-Government Organizations associated with publicity of cinema and striving to create nationally competitive infrastructure for film making”, the statement reads.

Moreover, the policy introduces a dedicated Film Development Fund to provide sustained financial support for film projects. Furthermore, it incorporates mechanisms for branding and promotional activities through film festivals, ensuring comprehensive outreach and visibility for J&K’s cinematic endeavors.

“The policy provides for bodies like Film Development Council, J&K Film Division, Script Screening Committee, Divisional Location Permission Committee, Film Development Fund and mechanism for branding and promotion of activities by means of film festivals,” the statement reads.

Regarding the need for infrastructure support, Manzar emphasized, “To shoot a particular scene like typical Kashmiri, which is rarely seen in villages now… we need a film city in Jammu and Kashmir.” He highlighted the challenge of finding authentic settings due to changes in architecture and emphasized the role of a film city in providing versatile filming locations.

Manzar further advocated for providing location access at reduced charges, stating, “Giving locations at lesser charges and other things compared to those coming from other states… this subsidizing won’t be much effective.” He underscored the significance of supporting local filmmakers to nurture a vibrant film industry in the region.

Questioning the necessity of the Script Screening Committee, Manzar noted the evolution of the Central Board of Film Certification over decades. He remarked, ” Central Board of Film Certification had evolved over decades, and still, people still question on it…” He expressed concern that the establishment of a script screening committee would create a parallel structure to the central film board, which he viewed as contradictory.

Likewise Shahnawaz too voiced concerns about the lack of clarity regarding the Script Screening Committee’s purpose and operations. He questioned the necessity of creating a parallel committee alongside the existing Central Board of Film Certification, emphasizing the need for transparency and expertise in the committee’s members. “Navigating the Script Screening Committee can be a daunting task for filmmakers, especially when faced with delays in obtaining shooting permissions. We need clarity on its purpose and operations,” he said.


Economic Impact:

Beyond its cultural significance, the Jammu and Kashmir Film Policy-2024 holds immense potential to drive economic growth and job creation in the region. By attracting filmmakers, generating employment opportunities, and boosting film tourism, the policy is poised to catalyze a ripple effect across various sectors, contributing to the overall socio-economic development of J&K.

Policy Duration and Future Prospects:

Valid for a period of five years, the Jammu and Kashmir Film Policy-2024 provides a roadmap for sustained progress and development in the cinematic domain. As the government embarks on the implementation phase, stakeholders can anticipate a transformative journey characterized by innovation, inclusivity, and collaboration.


Key Highlights of the Cinematograph (Certification) Rules, 2024:

  • Embrace of Digital Processes: The rules have undergone a comprehensive overhaul to embrace online certification processes, ensuring heightened transparency, efficiency, and business facilitation for the film fraternity.
  • Streamlined Procedures: Notable reductions in processing timelines have been achieved through the seamless adoption of complete digital processes, streamlining bureaucratic procedures.
  • Inclusive Mandate: A groundbreaking inclusion mandate requires films to incorporate accessibility features, ensuring equal participation for disabled individuals and echoing the principles of diversity and representation.
  • Age-Based Certification: The introduction of age-based categories aims to furnish age-appropriate content to viewers, while respecting principles of freedom of expression and consumer choice.
  • Gender Representation: The rules mandate enhanced representation of women in the CBFC Board and Advisory Panels, reinforcing the Government’s commitment to gender parity.
  • Transparency Enhancement: Provision for priority screening of films is introduced to expedite certification processes, fostering transparency and accountability.
  • Perpetual Validity: Certificates issued by the CBFC now enjoy perpetual validity, eliminating the previous restriction of validity for only 10 years.
  • Television Broadcast Compliance: Films edited for television broadcast necessitate recertification, ensuring adherence to content regulations and upholding viewer integrity.

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