Indian cinemas must play national anthem

NEW DELHI • India's Supreme Court yesterday made it mandatory for all cinemas across the country to play the national anthem before any movie screening and also directed that people should show honour and respect when the anthem is played.

"India's national anthem must be played in all cinema halls before a movie starts. The national anthem must be accompanied by an image of the tricolour (Indian flag) on the silver screen," the apex court said.

"Citizens must respect the national anthem and flag. When the national anthem is played, it is imperative for all to show honour and respect. It would instil a sense of committed patriotism and nationalism," the court said further.

The court also made it clear that the national anthem should not be commercially exploited or dramatised. "There should not be any commercial exploitation of the national anthem," it said.

The court has allowed 10 days for its order to be implemented. It will circulate the order to all states' chief secretaries and will also publish it in the electronic and print media.

Reflecting pluralism, Jana Gana Mana is the national anthem of India. It was taken from the first stanza of the Bengali-language hymn Bharat Bhagya Vidhata composed and scored by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore.

India's Constituent Assembly first adopted the song as the National Anthem of India in 1950.

A formal rendition of the national anthem takes 52 seconds. A shortened version consisting of the first and last lines (and taking about 20 seconds to play) is also performed occasionally.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 01, 2016, with the headline 'Indian cinemas must play national anthem'. Print Edition | Subscribe