CHENNAI: Though the Supreme Court has ordered that playing of national anthem before screening of movies at theatres is optional, cinema halls in Chennai continue with the practice. This means viewers have to stand up as a sign of respect, should the theatre management choose to play the anthem.
Abirami Ramanathan, president of Tamil Nadu Cinema Theatre Owners’ Federation, said there was no need to stop playing the anthem. “When we get the chance to spread patriotism, why not? Even people with disabilities try to stand up,” he said.
Managers at theatres added that the attitude toward the anthem too has changed over the last few months. “Earlier, many won’t stand up and we had to ask them to. Now, everybody shows deep respect,” said a manager at SPI Cinemas, who did not want to be named.
The court had on November 30, 2016, passed an order mandating all theatre owners to play the anthem before every movie. However, the law did not define how it should be respected. It did not specify the decorum that should be maintained while it was being played.
In a move to sort out these variables, the court has diluted the earlier order making it optional for the anthem to be played. A three-judge bench said it was examining the issue of respecting the anthem in depth and would come up with new rules within six months.