A Critical Analysis on Censorship Issues in Indian Cinema & Its Challenges 

Vijay G
Advocate, Madras High Court, Chennai

Volume III, Issue IV, 2020

As numerous texts, precedents and experts have reiterated – “Media is an essential part of democracy.” Media takes pride in its participation in creating, changing and portraying the views of public at large. In India, Social Media has taken over from traditional media like newspapers and radio in recent years. But ‘cinema’ has proven to be a medium which has survived the test of time and its impact in the modern world has only expanded. With Global Cinema markets like America, China and France opening up for Indian Cinema mindful of its worthy content, there has been a steep increase in production of off-beat content and those which were earlier deemed to be “sensitive” , “objectionable” and “controversial” have now become a part of mainstream cinema. Cinema just like every other medium is not above the law and has to undergo its legal process of certification and censorship before it gets to the eyes of the public. But this legal process has led to several instances of ban and censorship of content from public exhibition. Does the law really intend to draw the line or is this just an age old process that needs serious changes to adapt itself to the changing times? With various questions being raised on the basis of these bans and censor cuts, the real challenge lies when it is matched up with the facets of law. Freedom of speech & expression is an important piece of legislation in the Indian constitution which serves as the ultimatum in this regard. A few recent incidents have forced the people to question its latent existence and the “freedom” it practically guarantees. This paper is an attempt to bring out key aspects regarding the issues in censorship and their history along with the essential legal aspects involved in it.