Ever wonder how the exercise of playing the National Anthem before a movie started in theatres? I found this article in TOI archives. I guess it was published before the move was implemented. Moreover, there is discussion about playing the anthem after the movie got over. In either case, it reminds me of the situation in the book Catch-22, where every soldier has to sing "Star Spangled Banner" before every little movement, including being served his meal. No one will dare to say its silly because hey! Aren't you patriotic enough?
Let's dissect the issue point by point. First, does singing the national anthem make you feel patriotic? Does it remind you that you are from a country called India? Suppose it does. The next point is, will you feel more patriotic if you are forced to sing it when you are cushily positioned in a theatre seat? I believe we go to the movies to enjoy ourselves, escape our daily troubles blah blah. Is it entirely right to make us scramble out of our comfortable seats, popcorn cola in hand and stand in attention to the National Anthem? I will concede, possibly, that is the one moment when I feel one with the entire audience in the theatre. I don't know why it happens, maybe that's the power of the National Anthem. So maybe, there's some good to it, though it is highly debatable about whether it is the right time and place to play the National Anthem.
Now my next point of concern is, put aside arguments one and two. Suppose you believe with all your heart that it's the right thing to do. Playing the National Anthem before a movie promotes patriotism and is healthy. Can theatre owners at least ensure that the Anthem plays out properly till the end? Before MNIK, the Anthem abruptly stopped halfway. Before Alice in Wonderland, the screen showed "Please stand up for the National Anthem" and blacked out after a few seconds with no National Anthem. Isn't this insulting to the National Anthem? Should theater owners be fined for this? It's not a joke is it, to play the National Anthem or to just announce it and not play it? I believe it is better to banish the whole exercise rather than having our Anthem insulted like this. I still don't understand the logic of the whole thing, btw.
p.s. Interesting aside, the National Anthem has its own website