Britisher in India: 6 Things to Think About
Coldplay recently released the music video for their new hit single, Hymn for the Weekend. It was shot in several places, including Varanasi, Mumbai, Warli (locality in southern Mumbai), Kolkata, and Fort Bassein (in the village of Vasai).
Naturally, this video has sparked an enormous amount of conversation (and controversy) regarding the topic of cultural appropriation vs. cultural appreciation.
For me, it goes a little bit deeper than that simply by context.
Here are 6 things I thought about when it came to this music video.
- Something to be said about British men coming to India to talk about appreciating its culture
- Visually it’s absolutely gorgeous and a real milestone as a work of art
- The song is super catchy, but the lyrics are… unfortunately shallow, to the say the least
- You can tell that they genuinely tried to treat the culture with respect, and featured actual Indians, shot on actual streets, etc. You can tell it was shot with at least some semblance of appreciation for the culture
- As with anything, you risk over-generalizing or showing too much of one side of something, which is unfortunately inevitable when doing something like this
- Bollywood itself is absolutely notorious for over-generalizing and stereotyping other countries and cultures — both in music, film shoots, behavior, and opinions. So that 100% goes both ways.
I’d say overall, the pros definitely outweigh the cons, but let’s not forget that the Indian Independence Act was enacted only 69 years ago.