Guidelines for filming Documentaries in India

  • Those interested in filming documentaries/commercial ads in India may visit the following link and send the detailed documentation to :
    Guidelines for filming documentaries in India
  • Clearance for shooting of Feature Films/ Reality Shows/ Commercial TV serials is processed by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Govt. of India. In such cases, those interested may visit the Section of ‘Codes Guidelines and Policies’ of the Ministry’s website:

Parallely, a copy of the detailed shooting script of the film may be sent to the Embassy at
If and when permission is received from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, the Embassy may be informed for processing of the visas.

It may be noted that processing of filming applications takes anywhere between two to eight weeks (and sometimes more, depending on the specific cases). Applicants are therefore advised to present their applications well in advance of the proposed travel/filming dates in India.

General background on the AUDIO-VISUAL MEDIA Scene in india

Feature films are being produced in India since 1912-13. While R.G. Torney along with N.G. Chitre made Pundalin in 1912, Dhundiraj Govind Phalke (1870-1914) produced Raja Harishchandra in 1913. The era of silent films was overtaken by the talkie era in 1931 when Ardeshir Irani (1886-1969) produced Alam Ara, tthough silent movies continued to be produced till 1934. India leads the world in the annual output of feature films.


Films can be publicly exhibited in India only after they have been certified by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). The Board set up under the Cinematography Act, 1952, consists of a Chairman and a minimum of 12 and a maximum of 25 non-official members, all appointed by the Government. The Board functions with headquarters at Mumbai and nine regional offices at Bangalore, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chennai Thiruvananthapuram, New Delhi, Cuttack and Guwahati. The films produced in 14 languages are certified by nine offices all over the country. The regional offices are assisted in the examination of films by members of advisory panels which include eminent educationists, art-critics, journalists, social workers, psychologists, etc. The Board examines films for certification in accordance with the provisions contained in the Cinematography Act, 1952, Cinematography (Certification) Rules, 1983 and the guidelines issued by the Central Government. The Film Certification Appellate Tribunal, New Delhi hears appeals against the decision of the CBFC.


The Films division was established in 1948 to record, propagate and preserve the achievements of a resurgent independent India on celluloid. It has been the vital link between the people and the Government apart from its pioneering role in spreading the documentary film movement in India and the world. It is the largest national agency devoted to the production and distribution of newsmagazines, quickies and documentaries.

Apart from its newsmagazines and documentaries the Films Division also produces story-based featurettes and educational films both in-house for various ministries and departments of the Government of India and other State Governments. Its cartoon unit has a unique place of pride in the country churning out most delightful and educative animation shorts.

The Films Division produces and dubs all the released films in all the regional languages apart from Hindi and English. It has ten distribution branch offices located at Bangalore, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Chennai, Madurai, Nagpur, Thiruvananthapuram, and Vijayawada. Films Division has an archive with more than 8,000 titles on variety of subjects.


National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) Limited incorporated in 1975, was restructured in 1980 after amalgamation of the Indian Motion Picture Export Corporation (IMPEC) and Film Finance Corporation (FFC). The primary objective of NFDC is to foster excellence in cinema and to develop state-of-the-art technology in audio-visual and related fields. The main activities of the corporation include financing and producing films with socially relevant themes, creative and artistic excellence and experimental in form; distribution and dissemination of films through various channels. NFDC also provides essential pre-production and post-production infrastructure to the film industry, in pace with the latest technology, which includes financing of theatre construction. NFDC also endeavours to promote culture and understanding of cinema by organising film weeks, Indian panorama and film festivals in collaboration with film societies, National Film Circle and other agencies representing Indian and foreign films.

The Cine Artists' Welfare Fund of India, set up by NFDC, is the biggest ever trust in the Indian Film Industry with a corpus of Rs.4.16 crore.


The National Film Archive of India (NFAI), established in 1964, has three principal objectives, viz., (i) to trace, acquire and preserve the national film heritage for posterity; (ii) to clarify and document data and promote research relating to films and (iii) to act as a centre for dissemination of film culture. NFAI has been a member of the International Federation of Film Archives since May 1969, which enables it to get expert advice and material on preservation techniques, documentation, bibliographies, etc., and to exchange rare films with other members. As a part of its activities under dissemination of film culture, NFAI's headquarters at Pune and three Regional Offices at Bangalore, Kolkata and Thiruvananthapuram extend distribution library facilities to the members throughout the country. NFAI also conducts joint screening programmes at Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Thiruvananthapuram, Cochin, Jamshedpur and Pune. Long and short-term courses in Film Appreciation are conducted in collaboration with FTII and other educational institutions and cultural organisations.


Children's Film Society, India (CFSI) also known as National Centre of films for Children and Young People (N'CYP) was established in 1955 to provide value-based entertainment to children through the medium of films and is engaged in production, acquisition, distribution and exhibition of such films. The head office of the CFSI is located in Mumbai with branch/zonal offices in New Delhi and Chennai. Films produced/procured by the Society are exhibited through state/districtwise package programmes.


The Directorate of Adbvertising and Visual Publicity (DACP) is the central agency of the Government of India for undertaking advertising and audio visual publicity campaigns on behalf of various Ministries, Departments and autonomous bodies, except Railways and provides them a single-window service. The means of communication used are press advertisements, outdoor publicity, exhibitions and audio-visual and printed publicity materials like posters, folders, brochures, booklets, etc.


Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute (SRFTI), Kolkata, an autonomous academic institution under the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, was registered in 1995 under the West Bengal Societies Registration Act, 1961. The Institute is a National Centre offering post-graduate diploma courses of three year duration in (i) Film Direction & Screenplay Writing; (ii) Motion Picture Photography; (iii) Editing (Film & Video) and (iv) Sound Recording. Films Bhor and Meena Jha produced by the first batch of students have won three national awards.