Coldplay and India

The new music video by Coldplay is facing a lot of criticism on the internet. People are literally debating whether it’s cultural appropriation or cultural appreciation. Hymn For The Weekend features superstars Beyoncé and Sonam Kapoor.

In the video, Coldplay front man Chris Martin plays a fan on his way to see his idol, a Bollywood actress played by Beyoncé.

On the way, however, we see a whole lot of colorful characters during the holy spring festival of Holi. These characters include a young boy dressed as Shiva, peacock, and lots and lots of people throwing colorful powder in a neighborhood in South Mumbai.

Why are people saying this is cultural appreciation? Well, some argue that it has to do with the overall view of India in Western societies. “India has always been positioned as a shallow vessel that exists for Westerners to ‘find themselves,’” wrote Priya-Alika Elias in Vogue.

On the other hand, others are saying narrow perspectives take place on all sides in show business. “Its one-sided representation of a rich and diverse life though is hardly the rock group’s problem alone,” replied Nishita Jha in The Wire, adding “India’s film industry has been among the worst offenders when it comes to depicting members of other cultures and races.”

Soonam Kapoor, who is a leading Bollywood actress, defended the video in the Gulf News, saying that she has been a fan of Coldplay for a long time and was happy to be featured in their music video.

AJ Paris is a New York based photographer and the author Men Around the World, a coffee table book published in 2015.

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