I guess every one in India has checked out Coldplay’s newest Music Video for their track ‘Hymn For the Weekend’ featuring Beyonce. No doubt this video was abuzz because of its music video being shot in Mumbai and also starring Bollywood actress, Sonam Kapoor in it. About three days ago, when the music video was released online, I saw most of my facebook friends catch up to it and appreciating how the music was ‘Awesome’ and fashion magazines praising Beyonce’s Bollywood Diva look in it. Indian media was busy catching up and discussing Sonam Kapoor’s rustic ethnic look and praising how India is again at the center of western pop culture. Forward a few more hours, and the whole social media is bursting with the ‘racial’ ‘culture appropriation’ and ‘misusing’ the culture of India in their music video.
Personally I was left confused! Whoa! Just some twitter roll on on an individual perspective of the music video and the whole world turns its back on the artists outlook of the country and its people. Even I was left aghast at the same old poor Indians and their Gods and Goddesses perspective but something happened later which returned my senses back to me.
When I showed this music video to my boyfriend who isn’t biased or much vocal about social media rants and controversies, I tried putting the headline viewpoint in his head saying ‘Look how this music video again shows the poverty of out country rather than the glitz and glamour. They are missing the actual realistic view of India which has both the richest and the poorest among the world population!’ At first he seemed to agree to my points but after silently watching the music video, he just calmly said, ‘But isn’t this what we call Indian culture? Look! There are colors and lights and people..real people..I think its just trying to show what Indian culture looks like..lights, religious people, Indian Gods and goddesses and colors.’ His words stuck my head. Thinking how narrow perspective person I might have seemed to him a second ago, I ended up thinking more and more.
What the hell is our real issue with the music video? Having a two second cameo by Sonam Kapoor; Showing poor Indian people or just showing shabby Indian places? Well, I think the answer is none. The real issue is that we think we have the birth right to blatantly criticize a music video only because it is created and made for a foreign music label. The people who are criticizing their take on the Indian culture as the so called ‘Cultural Appropriation’ are the very people who express that art is just a one dimensional perspective of one’s ideas. Don’t you guys agree? Every piece of art: movies, music, painting or writing; is just a combination of ideas pulled up by a person or group of people to bring it out to the world. A piece of art is always going to be criticized from one person or another because it does not share a common viewpoint. With over a billion people on the planet, which art form pleases every human being possible? NONE. And the ones which are not criticized are either accepted by the majority of people or is thought to be too irrelevant for further discussions.
So guys, what I feel the case is yes, Coldplay showed a video which could have been something else and maybe better or worse; I do not know. There may have been a case of cultural appropriation but the wider view is that it is their right to create and combine their artistic talent in the way they want because in its true form, ART IS FREEDOM. And one never questions freedom. And if people bullying the music video out there know exactly what is cultural appropriation, then they also have to realize the fact that by bullying or provoking others online against an art form is another form of cultural appropriation and the culture that is being adapted is the culture against freedom that no actual human culture in the world intents to follow.
So the next time to go on and crticize a movie, a book, a music piece or any form of creativity; make sure to indulge into positive criticism where you place your opinion in front of others as your own and not as the only opinion out there. For some the video is gorgeous and for some it is rude but at the end we all are watching the same piece of art through our own distinct eyes and we may as well take it well for our own good reasons.
Catch up the Music Video Here: