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Anupam Kher says standing for national anthem shows person's upbringing


Actor says if people can wait in queues outside restaurants, then there is no harm in standing for 52 seconds for the anthem before a film begins.

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Mayur Lookhar

Actor Anupam Kher, a strong supporter of prime minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has spoken in favour of the practice of playing the national anthem in cinema halls before a film's screening.

The actor, who recently took over as chairman of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), was in Pune to receive the Pramod Mahajan memorial award. He was asked his views on the controversy and hit out at those who oppose the compulsion to play the anthem in cinema halls and to stand when it is played.

"Some people are of the opinion that standing up for the national anthem should not be made mandatory, but for me, standing up for the national anthem shows the upbringing of that person," he said. "We stand up in respect in front of our father or teacher. Similarly, getting up for the national anthem shows respect towards our nation."

He went on to add: "If people can wait at restaurants, stand in queues in front of cinema halls or at party venues, why cannot they stand for 52 seconds for the national anthem in cinema halls?"

Actress Vidya Balan and columnist Shobhaa De are among those who have expressed strong reservation about the forced practice.

Vidya, who recently launched De’s book titled Seventy and to Hell with It, told NDTV at the event: “I don't see the point, you can't force patriotism. When I hear the national anthem I stand up... we don't need to be told. This is actually very stifling.”