Mumbai: Wading into the ongoing debate overplaying the national anthem in public places, singer Sonu Nigam today said while he honoured every country’s anthem, he also believed theatres and restaurants were not the place for it.
Sonu said the national anthem of any country should be respected and be given the same honour that people bestow on their own anthem. “If the national anthem of Pakistan is played and all Pakistanis are standing, I will also stand out of respect for that country and those people,” he said. “There are some people who are saying the national anthem should be there (in cinema halls), some say it should not be there. The national anthem is a prestigious and sensitive thing and I think it should not be played in certain places-in movie theatres or restaurants,” he said.
On Monday, the Supreme court directed the Centre to decide on the playing of the anthem in public places, including cinema halls.
The singer, who has often walked into controversies, drew a parallel between the anthem and one’s parents. “I respect my parents and if I know they will not be respected at certain places, why should I take them there? I want them to be respected when they go out. Similarly, the national anthem should not be played at places where it will not be respected,” Sonu said on the sidelines of an event.
The playback singer, however, said if the national anthem is played in theatres, there should be “no ego” in standing up. “If it is played then we should stand up, there should be no ego in that. If I am a good and understanding person I will stand up for the national anthem of any country.
He stressed that he would stand up for the anthem of Pakistan or of any country. “Even if the national anthem of US is played I will standup. If it is played then why I should disrespect it? I am not a leftist or rightist I am in the middle,” he said.
Sonu had found himself in the eye of a Twitter storm earlier this year, for his comments against the use of loudspeakers in religious places. He had expressed his annoyance over being woken up by azaan every morning. The singer today said his tweet was just not about ‘azaan’, but temples, too, as he was against the use of amplifiers in shrines. “I am an atheist. I worship everyone as I see God in everyone. I am not a fanatic, I do not belong to any religion. Suddenly, I saw some people, who know me since quite some time not standing by me. “But at the same time, I got a lot of support. Lot of people tell me I raised the issue in a good way, without abusing anyone.”
The singer, who quit Twitter after the controversy, said he is not even on WhatsApp since celebrities easily land in trouble for their comments, while others are allowed to use abusive language on the social media.