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Shonali Bose Defends Her Stance on Not Standing When National Anthem is Played in Theatres



Shonali Bose expressed her belief on why won’t she stand when national anthem will be played in theatres.

Shonali Bose Defends Her Stance on Not Standing When National Anthem is Played in Theatres

In a recent turn of events, renowned Bollywood filmmaker Shonali Bose found herself at the center of a heated debate surrounding nationalism and patriotism. It all began when Bose attended a movie screening and made a conscious decision to remain seated while the national anthem played, prompting a wave of backlash and criticism. Bose, the director of the critically acclaimed film The Sky Is Pink, took to her Instagram handle to share a video explaining her rationale behind her decision. In the video, she expressed her belief that a movie theater is not an appropriate setting to force or enforce nationalism upon individuals. Her post ignited a firestorm of differing opinions, with supporters lauding her for advocating freedom of expression and critics condemning her for what they perceived as a lack of respect for the national anthem.

However, rather than shying away from the controversy, Shonali Bose chose to engage in a conversation with a news portal, further defending her stance. Speaking to Mid-Day, she elaborated on her reasons, emphasizing that she holds deep love and respect for the national anthem but questions the setting in which it is expected to be observed.

Bose explained, “I won’t do it in a theater.” She argued that the act of standing for the national anthem, accompanied by people chewing popcorn or engaged in casual conversations, felt contradictory and disrespectful. She believed that true patriotism should be nurtured through education, understanding, and actions that contribute to the welfare of the nation, rather than being limited to a ritualistic display.

“That’s my government forcefully saying that this is how nationalistic fervour can be instilled. I went to watch the film with my friends. All of them stood up for the anthem, I didn’t. A man behind me shouted that I am disgusting and unpatriotic. The woman next to him joined in. I turned around, and asked them to shut up. The lady was so uncouth that I could feel her legs on my chair. Though I was sure of what I was doing, my stomach had tightened. No one wants a panga,” Shonali told Midday.

She continued, “I am not protesting the anthem, or the government. I feel a movie theatre is not the appropriate place to shove nationalism down our throats. That is what I am protesting. It is disrespectful that people have popcorn in their mouths when they get up to show ‘respect,’” she said.

Shonali concluded, “Patriotism is being able to speak your mind and having a conscience. It is about questioning the government at every step. I remember during the Emergency period, the government would play black-and-white propaganda films in theatres. This feels similar”.

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