In today’s world anything and everything can become news and some topics tend to catch random rapid fire. Well, this time the British rock band Coldplay is the chosen one.
So, what’s the noise about? I ask myself. To find the answer, I did a quick internet search, followed the ongoing twitterati wraths and spent time playing the “Hymn for the Weekend” over and over again.
Here’s what I found…
Well, the video has been accused of the following it seems:
- Clichés shown in the video of how the west perceives India
- Chris Martin “feeling drunk and high”
- Beyonce in flashy clothes, loads of jewellery, awkward headgear and hands decorated in henna.
- Holi and Diwali festivals together
- Slumdog part 2 comparisons
To sum up the points, the video song has been accused of a term called ‘Cultural appropriation or misappropriation’. Cultural appropriation is when elements of one culture is adopted or used by members of a different culture for gainful purposes.
And what I feel….
Now the first thing I must tell you is that India is my country and I am its citizen. If something defines me then it’s the bright colours and illuminating diyas, religious diversity and festivals, native languages and regional dance forms, relationships and bonding, agriculture, spices and saffron clad sadhus. And I am a consumer of Patanjali’s Aloe Vera juice too. That’s my incredible India and I am proud of it.
So, considering the various clichés in the video as someone pointed out on the internet, I think all of these things translate into my incredible India which always leaves the west in its awe. It’s the richness of our culture that attracts international tourists to India. I also do know that as a country we have developed into a more modern nation with more urbanised cities having stunningly high degree of sophisticated infrastructure and night clubs. But aren’t these things borrowed from the western world? Well, I hope not that you were expecting the video to contain ‘Firangi Paani’, Café Coffee Days and Nariman Point. Why are we getting worked up on how the west sees us and that too when our own people portray us in a much similar way or may be more as shown in this video. And we all love this video, don’t we?
As for Beyonce, she looks delightful as a Bollywood Queen both in her fancy attire and dusky skin. And that is a change we must bring around in a nation so obsessed with fair skin.
Still the video didn’t put as offensive stuff as compared to what we do in our Bollywood films using the white girls in bare minimum outfits and making villain out of the dark skin people as rightly pointed out by this site. Now what would you call this; Cultural appropriation or racism?
Hate Slumdog but Love ‘Jai Ho’
I do not wish to delve too deep into the Slumdog Millionaire topic because to me it was the biggest hypocrisy on our part. We criticized the film vociferously for its visuals showing our slums and poverty until it received numerous international awards and accolades. But what was wrong about Slumdog anyway? ‘Dharavi’ is the biggest slum area and is very much in existence now and even when the film was shot. The people who delve in those slums are also humans and have every right to be in a western film as much as Anil Kapoor. If we should be ashamed of anything then it should be the lack of efforts on our part to create a better living for the people living in those slums. Come on, our Prime Minister is talking openly about the lack of sanitation and hygiene in India and taking the Swachh Bharat campaign on international platforms and we are fretting over a poverty showcasing video. And carry on singing ‘Jai Ho’!
Melting Pot of Cultures
Well, I don’t mean to say that ‘an eye for an eye’ is a good thing. What I am saying is that we have gone global.
Holi, the Indian festival of colours celebrated in the spring around Feb or March in India, is played in the summer of June and July across Europe. Diwali lunches and dinner take place weeks or months even before the actual festival. And by the by, the festival attracts not just Indian diaspora but other cultures too as the organizing committee consists both Indians and Europeans. So, if Indian Holi, Spiritual Gurus and Yoga have spread across to the west then we also have borrowed their accents, pubs, outfits and Halloween parties. So how can Chris Martin not be drenched in Holi colours in his video?
Anyway, I am thankful to the Coldplay team for putting the beautifully shot visuals of my exotic India at the Super Bowl, America’s biggest sporting event. Well, whatever the world thinks about this video, I have to admit that this song is now spinning in my head and I am really “FEELING DRUNK AND HIGH”.