Accessibility Guidelines for the Hearing and Visually Impaired in Movie Halls

The government has drafted new accessibility guidelines to make watching movies in theaters more inclusive for people with hearing and visual impairments. The public comment period for the draft guidelines ends next week. Once notified, the rules will require movie production houses and theaters to provide accessibility features so the impaired can enjoy films without discrimination.


The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting published the draft guidelines last month. They apply to commercial releases certified by the Central Board of Film Certification. The focus is on providing information and assistive devices in theaters for people with disabilities. The law requires measures to promote accessibility to films under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016. Census 2011 data shows 19% of Indians have seeing disabilities and 19% have hearing disabilities, so accessible film viewing is an important issue.

What’s Proposed

For certification, producers must deliver two versions of films: one original and one with accessibility features like audio description, captions, and sign language. Cinemas must screen certified accessible versions. They can either have dedicated accessible screenings or use equipment during normal shows for the impaired, like smart glasses, separate caption screens, and headphones.


Films dubbed in multiple languages must have at least one hearing and one visual accessibility feature within six months of the rules’ implementation. Films submitted for the National Awards or film festivals need closed captioning and audio description starting next January 1st. All other commercial releases require accessibility features within three years.

Exhibitor Requirements

Exhibitors must make at least two accessibility equipment units available per 200 seats within three years. They should train staff to serve customers with disabilities. Licensing authorities will monitor compliance after three years.

Monitoring Mechanisms

A committee comprised 50% of hearing/visually impaired individuals and industry representatives will monitor implementation. People can file complaints with cinema operators first and licensing authorities after 45 days of no response. The CBFC will collect and publish data on accessibility services annually.



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