Coldplay has a massive fan following in India. But their latest video "Hymn For The Weekend" which was shot in India with an intention to celebrate its vibrant and mystic hues has created a major furore for projecting a very 'stereotypical' image of the country and 'cultural appropriation'.
The video has been shot in the streets of Mumbai and other parts of India with its theme is anchored around the festival Holi. It is a collaborative effort with pop sensation Beyonce who has henna on her hands and is dressed in Indian ethnic clothes and jewellery. It also features Sonam Kapoor who appears for like three shots.(a rather short period considering the fact that she wants to narrate it to her grandkids).
i dont even know what to say about this coldplay video except can white rock bands please stop filming holi videos in india, thank you.— ahmed ali akbar (@radbrowndads) January 29, 2016
Can white bands/artists stop filming holi/dance/slum based videos in India for profit or because you're on your gap yah thanks— Anuradha Dameron (@anuradhadamale) January 29, 2016
New Coldplay music video ft. Beyonce isn't cultural appropriation, it's orientalism. India is the land of snakecharmers & colorful Gods.— Sana Saeed (@SanaSaeed) January 29, 2016
when Kylie wears a bindi its appropriation but when Beyoncé is in full blown desi attire its appreciation??? ok— champange nani (@syedaaaa_) January 29, 2016
While all this bashing went on, there were also those who asked the agitated junta to calm down saying that it was no big deal.
Really offended by Coldplay's video.— Sorabh Pant (@hankypanty) January 31, 2016
It's completely offensive to my culture.
Of being a person whose culture is to get offended.
Cultural appropriation?! Haven't countless Indian videos shown belly dancing bedouins in dubai? Why so serious?!https://t.co/4qVSclcXxd— Mini Mathur (@minimathur) January 31, 2016
The most Indian thing about the Coldplay video is the reaction.— Sanjay Manaktala (@smanak) January 31, 2016
The Coldplay music video wasn’t supposed to be an advertisement for Indian tourism. Stop acting like it was.— Overrated Outcast (@over_rated) January 30, 2016
Soumya Srivastava in Hindustan Times writes:
Did you just say playing Holi is a cliche? Why do we then make such a big deal of it every year in March? We rub each other’s faces with colours, dance on the streets every year. And yes, slum kids do it too. So are you not trying to snub their existence after all by not wanting to see them in movies, music and videos about India?
...Yes, it does show people from the slums, but they are having so much fun. They all look so happy dancing on the streets, skinny dipping in a pond and triple riding a bike. It is shot so beautifully that your heart would only want to enjoy and appreciate the colours of the country.
A piece by Nishita Jha in the Wire says:
When Indian characters travel or live abroad in Hindi cinema, they too reduce entire countries to a set of cultural clichés: Spain is a flamenco dance off, a bull run and the tomatina festival. If we routinely stereotype every place that’s not an Indian city, and every person that’s not a North Indian Punjabi, why can’t Coldplay’s “tribute video” do the same?
There is one other thing though and no one seems to have noticed it. What kind of a name is "hymn for the weekend"? And if you have managed to actually hear the song above all this noise, what kind of bizarre lyrics are "Put your wings on me....?" That's not even gramatically kosher. Oh, the kind of things we accept in the name of poetic licence!