Amitabh Bachchan has been taken to court for ostensibly extending the rendition of the national anthem to 1 minute and 10 seconds as opposed to the 52 seconds designated by the Home Ministry.
The petitioner, a certain documentary maker called Ulhas P.R. has also contended that the star said ‘mangal nayak’ instead of ‘mangal dayak’ at the Eden Gardens before the start of the Indo-Pak cricket tie.
What was Mr Ulhas doing in front of his TV set? Holding a stop watch. Looking for a flaw, and actually making the effort to file a complaint? Why would anyone even think of doing this? When was the last occasion you timed your singing the national anthem?
Bachchan must be thinking, 'what the heck, it is bad enough I have been accused of taking Rs 4 crores now there is a case against me in Ashok Nagar, East Delhi police station! Are you kidding me? Ever since the last musical notes died away in the air, the poor man has been castigated despite the overwhelming praise for his effort. It was great; let it be.
As I wrestled with the lump in my throat, I did think that he has an awesome voice (no great revelation that the man mesmerises you). For the match which had been curtailed by 4 overs, this celebrity song and dance was a bit of grandstanding.
After all, this was not the finals and there was no need to select two teams for special reference when there so many other matches that simply get on with it. The other eight teams do not get this attention. To build the Indo-Pak match into an exception must go against the spirit of the T20 World Cup, tee off the other teams and certainly create a case for the ICC to ask the right questions. Which, of course, they will not, because no one takes on the BCCI.
But a case against Amitabh Bachchan must be made for making millions of us feel good. Mr Ulhas, please do not detract from a man’s talent and the ‘happy’ result of the match and the ‘feel good’ sensation during the 70 seconds. Frankly, the defence is very solid. It was a ‘rendition’ and an interpretation and no great crime was committed.
As for the controversy over the money, it is truly none of anyone’s business and the whole issue has been blown out of proportion because Saurav Ganguly, in his graciousness, said Amitabh had paid Rs 30 lakhs from his own pocket. If you do the math that is a lot of money to travel from Mumbai to Kolkata and stay a night or two in a hotel. Even if you took your own jet.
Sometimes it is better to be silent because the more one explains the murkier it all gets.
Minus the 30 lakhs, Amitabh Bachchan must be wondering why he just didn’t stay home.