Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) chairperson Pahlaj Nihalani has refuted reports that the makers of “Dangal” insulted the National Anthem in the narration, saying that the board members “vouch for genuine feeling of nationalism” in the film.

A scene where the National Anthem is played towards the end of the movie, didn’t go down well with the members of Jai Ho Foundation. A letter asking to explain how the “lapse” was allowed, was sent to CBFC on behalf of the Jai Ho Foundation.

Responding to the letter, Nihalani said: “Yes, we have received the letter from this Foundation, claiming the National Anthem has been wrongly played in the film. I have not seen ‘Dangal’ personally. But censor board members have seen it and vouch for its genuine feeling of nationalism. I’ve heard when the National Anthem comes on, the audience is reflexively on their feet.”

As far as the National Anthem being played wrongly is concerned, Nihalani said: “We at the CBFC would never allow the National Anthem to be disrespected in any form.

“However, there is a difference between the way the National Anthem is played before the beginning of a film, now that the Supreme Court has made it mandatory, and how it can be played in the context of the story in a film. I am a filmmaker and I know there are technicalities involved in the way the National Anthem is woven into the film.

“The sound level of the rendition is determined during the sound mixing and depends on the texture of the sound used in the sequence.”

Directed by Nitesh Tiwari, “Dangal” is earning applause for its powerful portrayal of the tale of Mahavir Singh Phogat, a former national champion who, much to the disapproval of his wife and his whole village, trained his daughters Geeta and Babita to wrestle.

Referring to the specific use of the National Anthem in the film, Nihalani said: “I am told it comes on when India triumphs in the Commonwealth Games. If some other country had won, that country’s National Anthem would have been played. Cinema is a medium of flexible mouldable possibilities and modalities. ‘Dangal’ is one of our most patriotic films in recent times. It cannot be accused of disrespecting national sentiments.”

By Subhash K. Jha

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