A controversy surrounds the song Jana Gana Mana from its inception. A section of congress leaders alleged that Tagore wrote this song in praise of King George V as indicated by the use of the words like “Adhinayaka” and “Bharat Bhagya Bidhata”. The creation of the song coincided with the England Monarch’s first visit to India and his Coronation at Delhi Durbar in 1911. But in a letter to Mr. Pulin Bihari Sen in December 1939, Tagore dismissed the idea. He wrote “A certain high official in His Majesty's service, who was also my friend, had requested that I write a song of felicitation towards the Emperor. The request simply amazed me. It caused a great stir in my heart. In response to that great mental turmoil, I pronounced the victory in Jana Gana Mana of that Bhagya Vidhata [ed. God of Destiny] of India who has from age after age held steadfast the reins of India's chariot through rise and fall, through the straight path and the curved. That Lord of Destiny, that Reader of the Collective Mind of India, that Perennial Guide, could never be George V, George VI, or any other George. Even my official friend understood this about the song. After all, even if his admiration for the crown was excessive, he was not lacking in simple common sense.”
For the video, my brother Lagan Sebert and I threw the shoot together in about a week and shot it while I was on tour in Delaware. We found a bar appropriately named the Oddity Bar and called upon my Creepies to emerge from their lairs (and my touring crew from their hibernation chambers) and we pulled the shoot together last minute. Saundra Williams came down to Delaware to be part of the party. It was one of those projects where I knew exactly what I wanted and it was just easier to do it ourselves than try to explain my vision to another director. Sometimes when things are so organic and visceral they just come together and this song and video are a product of that. I was going from dancing around and screaming to checking camera angles. I loved it.