Saturday, January 30, 2016

Dear #Coldplay, India is more than Holi

So, my weekend has started on a great note. Coldplay's Hymn for the Weekend has been released and is going viral at this point with Beyonce and Indian actor Sonam Kapoor being featured in the video.

The video has been shot in "Mumbai", or so they claim. Mumbai, the financial capital of the world's largest democracy. Mumbai, the city of dreams, the city of Bollywood...

Out of curiosity, I clicked the YouTube link shared by a friend and was left stunned. Allow me to walk you through the video, step-by-step.

1. Opening shot shows Saadhu babas or sages draped in ocher. Really!!

2. Kaleidoscope? The street-kids in Delhi and Mumbai use smart phones worth twice more than mine. They take selfies and share with friends on Whatsapp. Get real guys, which one of us saw kids entertaining themselves with Kaleidoscope?
<<Latest update is that apparently Kaleidoscope is Coldplay's visual theme for this album. Let's give this instance a pass then.>>

3. The last time I was in a concert, it was at Buddh International Circuit, Noida with David Guetta in action. And the cost of passes plus cab burnt a hole in my pocket. Wish the real concerts were so cost effective and accessible.

4. And cinema halls? The beggars of the city are worth more than most middle managers placed in MNCs. They entertain themselves in malls and multiplexes on weekends. Again, while such cinema halls exist in the nooks and corners of the country, Mumbai has it's own fair share of multiplexes on which the film industry thrives.

5. Coming up next is a piece right from an archaeological site, presenting the great grand father of flat screen LED TV mounted proudly in your living rooms. I'm sure you all have got your televisions, laptops, iPhones all directly imported from a developed country because India apparently still sells this fossil of a television in its stores.

6. And once again, please take me to the site where this scene was shot.

What pains me is not the fact that some people from another country came and ended up misrepresenting my country. It is the fact that our own Sonam Kapoor, walking on her father's footsteps, dived into this video to participate in this misrepresentation. Last time it was Anil Kapoor, who featured in that minuscule role in MI4 - Ghost Protocol and we saw Mumbai, again shown as a filthy city, right outside Hotel Taj Mahal Palace. Slumdog Millionaire can still be given a pass as the script revolved around the slums with the protagonist emerging from rags to riches.

Back allys and slums exist in London, Paris and New York, too. But these cities are never represented with them in films or music videos. Then why, India?

Yes, India is a colourful country, rich in its diverse culture, and yes, there are slums, too. But it does not mean that we live in ghettos or play Holi all year long, or even entertain ourselves on that sad, ancient television. My request to the entertainers and celebrities of the world, as a citizen of this country and planet Earth, is to have my country shown for what it really is. 

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