Mumbai Memoir 48- Coldplay ‘shooting across Mumbai’!
The U.K rock band Coldplay, is the talk of the town since the time they released their song ‘Hymn for the Weekend’ here in India. Here’s the song’s video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=18&v=YykjpeuMNEk The video has been directed by Ben Mor and so far has been viewed on the internet by 37 million people across the globe! Within hours of the video going viral, it triggered a controversy in the Indian cyber space regarding the content of the video being culturally inappropriate! Here’s the link discussing the controversy: http://wwd.com/media-news/media-features/beyonce-coldplay-video-controversy-india-10338722/
After watching the video myself I was delighted to see my hometown Mumbai to be the backdrop for the video scenes! Besides enjoying the song, I could easily identify most of locations and themes from the video footage. Moreover, I was glad of the fact that I have written about most of those locations in my earlier articles here on www.b-c-ing-u.com Areas like Walkeshwar temple, Bhendi Bazar, Worli village, Vasai fort (outskirt of Mumbai) and sea have been featured beautifully. Themes of local ‘Kaali Peeli’ taxis & Bollywood too have been covered which I believe are symbolic of Mumbai.
Beyonce appears in the video in two glamourous avatars. Once shown as a fictitious Bollywood actress ‘Rani’ wearing ethnic Indian clothes and the other in a western low neckline floral attire that ‘spices’ up the video. Mumbai based fashion designers Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla are the designers who draped Beyonce for giving that exotic look. A real life Bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor too is briefly seen showering rose petals as the song concludes.
It is an established fact that art is subjectively perceived. And every individual naturally reacts the way he/she has been intellectually and emotionally shaped up. One reveals & projects more of the self than of the object that one is reacting to. Thus it was interesting to read the comments of people about the song’s video. I guess, the song’s video has got more popularity & recognition than the music element of the song.
Western music is followed and appreciated by limited section of Indian society. Diehard fans of rock music enjoy recorded and ‘live’ music in a world of their own. I believe, this trend is particularly because India has its own music which has various genres that ranges from Hindustani/Carnatic Classical music to Bollywood music. Rock music and its sub-genres like blues, jazz, country, folk, alternative, rhythm etc. are still an alien concept for the Indian masses. A positive element of the controversy, which I personally am noticing, is that with Coldplay’s latest song, rock music has penetrated the masses and Chris Martin, Jonny Buckland, Guy Berryman, Will Champion will atleast be recognised by face value in all Indian households. But Coldplay fans in India surely must be awaiting the band’s live performance & I am sure ‘Hymn for the Weekend’ when performed, would get applauds and roars from the audience, not just for its music but also because of the Indian connection it has. ‘Hymn for the Weekend’ song belong from the ‘Alternate Rock’ sub-genre of rock music with lyrics so well written. I am sure, the Grammy & Golden globe award winning band hereafter will be recognised by the masses in India inspite of them being globally successful since year 1996. Here is a link for more details about the band and their other songs: http://coldplay.com/
I would urge the world citizens reading my article to be more open and learn about the positive aspects from each other’s culture. We no more live in the stone age and with the world pacing ahead with the onset of globalization, cultural fusions are bound to occur, just the way ‘Hymn for the Weekend’ song has shaped up. As per my interpretation, the Indian festival of Holi shown in the videos is so symbolic of the cultural colours being joyfully smeared on each other irrespective of race & socio-economic boundaries in mind.
For the one’s new to rock music, its best to see beyond the controversy and take this opportunity to explore what rock music is all about. The guitar, drums and the unique presentation of rock songs, sets it apart from other Western music genre for fans to enjoy. Here is a beautiful presented talk by Jordan Hume (with demo) about the basic fundamentals of rock music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_dKvXXidM8
Furthermore, incase the world is interested to explore the video content beyond the controversy, below are my article links of areas and themes so beautifully covered in the band’s video. The video starts by featuring the Vasai fort where the peacock and the Hindu holy men are shown walking (haven’t written about Vasai fort yet, but soon will do it in my coming articles). But here are the few links that can be informative for people who would love to know Mumbai that’s showcased through the video frames of the song.
To know about Mumbai’s ‘Kaali Peeli’ taxis featured at 0.17 sec time mark in the video: https://b-c-ing-u.com/2014/07/18/mumbais-kaali-peeli-taxis-mumbai-memoir/
To know about Mumbai’s Bhendi Bazaar area briefly featured at 0.30 sec time mark: https://b-c-ing-u.com/2014/08/22/mumbai-memoir-behind-the-bazaar/
To know about Bollywood theme featured at 0.15/2.19/3.45 sec time marks: https://b-c-ing-u.com/2016/01/15/20229/
To know about Walkeshwar temple and its vicinity featured at 3.06 sec time mark: https://b-c-ing-u.com/2014/04/19/mumbai-memoirs-namaste-world-greetings-from-mumbai/
Lastly, talking about culture, it is a fabric that is not woven overnight. Culture around the globe is evolving and so is that of India and Mumbai. Every culture will have both bright and dark aspects. It all depends where one chooses to focus on. The one’s who feel that the video has misrepresented India, I would want to convey them that we Indians should not feel insecure about the distortion of our culture, cause India’s culture is being woven since ancient times and cannot be practically covered in a 4 and half minute video made by a rock band. Rather let’s appreciate the effort taken by the band and their media team, who made the video by ‘shooting across Mumbai’ which has eventually placed an Indian city on the world music map. Namaste!
Music is Universal- Myself trying to self-learn Indian Hindustani Classical music on an acoustic Guitar!
Beyonce in an exotic Indian look in the video
Beyonce in a western outfit in the video.
Coldplay band members smeared with colours during the shooting of the video of ‘Hymn for the Weekend’