Was at the plush In-Orbit Mall in Malad yesterday with my college friend, just hanging out and catching up. We ended up going to an afternoon screening of Ghostrider ("total TP" as one says in Bombay. Time-pass.). As we walked into the theater itself, the national anthem was playing. (A pretty snazzy rendition, with famous singers singing a few lines -- Lata, Asha Bhosle, Bhimsen, etc.) We stopped and stood at the bottom of the theater. And all the patrons who had gathered were also standing in respectful silence.
I've no idea if this is a new trend -- playing the national anthem before movies -- or not. However, I was impressed by the respect everyone paid. Apart from being a sign of a growing sense of patriotism, and a sense of being Indian (rather than just identifying with religious/regional/caste affiliations), I was also struck by the contrast with the playing of the Star Spangled Banner in the US. At football and baseball games, the fans are respectful, somewhat. However, those still coming up the bleachers or up the aisles, rarely stop walking or talking. And, when watching a game at home, or somewhere else, at least in my experience, no one seems to be bothered by the national anthem playing. It irritates me no end.
:: Update :: Here's a Google-video that has the entire video that they played in the theater. I caught only tail end. It's actually quite fantastic, with beautiful cinematography, and some of the most famous artistes of the classical world as well as Bollywood. And, as I suspected, A.R. Rahman is behind it. Watch it! It gave me goose-bumps!