Several Bollywood stars, directors, music directors and singers have saluted the massive turnout and the world record at the Lokmat Media initiative in Aurangabad, where close to a lakh-and-a-half people turned up for singing the National Anthem in unison.
Here is what Vidya Balan, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Mahesh Bhatt, Arbaaz Khan, Manoj Kumar, Farha Khan, Jackie Shroff, Anupam Kher, Sunil Shetty, Johnny Lever, Ismail Durbar and Subhash Ghai have to say.
Actor Vidya Balan said, “Watching the video, I was amazed and delighted to see the ocean of people that had turned up to sing the national anthem to create a world record in Aurangabad. Jana Gana Mana is the pride of our Nation, and singing it is always a matter of honour for every Indian.”
“Frankly, I wasn’t aware that there was a record for singing the National Anthem, so I’d like to thank the entire Lokmat family for having played such an important role in getting this record to India. I think this initiative should be taken forward, so that crores of Indians can join it.”
Director Mahesh Bhatt said, “Today, in a day and age when patriotism has become like a commercial product, the manner in which this initiative to get the Nation a world record has overwhelmed me — I can only describe that feeling as pure love for one’s country. From school children to people from various fields of life, the entire public, along with the teams from Lokmat, achieved what nobody had ever thought of. I feel that even if we were to keep aside any discussion on numbers, the ocean of humanity present on the occasion created not just a world record but something historical — and that day will forever remain on the pages of our history.”
Director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, who is currently working on his next, much awaited film, Bhag Milkha Bhag, said, “It is a matter of great pride and honour that Lokmat arranged for this world record attempt, and that people took part in it in such large numbers. I congratulate them all.”
It will be recalled that on 25th of Jan, close to a lakh and a half people in the small town of Aurangabad had turned up in massive numbers at a stadium at 8 am, determined to sing the National Anthem in the highest numbers to take India into the Guinness World Records, which they did, successfully, led by entertainers like Shankar Mahadevan, Roopkumar and Sonali Rathod, actor Prashant Damle, singer Vaishali Samant, and several others. All, galvanised by Lokmat Media, which has a deep, emotional and enduring 30-year connect with Aurangabadkars.
And so strong was this pull, that not only was the entire seating space at the 45000-capacity stadium at Garkheda jampacked, but its huge ground too was overflowing with people standing shoulder-to-shoulder. Apart from the close to 1 lakh people inside the stadium, there were clost to another 50000 people outside the stadium gates, which had to be locked as there was absolutely no more room inside the stadium!
Actor Arbaaz Khan too was impressed. He said, “People don’t go to a stadium in such large numbers even for a cricket match. What I saw on the video was grand spectacle — a massive crowd of people, full of patriotism, with the Tricolour fluttering proudly… I watched it all, amazed, and loved what I saw! I haven’t seen a crowd like that even in a super metro like Mumbai. I actually told all my friends about it. I congratulate Lokmat for having organised it, and even more so, I say congratulations to everyone in Aurangabad who was present there.”
Actor Anupam Kher’s reaction too was equally heartfelt. He said, “While watching the world record attempt at Aurangabad, I was reminded of the days when public voting was on to get the Taj Mahal listed as one of the seven wonders of the world. Our people voted with such fervour that our Taj became the Number One wonder of the world. There are very few such moments when you experience such a spectacular feeling of nationalism. I was spellbound watching the Lokmat event scenes in Aurangabad, and I shall always remember them. So far, I used to watch people in cinema halls respectfully stand at attention when the national anthem was played before a film. But the AUrangabad event had a special purpose: to get the world record for our National Anthem for India, and we achieved it. Forget about the numbers; I salute the feeling (I saw that day) which tells us that even though it is often silent, our public will definitely step forward for the Nation, as one, whenever the need arises. Congratulations to Lokmat and everyone else.”
Singer Shankar Mahadevan, who was there, leading the other celebs, the Lokmat family, and the people in singing the National Anthem: “I congratulate Lokmat on this unbelievable initiative! Even in cricket matches one hasn’t seen such massive audiences. It was a stadium with a 45000 seating capacity. The seats were jampacked, and then there were thousands upon thousand of people, more than those seated, who were standing on every square-foot of the ground too. Even though I landed pretty early in Aurangabad, I was delayed by more than an hour, just trying to get to the stadium from the airport! The roads were packed with people, students, families, youngsters, elderly people, walking, cycling, on two-wheelers, in overcrowded public transport buses. There must have been at least 40000 people outside the stadium, because the gates were locked as there was no space inside! I saw a really strong physical manifestation of patriotism there. It was awesome! I’m really glad I was there to be part of the historic day. Congrats to all the Aurangabadkars and Lokmat for this. It was a great achievement!”
“What I watched on video was truly amazing!” said actor Sunil Shetty. “The manner in
which thousands upon thousands of people got together to sing the National Anthem. I congratulate everyone who took part in the event, and my congratulations to the entire nation on setting this world record. I have known the Lokmat family for long now, and they keep doing good work for society and the Nation. Congratulations to all once again.”
Yesteryears actor Manoj Kumar said, “This (record and huge turnout) is a matter of pride for every Indian. I salute the Lokmat group for this initiative, which helped India achieve the world record.”
Director-Choreographer Farha Khan said, “I was very happy to know that India now has the world record for the maximum number of people singing the National Anthem together. Congratulations to everyone.”
Comedian Johnny Lever said, “Wow, it is wonderful to know we now have this great record in India’s name. I pray to God that this record remains in India, always. Congratulations to everyone.”
Director Subhash Ghai said, “Congratulations to Lokmat for the massive event they put up, which was so instrumental in getting such a grand record for India. I really felt proud when I heard the news (that we now have the record)”
Music director Ismail Darbar said, “I don’t know how many people would even know that this record was so far with Pakistan. But we should have got our name on it long back. I don’t bother about the numbers, but I must congratulate Lokmat, which did this for India.”
Actor Jackie Shroff said, “I still have the goose bumps from remembering what I watched on video. Hundreds of Tricolours, and thousands of people all around, everywhere. What was particularly heartwarming was the thought that even today, people respect the importance and dignity of our National Flag and Anthem. For me, singing the National Anthem together is the big thing; even bigger than setting a record. And anyways, I always knew we would break that record of 5000-odd (held by Pakistan). I must say the best thing was that due to Lokmat, so many people got together to sing the National Anthem together. Jai Hind!”