This is nothing but a prejudiced appropriation of our culture!
We were all excited when a hit (well, hit is an understatement) international band Coldplay chose to make a song on India and also roped in our very own Sonam Kapoor to star in the video with Beyonce herself! But what we got to see was a complete disappointment. One look at the video and I thought that it suffers from a bad, bad hangover from Slumdog Millionaire.
Firstly, Coldplay I did not expect that you would play to the mindless western stereotype about India. Naked street kids playing holi, Kathakali dancers performing in goddamn Dharavi and those bizarre flowery head gears on Beyonce’s head, her heena painted hands and don’t even get me started on Sonam Kapoor’s blink-and-miss appearance, are enough to make any self respecting Indian cringe.
Sonam appears in the last 10 seconds of the video running in a ghaghra with her lustrous hair flowing with a big pin in her nose to boot! Well, is this ‘the cool story’ for your grand kids Sonam? Then what about those cutting edge fashion statements you have made over the years dressed in the best international labels, strutting your Christian Louboutins in the most prestigious international fashion dos? Isn’t that more cool than this?
Well, when will the West understand that the women in India DO NOT paint their hands with henna all the time and do not wear giant nose pins and a bouquet of flowers on our head every time they step out. They dress as ‘normally’ just like you guys.
Also, Beyonce is a Bollywood actress in the video and is named ‘Rani’. Oh so typical! Beyonce, Bollywood heroines of today look and act nothing like your Rani. Want an example? Look at Priyanka Chopra, your Times Square was flooded with the visuals of her hit show Quantico until recently. Our actresses are sure Indian, but they have a rich global appeal which you guys will always choose to ignore. Even the last time an Indian heroine played Rani (Kangana Ranaut in Queen) she was nothing that screamed STEREOTYPE! Actually, The west has graduated to projecting us the snakes have been replaced by unkempt sadhus and the bullocks by fancy colourful cabs!
I think, the westerners will never ever get over their Dharavi obsession! Thank you, Slumdog! Oh, and there is even a young boy dressed as Shiva in the video. In one shot, Chris croons against the backdrop of a temple with saffron flags! Narendra Modi ji and his party must be very happy looking at this! But, India is a secular country which has as much as churches, mosques and synagogues as temples. Why is it still shown as an out-an-out Hindu rashtra? Yeah, RSS a treat for you, this video.
It’s like Chris and Beyonce sat with a list of cliches associated with the ‘poor country with rich people’ and ticked off each one for their precious video. Yeah you find sadhus smoking ganja and taking a dip in a pool of dirty, stagnant water too. Also, I have a personal question to Chris Martin. Remember how we went gaga when we saw him in an upscale Delhi travellers’ pub last year? Well, so he does know that the new age India looks like. Then why was he hell bent on playing up to the stereotype?
Bands like Coldplay are bloody huge and people across the world follow them. They have just reinforced a cliched image of India in the minds of people across the globe. So not cool.
This is a message to all Westerners who attempt to showcase the great Indian culture (without wanting to appropriate it), please do not forget that the Indian genuineness of the Silicon Valley have made your country what it is. Thank you very much. And yes, at this moment I just feel like showing Coldplay this video from Akshay Kumar’s Namastey London….