Last Saturday we went out on a cosy family date to the cinemas. Spider-Man: Homecoming released just a day before and we had already read and heard rave reviews. It had been a while since we had done a movie together as a family. The 9-year-old, doesn’t enjoy movies too much, especially in the theatres. The 19-year-old is mostly out with her friends. So after much cajoling the 9-year-old accompanied us for the movie. So did the 19-year-old. Honestly, even I wasn’t that excited to go watch a school kid perform as Spider-Man. Well my preconceived notions were put to rest, when I sat to watch the movie, as I quite enjoyed it. But this isn’t a movie review, my dear readers. This is about my emotions before the entertainment began.
It’s a little piece about my personal feelings when the National Anthem is played at the cinemas just before the movie starts. On November 30, 2016 the Supreme Court once again ordered cinema halls to mandatorily play the anthem, and directed all those present there to stand up to show respect. The court felt the practice would instil a feeling of committed patriotism and nationalism. The National Anthem was last ordered to be played in cinemas in India after the country’s 1962 war with China, but the practice was discontinued in 1975 after most moviegoers ignored it.
When this Supreme Court ruling came into effect yet again late last year, different people voiced their opinions differently, but ofcourse. Some felt it was cohesive, as though patriotism was being forced down their throats. They felt that they went to the cinemas for entertainment and not to be classified as patriotic. Some even felt that patriotism, love and respect for the country came from within and not by singing the national anthem before the start of a film. Then there were some who welcomed this ruling with open arms and some like me who were fairly neutral to the idea. I wanted to wait, watch and experience it.
So, for the first time when I witnessed the National Anthem being played before a movie that I had gone with the DH (Darling Husband) for, I got goosebumps. I’m a movie buff and mostly go watch all the good ones (that cater to my taste). I probably watch two-three movies every month, at the cinemas. The very fact that we stood up with respect and regard for our country as the national song played, filled my heart with a sense of pride and love. It was heartwarming to see each and every person in the theatre stand in reverence. Ever since I was a kid, every time the national anthem was sung or played, I felt my heart swell up with love and admiration for my country. I know it’s one of those very momentary feelings. But, one that is indescribable. It’s probably one that gives you goosebumps each time. But the feeling disappears, when one sees squalor by the roadside, or hooligans misbehave with a helpless girl, people spitting on the road, or the poverty that reeks through every corner of the country. But, I have to admit I continue to love the idea of the National Anthem being played before the movies. Since we are no longer in school, we barely get to hear the anthem, except at an occasional school programme by our kids that we attend, once in five-six months. Or if we happen to watch the Republic Day or Independence Day Live telecast on T.V., which I’m sure very few of us do these days; or before a sports telecast on T.V.
Countries like Thailand, The Philippines and some African countries also play their National anthem in their cinemas before/after the screening of movies.
In my opinion there is absolutely no harm in having the National Anthem grace our screens that too for barely a minute; just before our popcorn, fizzy drinks and entertainment take over. It’s just a little, gentle reminder for all of us to stay in love with our motherland and feel for our country which has withstood the test of time and tide.
Prior to Spider-Man’s Homecoming last Saturday, I stood in respect and reverence as our National flag appeared on the cinema screen, while the National anthem played on. I experienced a homecoming of sorts. As though the National Anthem was drawing me back to my roots, prodding me to love and cherish my country – a little more and accept it for what it is, despite all the little flaws that make it our motherland and wonderland, all at the same time.
What do you feel about the our National Anthem being played at the cinemas? Does it do anything to you? Or do you feel it’s just unnecessary add-on? I’m sure that doesn’t make you any less patriotic than many of us. Either which way, I would love to hear your thoughts and views on this.