Let me just begin by saying how much I love this song and adore it’s video as an Indian (and normal human being who doesn’t judge good music based on its video). Kudos to Beyonce and coldplay for taking more pride in some aspects of our culture than we have lately proven to and clearly can’t accept.
There has been some crazy controversy over the cultural appropriation in the video and the fact that Chris Martin, despite having the knowledge of modern India chose to neglect it thereby ‘stereotyping’ India and making it look like ‘all we do is dance on the streets’. Okay, lets get our facts straight shall we?
First of all, let me tell you all what cultural appropriation really is before you go around shoving it in everyone’s face. As per Wikipedia: ‘Cultural appropriation is the adoption or use of elements of one culture by members of a different culture.’ and let’s just understand that it is not necessarily a bad thing. A majority of what Indians do and follow today has been influenced by the western culture, I don’t see them crying about it. A lot of what we do has also influenced the west, starting from the origin of languages to the latest fashion trends; we all influence each other and build on what we all have. It’s how globalization works and it is sad that you have to hear this from a tenth grader telling you this straight out of her textbooks.
Secondly, while doing my research over this (because I’m not one of the people who throw my opinion in people’s faces without having proper knowledge of it) I came across a source that read “Why is it called ‘Hymn for the Weekend’ when it should really have been called ‘Three over-colorful, stereotypical minutes in a small street in Mumbai’?” Hmm. Let me think about that one. Probably the same reason Justin bieber’s song “sorry” isn’t called “A bunch of girls shoving their butts in your face”
Coming to Sonam Kapoor not being featured for more than three seconds in the video, um where are all the feminists? Where did the ‘A woman can do whatever she wants’ go? Because if Sonam Kapoor has no problem with how long she is in the video, then you probably shouldn’t take it so personally either. I’d also like to touch upon “Beyonce, who plays a Bollywood actress, dances in an exotic manner on a green screen. Her costumes have bling, forced traditional themes, too many colors (that could be said about the video too) and way too many fake Bharatnatyam steps, and henna tattoos. Also, newsflash Beyonce. That’s not a saree you’re wearing. It’s some watered down version of it. (Source) It’s no problem when you dub a Bollywood song on a beyonce video but the world must lose it if she tries that in actuality, right? Okay, I have some questions for you, What is the point of stressing on the fact that she was dancing in an exotic manner? Is that a problem? Are you forgetting that in Indian history women would dance in a kingdom purely for entertainment purposes? Yeah. Similar case except it isn’t the 18th century anymore. I’m not even gonna bother to respond to your comment about her clothes since it’s purely her choice and it’s one of the things that we protest for. Also, newsflash, a woman who is in the Forbes list of the most powerful women probably knows what she was wearing better than you do, lets not assume.
Lastly, I’m sorry but I don’t see how India is being stereotyped. I do understand what may be giving you that impression, but there’s a very fine line between stereotyping and picking one part of a very diverse culture for the purpose of a video. I am also sure that if it had been a bunch of Indians in crop tops and baggy jeans, dancing and drinking in a club, we’d probably still hear how inappropriate that is and how that doesn’t happen in a conservative country like India. There is also nothing in the video that is against the morals and values of Indian culture, do we not play holi like that? Is there not people dressing up as gods on festivals? Do we not take baths in rivers? You may argue that this doesn’t happen in cities like Delhi and the upscale parts of Mumbai, but understand that you can’t keep viewing India as Delhi, the metropolitan cities are almost like exceptions, they aren’t the true India at all. Clubbing and partying happens all over the world, it is these little things that make us special, that is the entire point of the video being inspired by India.
You complain if someone tries to capture the essence of India, you complain if they forget your culture. You complain when a woman can’t wear what she wants in the country yet you complain about what another woman wears and judging her for it. And you’re the same people who had a problem when you were called intolerant. You’re afraid that a video will define what India is like and how the world sees us, are you really that insecure? Do you really believe that after all our accomplishments and developments, a video will decide who we are?
I suggest you get over it and enjoy the beautiful song! (which is by the way my new favorite)