Actor and Film and Television Institute of India Chairperson Anupam Kher on Monday questioned why people could not stand up for 52 seconds for the national anthem, particularly when they are willing to wait in queues at restaurants, in front of theatres and at events, PTI reported.

Kher made the comment in Pune where he received the Pramod Mahajan memorial award. The awards are given by Muktachhand, an organisation run by Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Medha Kulkarni. Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar presented the awards. Shayara Bano, the original petitioner in the triple talaq case, was also presented the Pramod Mahajan memorial award.

“Some people are of the opinion that standing up for the national anthem should not be made mandatory,” said Kher. “But for me, standing up for the national anthem shows the upbringing of that person. We stand up in respect in front of our father or teacher, similarly standing up for the national anthem shows respect towards our nation.”

On filmmakers and writers returning their awards in protest against “growing intolerance” in the country, the actor said, “At the age of 15, I learnt how to deal with failure. So these ‘award wapsi’ people cannot scare me.” Kher said his father had taught him how to face failure when he could not clear his examination as a 15-year-old.