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02 December 2023

Fans angry over Coldplay's 'India' video with Beyonce, Sonam

Indian actress Sonam Kapoor in a 'blink and miss' cameo for Coldplay's 'Hymm For the Weekend' starring Beyonce. (Screen grab)

By Ajanta Paul

Forgive me Coldplay fans but this time their 'Hymm For the Weekend' is a bundle of Indian stereotypes crammed into a 3 minute-long video.

It goes on to show West's ignorance and exoticisation of developing South Asian countries.

The video, directed by Ben Mor, features fire breathers, slums, holy men, the band playing Holi in the streets with almost naked children and Beyonce as a Bollywood actress. Oh, we also see Soman Kapoor in another 'blink and miss' cameo.

Beyonce is dressed in traditional desi adornment while playing the role of a Bollywood actress, and Coldplay's frontman Chris Martin goes to a tattered single screen cinema to watch her latest film.

Why would you have Beyonce play a Bollywood actress when there is a real Bollywood actress in the country you are shooting the video?

Vanity Fair in an article points out, "Why set this video in India? If the answer is just 'to give Beyonce a fantastic Bollywood-inspired headdress' then that is good enough for us."

Looks like a video collage by a tourist who is stumped by the most cliched things in a country so diverse.

This is basically 'Slumdog Millionaire', all over again. And worst of all, the song is barely average.

Indian actress Sonam Kapoor seems very excited to feature in the video for a couple of seconds and wants to tell her grandkids about this feat.

She wrote on Twitter: "A story to tell my grandkids! I was in a @Coldplay video! Woo hoo! #biggestfan."

Ms Kapoor should also make sure they don't blink for 3 mins.

What is more surprising is that the band spent a lot of time in India, hung out with some cool people, performed in some of the best clubs, partied at the best joints and then they come up with this drivel.

The peacocks, the bioscopes, slums, the puppets, the impressionist, the yellow and black cabs with colorful interiors, everything shouts of rural-ish India.

We also do not just celebrate Holi/Diwali all year long.

Dear Coldplay India has more than these things.

But then all the views are my personal opinion, there are Beyonce and Coldplay fans who have loved both the music and the video.

Some are also calling the video a celebration of sorts of Indian culture. Fair enough.

Here's some reaction from Twitterati in case you are still wondering what might be wrong with the video...

Sahil Shah (‏@SahilBulla): "Loving Sonam Kapoors 'I will run and throw roses' cameo in the Coldplay video. Requires talent to do that."

ahmed ali akbar (@radbrowndads): "It's crazy how literally all the india music videos hit all the same beats. holi paint, bollywood, poverty, spirituality. come onnnnnnnnn."

Amena (@Fashionopolis): "Wanna depict #India, understand its rich & diverse culture first! Going with ago old stereotypes is not done!"

Atiya Hasan, MD (@AtiyaHasan05): "So upset by @coldplay using my culture as a prop for their music video. India isn't just street kids and exotic women."

ahmed ali akbar (@radbrowndads): "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."

reclaimthebindi (@reclaimthebindi): "South Asia is only seen as desirable when we can be used as sad-looking, dark-skinned props that throw colorful powder everywhere @coldplay."

Nandini Ramnath (‏@nandiniramnath): "Coldplay's new music video shows India as the land of exotic clichés (yes, again)."

DISCLAIMER: Views expressed above are the author's own.