National Anthem at Sathyam movies

Last week I had gone to the movie Anjaathey at Seasons in Sathyam complex. Before the movie there was a slide asking the viewers to stand up for singing the national anthem. This was something new, I didn’t see this happening last month when I went to some other movie at the same complex.

SPB came on screen and sung a beautiful version of Jana Gana Mana composed by AR Rahman, with the mannerisms of a concert vocalist. The problem was, it wasn’t the tune we are taught since our school days and used too. So the entire audience stood in silence.

A few questions. Why this sudden move by Sathyam? Does it really make you patriotic to hear the national anthem prior to a movie?

Related discussion in Chennai Metblogs last August.

15 Comments so far

  1. chennaimetblogs on March 30th, 2008 @ 3:25 pm

    Why should hearing a song written and sung in a language I understand zilch make me patriotic?

  2. chenthil on March 30th, 2008 @ 4:25 pm

    My take is not related to the language of the song. I feel that this is just a gimmick by the theater. The symbols of patriotism – flag, anthem – were the products of the freedom movement. At present we seem to be happy to respect the symbols and not the ideals behind them.

  3. gurumurthy88 on March 30th, 2008 @ 6:01 pm

    @Chennai Metblogs: Listening to the song does not make any one patriotic. Accepted ..

    But then, you should check out the meaning of the song (just for the heck of it), and complaining just cos’ its in a language you don’t know, is lame.

    Just look up the meaning. Its actually good..

  4. chennaimetblogs on March 30th, 2008 @ 9:56 pm


    I actually do know what the anthem means – literally, as well as the historical context. Maybe you should peruse the Wikipedia article on the anthem – It was written as a paean to a visiting British king – the "bharata bhagya vidhatha" in the anthem is King George V of England.

    And why is the complaint that it is in a language I don’t know lame? I cannot hope to learn every language in India. If an anthem should generate patriotic feelings in me, it should be in a language I understand and can appreciate. There are several songs and poems and stories in languages that I do understand and which do evoke patriotic feelings in me – not just my mother tongue, but in languages I am fluent in and have the right literary and historic exposure (this set includes Tamil and Hindi too).

  5. ramp on March 31st, 2008 @ 11:14 am

    I believe we(Indians) make such a big hue and cry about trivial issues like dishonoring national sentiments instead of actually caring about the real problems facing us. We make big issues of Sachin cutting a cake designed like an Indian flag and think nothing about bribing an official to get what we want done. We do nothing to prevent the fellow pedestrian from dumping his mouthful of filth on a clean pavement and yet we get all heated up to see someone cut a cake or another person had tattooed the design of the flag.

    I do agree with chenthil that it is indeed a gimmick by the theatre and that it does not get the respect it deserves (I could see people standing up due to peer pressure during the show, but they were still munching away at their popcorns that they had in their hand), but I also believe that it is not so big an issue at the moment to deserve the attention it gets in the name of patriotic fervour. Come one guys, there are many other ways to show our patriotism and getting angry at people who apparently show disrespect to an anthem or sing it in a different tune, I feel, is not amongst the top of the list by a long way. That’s just my 2 cents (paise??)…

  6. niranjanasu on March 31st, 2008 @ 10:56 pm

    Listening to the national anthem does not hurt anything. While it may not make any one more patriotic, it helps in avoiding the unnecessary embarrassment of not knowing the song. Also they should play it before all the national games (Cricket, football etc). Even for all the local games. I feel very envy when I see the Americans sing their national anthem before all games (even college games).

  7. pratham on April 1st, 2008 @ 11:05 am

    It is such a national shame that educated people do not like to sing or understand the national anthem. Of course, such discussions are not unusual to a state that would rather attach itself to Singapore or Sri Lanka than to India.

    We have a lovely national anthem, and obviously you must be having problems with the alpapraanas and mahapraanas because of the paucity of so many vowels and consonants in the local language.

    Get out of the ‘koopastha mandooka’ attitude Mr.chennaimetblogs. Not many people outside your state share the pride that you wear on your sleeve.

