The Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2023, which was introduced by the Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting, Anurag Thakur, on 20 July, was cleared by the Rajya Sabha on 27 July. But now the bill, which looks at cracking down on film piracy and expanding age-based certification for films, was finally passed in the Lok Sabha on Monday.
The Bill, which amends the Cinematograph Act of 1952, introduces new penalties against piracy, thereby empowering the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) to make cuts in films and provide certificates which will now be valid in perpetuity.
The Bill, in its 2021 version, faced pushback from the film industry over fears of censorship as it would have allowed anyone to appeal against a film if they didn’t like it.
Next up, discussions were held between the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and industry leaders, and a new draft of the Bill was introduced in Parliament last month.
Citing the international success of films like ‘RRR’ and ‘The Elephant Whisperers’, Anurag Thakur mentioned in Lok Sabha on Monday that the industry had been asking to be freed from the shackles of piracy for years. Hence, the amended Cinematograph Act will help make “India’s soft power stronger” and “India’s films will win more Oscars and awards in the future.”
"We welcome the passing of the Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill 2023 by both Houses of Parliament and are especially grateful for the provisions prescribing stricter penalties against piracy. @ianuragthakur @MIB_India," PIB tweeted.
The film fraternity too came out in support of the amended film. Dinesh Vijan's Maddock Films tweeted, “A huge applause to the Lok Sabha for passing the Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2023! With age-based certification and robust anti-piracy measures, we're heading towards a brighter future for Indian cinema. Grateful to witness this positive transformation.”
‘Kabir Singh’ producer Ashwin Varde wrote, “A historic day. A great initiative. A game changer for the entire film industry. Thank you @ianuragthakur and everyone who made it possible.”