Coldplay video

Coldplay’s Latest Video and its Use of Exotic Stereotypes

Let us just come out and say it -it’s a beautifully done video but one that rides greatly on stereotypes. We love Coldplay and the fact that Chris Martin’s pretty face was in the country last year. In case you missed his pictures of chilling in a Hauz Khas Village cafe in New Delhi, worry not. You can find him all over the Indian landscape in the band’s latest video for the song Hymn for the Weekend -but the India we know might not be the same as what the video offers.

Yes, it’s a soulful, upbeat song. Yes, Beyonce looks like an absolute beaut. And yes, all the colours are working amazingly well with the whole trippy feel of the song. But what was that about people dressed as Hindu gods randomly being placed in the video? Of course there has to be a peacock dancing in the ruins. Perhaps this is what brainstorming at the Coldplay HQ looked like:

Checklist of cliches about the Orient:

  1. Levitating yogis
  2. Indian classical dancers
  3. Peacocks and elephants
  4. Holi (y’know, because India)
  5. Flowy, saffron coloured fabrics, and -wait for it-
  6. Bollywood -cut to Sonam Kapoor as an Oriental princess, throwing exotic flower petals in exotic slo-mo in the exotic wind.

Wait, what just happened?

Ooo, elephants. Ooo, colours. Let's do this!

Ooo, elephants. Ooo, colours. Let’s do this!

In case you are wondering about Beyonce in the video -let it be known you’re not the only one. Sporting a look inspired by an Eastern female deity, Beyonce brings mehndi tattoos and an elaborate head-gear to the party. While little kids do head-stands and 360-flips on the ghats of an unnamed water-body, Beyonce as ‘Rani’ is put in small snippets throughout the video, undoubtedly lending it the oomph of a diva.

The video is high on colours -from taxis to Chris Martin’s sleeve cuffs  -and is definitely a visual treat. What is that again? That is the sound of a video we are going to hate to love. So, here’s to a dreamy, exoticised India in yet another colourful, elephant-and-Yoga-filled Western portrayal of the country. Let us know what you think of the video in the comments below.

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