Why do Indians feel the need to punish others for not standing up while the national anthem is played at the cinemas?

Mahek Vyas, 31, was attacked by a bunch of jingoistic goons in Mumbai’s PVR Phoenix movie theatre when his South African girlfriend didn’t stand up to the tune of Jana Gana Mana, reports Mumbai Mirror .


The dialogue that passed between the couple and the attackers prior to the assault tells us how grievous the matter really is.

As is the norm in all Maharashtra theatres, the Indian national anthem was played before Kill the Messenger came alive on screen.

Vyas stood up while his girlfriend, Nicole Sobotker, didn’t. Someone from the backseats shouted that it “wouldn’t hurt her if she stood up”. Vyas retorted with, “She doesn’t have to if she doesn’t want to.”


After a brief altercation where Vyas and his girlfriend were abused and sweared at, he held up his middle finger. And then they attacked him.

The couple took the matter to police who were quick at saying that Vyas should have made Sobotker “stand for the national anthem”.

This obviously angered her. Sobotker told the newspaper that she will never enter a Mumbai theatre before the national anthem ends again.

What’s absolutely frightening is that there seems to be a pattern. Cultural icon and Bollywood celebrity Preity Zinta too allegedly chucked someone out of a theatre for the same reason over a week ago.

She even tweeted about it. Here are some posts she made to clarify her statement after Twitter erupted over her comment.

We’re afraid patriotism doesn’t explain goonda -ism, Preity.

And the same goes out for all those who enforce patriotism. On Indians and foreigners alike.