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Anthem tagged to films plays on

SC ruling doesn't change reel reality

RISE IN RESPECT: PVR Cinemas on Jail Road, Ranchi

Ranchi: Cinema halls in Ranchi, Jamshedpur and Dhanbad are playing the national anthem before screening movies though the Supreme Court earlier this month ruled that it was optional and not obligatory for the time being.

Cinema hall functionaries said the films from distributors came attached with the national anthem.

"We receive films for screening with the national anthem attached," said Vimal Kumar, manager of Fun Cinema at Hinoo.

Harsimrandeep Singh of PVR Cinemas on Circular Road, Dhruv Kushwaha of Carnival Cinema (formerly Glitz) on Main Road and Ritik Tyagi of SRS Cinemas at Dangratoli Chowk echoed Kumar, saying the films for screening had the national anthem attached.

"We heard about the Supreme Court ruling but have been playing the national anthem since we get the recorded anthem along with the films we screen," Tyagi said.

In Jamshedpur, one of the directors of Eylex Fun n Films, Anand Lohia, said as the decision was "discretionary", they have continued with playing the anthem. Payal Cinema owner Vishal Sawa said they did not plan to take it off. "It's always good to show respect to the country's anthem," he said.

In Dhanbad, where the anthem is played before screenings at plex Inox and single-screen halls, owner of Jharia's Deshbandhu Cinema Gopal Agrawal said, "We don't have a say. The decision is taken by the lighting agency," he said.

On January 9, a bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra modified its interim order of November 30, 2016 and ruled it would no longer be mandatory for cinemas to play the national anthem. But, it did rule that if played, everyone except the physically challenged must stand up. Then, the apex court left it to the Centre's inter-ministerial committee to take a final call on the issue.

The order came after the government informed the court that it had formed a 12-member inter-ministerial committee to frame guidelines for occasions when the national anthem is to be played or sung. The inter-ministerial group would possibly take six months to submit recommendations.

Many cine-goers said they preferred the national anthem be played before a film.

"It gives us a sense of pride and belongingness at being an Indian," said Jassem Rizvi, a cine-goer who runs an ad agency in Ranchi. A Jamshedpur RJ and movie buff, Abhay Kumar, added, "It's always good to hear the national anthem. Though it should not have been mandatory in a cinema hall, it's fine if they keep playing it."

Additional reporting by Praduman Choubey in Dhanbad & Antara Bose in Jamshedpur

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