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I went for my first Bollywood cinema experience! It was, alas, to watch New York. It got rave reviews from people who should probably find another job other than a film critic. It was long, draggy, with gigantic plot holes and hopeless acting by John Abraham and Katrina Kaif (Irfan Khan’s acting was brilliant though).

All these possibly due to the fact that there wasn’t any English subtitles. But the person I went with, a native Urdu speaker who learnt Hindi, found it even more appalling than I had, so maybe my limited Hindi vocabulary saved the day.

Indian cinemas have their percularities. The stupidest is the censor’s notice preceding every video. Advertisements and trailers included. Which is stupid.

More interesting that the movie or the percularities of Indian entertainment law is the playing of the national anthem, Jana Gana Mana, before the movie started. Having lived my entire life in Malaysia and Singapore, well, it was different. I imagine if Negaraku or Majulah Singapura is played, nary a soul would stand.

Interesting also is that they focus on individuals singing the anthem (in this case, shown in the video, Indian artists) – as opposed to the usual showing off the country. More interesting was what I found on Wikipedia: the anthem is in Bengali, which makes one of the few anthems in the world done in a minority language.

Singapore’s and Ireland’s national anthem, too, shares that with India – albeit India’s national language has never been Bengali, unlike Malay and Irish in Singapore and Ireland presently. Indonesia’s Indonesia Raya is similar in that regard – at inception, Bahasa Indonesia was a minority, albeit national, language.

Also interesting is Sindh is mentioned as part of India, which while being accurate in 1911, isn’t really so since 1947.


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