After Pakistani singer Shafqat Amanat Ali faced backlash for ‘incorrectly’ singing the national anthem at the Pakistan-India World T20 match, Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan is now facing a similar situation.
The megastar has also been blamed for singing the national anthem incorrectly before the high-voltage match between the neighbouring countries.
The soulful rendition of the Bollywood superstar gave goosebumps to many, instilling in them the perfect feeling ahead of the match.
However, a film-maker has filed a complaint against Bachchan at a police station in New Delhi, accusing him of taking more than the mandated time to sing the anthem, ANI reported on Monday.
“Amitabh Bachchan has time and again sung the national anthem of India wrong. This time, at Eden Gardens, he sang it for one minute and 10 seconds in his own style and rhythm, which is totally against the rules framed by the home affairs ministry and the judgment passed by the apex court,” the complainant said.
The Indian Ministry of Home Affairs has laid down certain rules regarding singing the national anthem of India, which are to be followed by every citizen of the country. One such rule says that the duration of the national anthem should be around 52 seconds. On the other hand, Amitabh sang it for one minute and 10 seconds.
The complaint also stated that in the last lines of the Indian anthem, Amitabh said “Mangal nayak” instead of “Mangal dayak”.
Earlier, Indian Express had reported that the actor had charged INR40 million as his appearance fee for the match. However, a top Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) official had cleared the air, confirming that Bachchan didn’t charge a single penny.
CAB President Sourav Ganguly was quoted by Anandabazar Patrika as saying that Bachchan paid a sum of Rs3 million out of his own pocket for his stay and travel in Kolkata.
In light of the controversy, heavyweights of the Pakistani music industry have thrown weight behind the Amanat scion. A frequent performer across the border, singer-actor Ali Zafar said Shafqat would come out of the incident as a better person. “I can understand the sentiment of the general public but one thing that should be understood is that human error is something unavoidable,” Ali had told The Express Tribune.
Even Atif Aslam, one of Pakistani most successful exports to India, showed support for the Mitwa singer. Drawing parallels with fast bowler Mohammad Amir’s case, Atif said things have been blown out of proportion. “Even Amir bowled no-balls and now he is back and performing to the best of his ability. We should forgive and forget,” he maintained. Commenting on Amitabh’s performance, he said, “I don’t know the facts but from what I saw, I think Amitabh Bachchan was lip-syncing.” Agreeing with Atif, singer Abrarul Haq went on to say that Shafqat could have made use of a teleprompter.
Despite the overt criticism flying their way, Shafqat and Amitabh are not the first artists to perform their national anthems incorrectly. Nearly half a decade ago, Christina Aguilera found herself in a similar fix when she messed up the lyrics to the American national anthem at the Super Bowl XLV ceremony.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 23rd, 2016.