Filmaker Ram Gopal Varma is on familiar terrain again: courting controversy. On Wednesday, he unveiled the first look of his forthcoming film Rann (war), which stars Amitabh Bachchan, Paresh Rawal and Riteish Deshmukh.
The film’s title song, Jana gana mana rann hai…, is likely to trigger debate. Contrary to the spirit of the national anthem, which celebrates cultural, religious and geographical diversity of India, the song takes the opposite track. It goes: “Jana gana mana rann hai.. iss rann mein zakhmi hua hai Bharat ka bhagya vidhata. Vindh, Himachal, Yamuna, Ganga mein tezab ubal raha hai. Mar gaya hai sab ka zameer, jaane kab zinda hoe aagey. Phir bhi Tava Shubha Name Jaage…Tav Shubh Aashish Maange”.
It loosely translates to: it is war and has left India wounded. From Vindhya to Ganga there is anger and the conscience has died and no one knows when it’ll come to life, but still there is talk of blessings…
When HT asked Varma about the distortion of the national anthem, he said, “It is just a title song of the film. The song is not composed to ridicule the national anthem... Each word in this song is a reality and any citizen who is socially cautious wouldn’t take offence to it.”
Bachchan, sitting next to him, added, “The makers must have taken due precautions before deciding on the song.” But legal experts disagree. “National anthem has to be sung with respect. Playing it in any distorted form amounts to violation of the duty of the citizen under Article 51(A), which asks citizens to respect the national flag and anthem,” said Supreme Court lawyer Ankit Jain.