A multiplex chain has sold its national anthem slot to ‘Jai Gangaajal’; where are protests?

End of November 2015. A family went to watch a night show of ‘Tamasha’ at PVR Cinemas, Phoenix MarketCity, Kurla. Before the show began, India’s National Anthem was played; however, these 5 in the family chose not to stand up. This followed by much chaos and shouts and went on till they walked out of the theatre. For next few days, they were everywhere on social media, being cursed for not showing enough respect to the National Anthem.

Great, we are nationalists. However, very recently, a popular multiplex chain has sold the very slot of National Anthem to Prakash Jha and his upcoming release ‘Jai Gangajal’; and our nationalists do not show up anywhere.

In the video, both Priyanka Chopra & Prakash Jha can be seen in police uniforms, saluting and singing the Anthem; while a group of policemen stand behind them. After the Anthem ends, ‘Jai Gangaajal’ appears on the screen. The same video was shared by Priyanka on 26th January 2016.

This Prakash Jha directorial features female lead Priyanka Chopra as SP Abha Mathur who is appointed as the first SP of a district in Bihar and indulges herself into an uphill battle in favour of the judiciary and against vested interest of few local politicians. We appreciate the inspiring storyline, but the latest promotional stunt undertaken by the makers is unacceptable.

On Republic Day 2003, the rule of playing National Anthem in theatres before each show was re-introduced. Since then, theatres have abided by this and the National Anthem plays before a show begins. Over the years, eminent artists have been involved in these music videos. The purpose of introducing such a practise is surely to evoke the sense of love for one’s country. We are not sure if one turns a nationalist or a patriotic within few minutes of the Anthem, but using the space of National Anthem for a commercial purpose? Really?

The world’s not so noble yet. Makers of ‘Jai Gangaajal’ haven’t surely done this for the sole purpose of spreading around the essence of nationalism. Neither have the owners of the multiplex chain joined hands without any commercial purpose. The concept of right and wrong is not always defined by law; whether it is ethically fair or not, also needs an answer at times. How fair is it from the makers’ end to buy the space which was meant for playing National Anthem? Especially, the ones who are coming up with a film which deals with social justice? How far was it from Priyanka Chopra’s end to indulge in it? Over last few days, a few lakhs of people are supposed to have witnessed it already. Yet, we do not find a single voice raised.

If playing National Anthem can be enforced, then guidelines pertaining to what should be or what should not be done within that span can also be enforced for sure. How can such acts not be prohibited?

We wonder if this act would work in favour of promotions at all, or would just backfire!