When iconic band Coldplay released its latest single - in collaboration with Beyoncé--it created a bit of a furore in India. The reason: "Hymn for the Weekend" was shot in India. As soon as they set eyes on it social media trolls got to work, ripping it apart for its 'exotic' imagery. As someone has tweeted "The most Indian thing about the Coldplay video is the reaction." I couldn't agree more.
Sure, there were the much talked about kaali-peelis (black and yellow taxis synonymous with Mumbai), the children throwing the Holi colours and Beyoncés admittedly over-the-top Indian headgear and garb, but do we need to be so critical and negative about an artist's creation and the elements they have chosen to feature in the video?
There is nothing offensive enough in the video for us to be up in arms in patriotic protest.
There is nothing offensive enough in the video for us to be up in arms in patriotic protest. Artists like Iggy Azalea, Major Lazer and DJ Snake, the French group Shankara, Imogen Heap and many other international artists have collaborated with Indian composers and singers, or have used Indian backdrops, clothes, jewellery, dances and even music to churn out eclectic, catchy compilations that we happily shake a leg to at a party or a wedding but are ready to tear down with criticism on social media channels.
News of the video first grabbed our attention when we heard that Sonam Kapoor would be appearing in it. Those high hopes were dashed when we saw that her cameo lasted for mere seconds. Still, it was something, wasn't it? Certainly a story I would want to tell my grand kids too, had it been me! And to be perfectly honest, you know you would too.
Twitter and other social media channels have degenerated into platforms for us to troll and criminalise almost everything that anyone does. So much so that an artist cannot infuse some culture from another country into their work without receiving dollops of flak. Holi is one of our most celebrated festivals. It featured in the video. One of our top Indian actresses featured in the video -- however brief her appearance was. Why must we view it as cultural misappropriation instead of appreciation? When Priyanka Chopra launched a music video featuring Pitbull with typically Western lyrics, costumes and backdrops, we were quick to applaud her efforts.
We travel across the seas to London and other countries, securing concert tickets well in advance to be able to be in the audience when Coldplay is performing. If we really are big Coldplay fans and provided that nothing really offensive has been depicted in the video, lets appreciate the song and the art of the artist and let's leave our 'trolling tendencies' aside for when the BJP or Congress make the headlines next.
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