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Ever since the rumour mills were abuzz with Coldplay filming in Mumbai, I was excited about the surprise cooking for its Indian fans, and Jan 29th, the cat was out of the bag.
Just like the nation displayed excessive hatred for a tennis star who didn’t know who Tendulkar was, I cannot just choose to speak only in its favour. The fact that I’m stating my views on the video for its visual content and not for their musical piece shows that I value and love my nation much before anything else. Likewise, while the nation was going gaga over the triumph of “The Slumdog Millionaire”, I wasn’t. For me, The movie was just another failed attempt of India’s illustrations to the people around the globe.
It took me a while to get hold of what was portrayed in the video. For spoilers, I’m not writing this in favour of either side. I’m plainly expressing my views on what I think about this video that has been broached upon relentlessly in the past few days. I feel perturbed by the fact that my views regarding the same are somewhat capricious. So expect yourself watching a tennis match, with my mind swinging on both sides of the grass.
Bells ringing in the beginning of the video were somewhat comforting. So were the vibrant kaleidoscopic hues which best define our culture and diversity. But certainly not the almost customary portrayal of India, as a diverse country. The murky by lanes, sadhus attempting their various asanas, a cinema hall in the ‘dark’ corners of the city. I was quite disappointed, as this was not the best portrayal of our nation.
It is only through the ‘Swachhta’ campaign, that the issue of cleanliness had acquired a substantial amount of attention in our country. And even now, the results are evident, but only marginally. Not to forget, the millions who still live in these inhuman conditions. What they tried to show was somewhat “real”. Although, we have moved far away from the tag of being called, ‘the land of snake charmers’. So much so, that most of the so-called ‘progressive nations’ have not been able achieve what we have managed to over the 69 years of our Independence.
I still fail to understand why the depiction of India is somehow incomplete without the presence of saints of a particular faith clad in saffron. Our country proudly inhabits followers of multiple religions and diverse races as well. Why not show them as well?. Also, we belong to a land which is also home for foreigners who come specially to indian ‘ashrams’ so as to attain salvation and inner peace. But somewhat garnering views and making money out of it does not make me proud.
On the contrary, Beyonce was dressed up in a ‘culture conscious’ manner. What she wears strikingly displays India’s expertise in artistic cloth embroidery in the most elegant manner. Although, bodily exposure is a sensitive topic here. In India, a woman is believed to be characterless or one with loose morals in case she is not dressed appropriately, which actually means excessive skin show. Also, Religion being one of the most intrinsic aspects of Indian culture, it should not be use it to stereotype a particular culture. Unfortunately, the video is hinting in the wrong direction.
Although, I’m really proud of the fact that a world renowned band like Coldplay was keen to put India as a backdrop for their yet another magical creation, my views and opinions might not be as valuable.
I’m not sure of who will emerge victoriously in the debate which is ‘culture appreciation versus culture appropriation’ debate. But by repeatedly showing India as a ‘mystic’ land, won’t do us any good. The entertainment realm has a global reach which no other sphere can match upto and they should be more careful while portraying the picture of an evolving country like India.