The Supreme Court has now directed all cinema halls to play the national anthem in the theatres before the screening of a film. Whether or not it will help instil patriotism in the hearts of the people is open to debate but playing of national anthem in the theatres has been in practice since the mid-60s.
Yes, the first time the idea of playing the national anthem in a theatre came up right after the end of Indo-China War of 1962.
It is said that the morale of the people of the country was low following the loss at the hands of the Chinese forces. So authorities came up with this idea of playing the national anthem to pump patriotism back in the hearts of the populace. Nice idea, one may say! But like every government decision it took almost three years for the anthem to hit the theatres.
It was only after the 1965 Indo-Pak War that the playing of the national anthem was made mandatory in cinema halls across the country.
A black & white film was made showing the Indian tricolour fluttering to the music of the national anthem. But the authorities realised that with time the people in the theatres were simply not standing up for the anthem and, therefore, discontinued the practice in the 80s. Since then the playing or not playing of the national anthem in the theatres has been a subject handled by various state governments or other authorities. This is the first time that the Supreme Court has issued an order of this kind. The apex court said, “The directions are issued, for love and respect for the motherland is reflected when one shows respect to the National Anthem as well as to the National Flag. That apart, it would instil the feeling within one, a sense committed patriotism and nationalism.”