Ram Gopal Varma does it again. The title song of his next movie, Rann, has the censor board up in arms. Reason: the track is a modified version of the national anthem.
Varma has barely put behind the debacle called Ram Gopal Ki Aag, a remake of the classic drama Sholay – which he himself has called a comedy, self-deprecatingly, considering how terrible it was – is now courting the next one.
Rann’s Jana Gana Mana track lyrics go like this,
Jann gann mana rann hai
Is rann mein zakhmi hua hai
Bharat ka bhaagya vidhaata…
No more. We are a pretty sensitive people here in India. So while big media can happily go around reproducing the entire lyrics of the Rann song, some people love to get us into trouble. Can’t touch a Times of India, so let’s kick this blogger’s butt, eh? Sorry guys.
Ram Gopal Varma said at the unveiling of the first look of Rann, “I have not tinkered with the national anthem. Tinkering would be if I would have shown it in bad light. I haven’t done anything of this sort.”
He said that the Rann title track talks about the disputes in the country, and had no intentions to ridicule anything.
The last time I checked tinkering was just fiddling with existing stuff, and had nothing to do with intentions, honorable or otherwise.
Since the national anthem is part of the Indian constitution, and Varma knows very well knows it, this just might be a ploy for a little bit of publicity.
I am not sure about the exact legalities, but as far as I know, one cannot the changes the lyrics of the national anthem without prior permission of the government, even for the purpose of entertainment. And even if it were not illegal to do it, it would be a flagrant flouting of tradition.
And even if it wasn’t the national anthem, it is the original work of a poet. It doesn’t matter if it is Rabindrath Tagore or an unknown poet, you cannot tweak the work without permission, even if the poet is dead as a doornail.
So either way, Varma will have go to court, and I am sure he has no wish to do that.
Besides, the lyrics are so bad, I wonder if he even planned to use it in the movie.
Also, the official website of Rann, states the fact associated with the Indian National Anthem. And one such statement, which it passes as a fact, is in fact just a supposition. The line states “It was sung to welcome King George V on his visit to India.”
Now, the national anthem has been the subject of a great deal of speculation, whether it was written by Rabindra Nath Tagore to welcome the Emperor or an ode to God. If one has read any of Rabindra Nath Tagore’s work, and I have read all, there would be no doubt that Tagore would never write a paean to King George.
To pass off a speculation as a fact, is pretty irresponsible on Varma’s part.
Meanwhile, before the censor board came out with its views on the national anthem controversy, Amitabh Bachchan who plays a lead role in Rann, was quoted as saying that he had full faith in the producers of Rann, that they would taken the requisite legal permission to change the lyrics of the national anthem.
Rann revolves around the nexus between Indian media and centres of power, and how it is driven purely by business rather than any moral compulsion to report the truth.
Rann stars Amitabh Bachchan, Paresh Rawal, Riteish Deshmukh, Manisha Koirala, Gul Panag, Rajat Kapoor, Neetu Chandra, Mohnish Behl, Suchitra Krishnamurty, and Purab Kohli.