Kerala Minister for Culture AK Balan, who vehemently supported the Supreme Court verdict making national anthem mandatory in cinema halls, faced music, err.. national anthem, at International Film Festival of Kerala(IFFK) on Thursday. 

 

When the minister, a senior leader of Communist party of India-Marxist (CPM), entered Tagore Theatre in Thiruvananthapuram, one of the main venues of IFFK, the audience stood up and started singing the national anthem in unison. 

 

Minutes before, the minister's aides had invited the wrath of the audience for blocking nearly 20 seats for Balan and his friends while film buffs waited in a long queue outside the hall. The audience raised protest shouting that minister had no special privilege other than that of people  elected him. Following the objections, Balan's seat was shifted to the balcony. 

 

Also read: Don't make us stand for anthem before each film: foreign filmmaker pleads

 

 The Communist minister had strongly supported the SC verdict on national anthem stating that it should be made mandatory wherever people assembled. Responding to the minister's statement, writer NS Madhavan tweeted that Balan meant all gatherings including weddings, funerals, queues before liquor outlets, party meetings and before ATMs.
 

Also read: BJP to give 'home tuition' on national anthem to Kerala filmmaker Kamal

 

The row over playing national anthem before every screening at IFFK was blown out of proportion with the BJP protesting against Kerala Chalachitra Academy chairman Kamal. The saffron party held a protest march to Kamal's house in Thrissur and sang national anthem. 

 

Audience protest against AK Balan: