Actor Vidya Balan today voiced her opinion on the controversy over playing the national anthem in theatres, saying patriotism cannot be forced.
"I don't think the national anthem should be played before the films. You are not in school where you start the day with the national anthem," said Balan, while speaking at an event here.
"So I'm personally of the opinion that the national anthem should not be played. You cannot force patriotism," she said.
Balan said that she loves her country and would go to any length to defend it. "... But I don't need to be told. When I hear the national anthem, I stand up wherever I am," she said.
The actor, who is one of the board members of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), said she saw the opportunity to bring about a change when she was asked to join the board.
"The entire film industry was feeling a certain way with the previous censor board. And then, when I was asked whether I'd be able to be on the censor board, I thought this as an opportunity to bring about change," she said.
"So, unless I agree to be part of that change or at least attempt to be part of it, I can't criticise it anymore. Which is why I said 'ok'," she added.
According to the national-award winner, the board members are "on the same page and looking ahead".
"I don't want to give it a particular tag and say 'Sanskari, Un-sanskari, forward," she added.
On the controversy surrounding Mersal, Balan said a film was "either someone's imagination or interpretation" and it should not be seen as making a political statement.
"Once the CBFC has cleared the film, it should be allowed to be seen the way it has been cleared. If there are any issues, they should have been brought up before," she said at the ongoing Penguin Fever here.