'Hymn For the Weekend' is a bundle of Indian stereotypes: Coldplay's new video faces social media backlash

This is basically Slumdog Millionaire, all over again. And worst of all, the song is barely average. Coldplay has done way better.

FP Staff January 31, 2016 12:44:21 IST
'Hymn For the Weekend' is a bundle of Indian stereotypes: Coldplay's new video faces social media backlash

When we first heard that Coldplay is in Mumbai to shoot a music video, our excitement levels hit the roof (and beyond). And then we saw stills from the shoot being floated on Twitter, and we were even more excited (Holi colours and Chris Martin? Hell, yes). Subsequently, we heard that Sonam Kapoor and Beyonce were going to be a part of the video too. Excitement level could not be quantified.

Hymn For the Weekend is a bundle of Indian stereotypes Coldplays new video faces social media backlash

Youtube screen grab from Coldplay's music video of 'Hymn For the Weekend'

However, 30 seconds into the music video, titled Hymn For the Weekend , the only thing to be felt was disappointment. The video is set in Mumbai, and Chris Martin walks around the city mouthing the lyrics of the song, while Beyonce, who plays a Bollywood actress, dances in an exotic manner on a green screen.

Her costumes have bling, forced traditional themes, too many colours (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.

One may be able to attempt to be kind and say that the makers of this video are trying to show India in a colourful, positive light, but it comes off as complete exoticisation, and looks like it's been shot by a white tourist who is stumped by the most stereotypical of things in a country so diverse. This is basically Slumdog Millionaire, all over again. And worst of all, the song is barely average. Coldplay has done way better.

Oh wait, Sonam Kapoor flashes by without you even recognising her. She literally has a 3 second cameo in the video, and if we didn't know she was in it from before, we would have missed her. Needless to say we have far too many questions for this video.

Why would you have Beyonce play a Bollywood actress when there is a real Bollywood actress in your video? What is point of setting this video in India? Why is it called 'Hymn for the Weekend' when it should really have been called 'Three over-colourful, stereotypical minutes in a small street in Mumbai'?

There are way too many people who will ask you calm down if you're having a similar reaction to the video. If that happens, do point them to this article: Here is Vanity Fair calling the video a "party jam" with an "energetic vibe." It also goes on to say, "Why set this video in India? If the answer is just “to give Beyoncé a fantastic Bollywood-inspired headdress” then that is good enough for us."

Thanks Coldplay, this is exactly what we, as Indians, wanted to avoid.

As soon as the video was uploaded on Youtube, there has been severe backlash on it for their stereotypical and highly exotic representation of India. Here are some tweets:

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