Nagpur Diaries-5

Being the Ranbir Kapoor fan that I am I could not wait to see the movie Bombay Velvet. I was successful in convincing my family to go watch it in a multiplex nearby.

Suffice it to say the movie was very colourful, it captured the fashion of the post-independence Mumbai and the Jazz music perfectly. The plot was guessable. But the take away from that day was what happened before the movie even started.

We were all seated in the cinema hall. The staff was still guiding some of the patrons into their seats. The feature presentation was about to begin. Then in big bold letters came the announcement: “Please stand up for the National Anthem.” For me this was a surprise, I have never been to a cinema hall where they played the National Anthem prior to the movie- be it Kolkata, Chennai or even Champa in Chattisgarh.

Having grown up as part of the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan, for twelve years of my life- listening to the National Anthem had been part of the daily routine. One fine day, probably as part of a homework when I had set out to find the meaning of the words in the National Anthem, the lyrics had taken me by surprise. The National Anthem of India, within merely 52 seconds, is capable of sketching an illustrious painting that speaks to you not only through its words or its imageries but also through the very soul of a patriotic people. As the lyrics rolled on to the last “Jaya He!” I felt in a way connected to all those people in the cinema hall.

I had missed this feeling of being one with my country for almost a year, since graduating high school. Going to watch that movie that day in Nagpur made me realize that. Later that day I came to know they do the same in Pune, as a friend of mine told. Dad told me that they used to play it in Kolkata too. For reasons unknown, few years back they stopped.

This page is incomplete.

For now I need your help, dear reader. Which city do you belong to? Which Nation? And do they play your National Anthem before a movie starts?

Chalk this up to curiosity, but I wish to know more. The story behind playing the national anthem prior to a movie for firsts and then stopping it.

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