Coldplay’s New Video on India : “Hymn for the Weekend”

By | February 1, 2016

Coldplay’s new video for their number “Hymn for the Weekend” is shot in Mumbai and is an attempt to depict India and its varied culture as viewed by Western world. Unfortunately, it has landed in controversy over its attempts on culture appropriation and non holistic view on Indian culture, trying to depict India as a stereotypical image for West’s consumption, rather than showing it in its entirety.

Sadhus, children playing Holi colors, henna tattoos, fire breathing, puppetry as a street play, the famous black-yellow taxis, periscope and children swimming in ponds are being portrayed in the video featuring Martin as lead and Beyonce as a bollywood actress, playing an over-the-top Bollywood heroine called Rani, with her mystical hand movements and heavily clad ornaments. These have apparently fallen foul of Indian sensibilities about the depiction of their culture. Even if bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor makes an appearance, but it’s only for a few seconds, that too in an inconsequential role – flinging flowers out in the open from an ancient palace.

This is not really the first time that India has been showcased in a stereotypical manner. A music video for Lean On by Major Lazer, DJ Snake also was an attempt to showcase, what many believed, as an attempt to belittle India’s stature.

Twitterati is gung-ho over this “racial” ignorance of Western pop industry and blamed them for their simplistic portrayal of a diverse and thriving cultural system as India, while some defended it and called for balanced support for the video and freedom of expression.

@caramelputa

Just gonna throw this out there, if Beyoncé&Coldplay are PROFITING from a culture that isn’t there’s and gaining praise, it’s appropriation

David @Dreams_on_Paper

Is Beyonce gorgeous in the vid? Yes. Is it cultural appropriation? Yeah. It could’ve been done without the exotica and mysticism. #HFTW

imad @NORTHAFRICANS

why didn’t they choose another desi woman instead of beyoncé

Watch the video below and give your comments below on how you see the video’s message: an attack on India’s cultural diversity, or just another case of social media over-reaction?