• Featured: A movie still from 'Khoobsurat' with Indian actress Sonam Kapoor and Pakistani actor Fawad Khan. (Disney)Source: Disney
Light, Camera, Anthem: the new movie experience in India requires attendees stand for the national anthem.
Shami Sivasubramanian

2 Dec 2016 - 10:09 AM  UPDATED 2 Dec 2016 - 10:17 AM

Imagine rocking up to a matinee screening of Fantastic Beasts getting comfy in your seat, popcorn and choc-top in hand, and bursting with excitement as the trailers starts rolling.

And then the flag starts fading into view on the screen. You hear the strains of the national anthem filling the 5.0 surround sound speakers. Before you know it you're made to stand up and put your popcorn and ice-cream down as the anthem plays.

After India’s Supreme Court ruled that cinema theatres across the country must play the national anthem prior to a film being shown, the sequence above is a legitimate reality. 

The court's ruling also mandates an image of the Indian flag should be screened before the movie commences, as well. 

The playing of the anthem was a common practice in the '60s and '70s but was phased out. Its reinstatement comes as the latest in India’s growing nationalism, a nationalism fuelled by an anti-Pakistan sentiment.  

It all started in September when the Indian Army announced it had crossed into Pakistan-controlled Kashmir and destroyed enemy bases. The move had been touted as a 'win' for India, sparking the latest iteration of India’s ongoing of Pakistani rivalry.

The internet has not taken kindly to the news, with many finding the new ruling to be an overreaction to current political events.

This new brand of nationalism has also spawned aggression and misunderstanding. 

In October, a disabled paraplegic man was assaulted at a cinema theatre for not standing up during the playing of the national anthem. In spite of him and his wife saying so numerous times, it took several minutes for the assaulters to realise the seated gentleman was paraplegic and could not physically stand up.

This anti-Pakistan fuelled nationalism has even seen some Bollywood directors and production houses deny roles to Pakistani actors. However, that decision was made following Pakistan's countrywide ban of viewing of Bollywood films in public premises. 


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