  8. neoflys on April 2nd, 2008 @ 10:50 am

    well done sathyam… I am sure many chennai folks are patriotic and appreciate this

  9. chennaimetblogs on April 2nd, 2008 @ 11:36 am


    In case you didn’t get it the first time – I do understand what the anthem means and also its historical context. What I do not understand is WHY I should be required to evoke patriotic feelings when the original intention of the anthem was to eulogize a visiting monarch. And for the 95% or so of Indians who do not understand Bengali, WHY should this one particular song be any different from the scores of others?

  10. pratham on April 2nd, 2008 @ 12:35 pm

    Mr chennaimetblogs,

    The national anthem has a broader meaning than what it was originally intended for. In any case, whatever the history behind it, it is our national anthem, and we cannot shy away from it. Considering India’s diversity, there will be a problem with every anthem one chooses. Although the poem was written in Bengali, it is sung in the way most Indians would sing it (except for some people of your state.) Most of the poem just speaks of different states and rivers, and there is very little Sanskrit or Bengali involved. Most Indians, I am sure, understand what the national anthem means because of the way Sanskrit has been interwined with the many Indian languages. Now, it is not anyone’s fault if members of a certain state have a particular aversion for anything other than their own.

  11. sachinnichani on April 2nd, 2008 @ 9:54 pm

    wow… the langauage xenophiles wont even spare the national anthem huh. no wonder the city is losing out to the more liberal bangalore and hyderabad.

    sorry state of affairs

  12. chennaimetblogs on April 3rd, 2008 @ 7:09 am


    I am not sure from where you got the idea that the anthem’s meaning has changed since it was first written. It still uses the same words and means exactly the same.

    Considering India’s diversity, we should have one anthem in every official language. It is not as if there aren’t literary giants in any of these languages. Now, your theory that "most Indians will understand what the national anthem means" is just hyperbole – have you ever tried asking some of the people you meet on a daily basis? Start with your own housemaid, the auto or bus driver who takes you to work, the chai-wallah from whom you buy your tea and cigarette, your office chowkidar – you think all these people (assuming you are not in Bengal) know or understand the meaning of Jana Gana Mana???

    Your contempt for the state of Tamil Nadu and its people makes you a hypocrite. Contrary to your assumption, I am not a Tamilian; just one of the several Indians who find Chennai a wonderful city to live in and make a living in.

  13. chennaigal on April 8th, 2008 @ 10:37 am

    hi.. i have heard our national anthem not only in sathyam.. but in udayam n abirami theaters also.. the purpose is not to make u patriotic before the movie.. but just to settle down the crowd before they get ready to watch the movie.. there will be some of silence for the immediately playing the movie after the anthem is a technique for theatre guys to settle down the noise.. this is one foremost reason.. another thing is.. huge mass come to theatre…right from poorest to richest.. so they play it to culture the all kinds of people to make them realize we have to stand up and give respect for the anthem..which some lazy ppl dont do..

  14. themozhi on April 8th, 2008 @ 8:53 pm

    We have ragas for every mood. Yes, music has an effect.
    While staying in US, even watching “Incredible India” ad impacts me the most …more than when I used to live in India.
    Recently I came to know that "Pangea Day"(May 10, 2008) will be observed as a day the world comes together through film. Leading film-makers are seeking to change the way we think about other countries. This is one of a powerful series of films to be shown on Pangea Day, May 10, "the day the world comes together through film".

    Watching other country people sing India’s anthem ….the feeling is incredible… really. However we used to have this tradition of having anthem at the end of the movie wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy back in our theaters. But people rush to get their transportation disrespected the anthem and started walking out. Then government decided to abolish the practice of playing anthem at the end of the show to preserve the respect the anthem deserves, at that time many applauded the that good move too.
    By the way watch yourself the "Imagine! Kenya sings for India"… at the following link. I felt like hearing "Sarae Jahan Sae Aacha Hindustan Humara" song.

  15. divia on April 14th, 2008 @ 5:43 pm

    Well now bringing in a bit of ‘information’ in this discussion.. the move to play National Anthem in Cinema halls was first passed by teh Maharashtra goverment in 2002 by the NCP goverment, the move kind of died in the city… and now it has come back again.. well i am more bothered about ‘who’ is that telling me to prove my patriotism ….i dont think standing up to a national anthem by any way proves that you are a partiotic Indian… and if the move is done with this view (and iam sure it is) then i think it is ridiculous

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