Why in Upkar while singing 'Mere Desh Ki Dharti Sona Oogley' did he compare desh ki dharti with gold, diamond and pearls? Isn't he belittling the farmers' labour and undermining the jeweller's trade? Why in Purab Aur Pashchim did he compare the national flag to a bride wearing tri-coloured blouse in the song 'Dulhan Chali Haan Pehan Chali Teen Rang Ki Choli'. And why in Roti Kapada Aur Makaan was Zeenat Aman shown wriggling her bottom disdainfully about the hero's "do takiya di naukri"? This was clearly an insult to all the thousands of toiling job holders of the country who sweat and bleed for their salary.
This is what 'Bharat' Kumar who sang endless paeans to the nation-'Hai Preet Jahaan Ki Reet Sadaa Main Geet Wahan Ke Gaata Hoon' -would have to face in present day Hindustan. Sorry, Mr Manoj Kumar. If asked to choose one emblem of nationalism from the entertainment industry it would have to be Amitabh Bachchan.
It was a heart stopping moment to see him sing the National Anthem at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. Voice brimming with the elixir of experience, laden with love for his country, Bachchan Saab moved us all to tears.
But it's just not enough anymore to be a patriot and a nationalist. You also have to prove it. You have to sing praises of our motherland constantly or you are branded a traitor. Or if you are Amitabh Bachchan you've to clock your rendition of the National Anthem so that it doesn't exceed or diminish the time it's supposed to take in the rendering.
And who decides how long the National Anthem must take to render? I really don't have an answer that. Even Mr Bachchan is wondering about those who decide for us the duration it must take to articulate the national anthem. This is like wondering how long we must pray before the Gods are happy.
Who knows the answer to questions of the heart? Singing the National anthem is a very personal issue. Each of us sings it in his own way. So far we've never been told to stick to a certain time- scheme or for that matter, a dress code to render a song that belongs to every Indian. What if tomorrow someone objects to singing the National anthem in trousers and shirts as remnants of a decadent legacy? I don't even know how to tie a dhoti!
No matter what you do, be very careful.
Bharat Mata Ki Jai.