india coldplay beyonce music video kapur pkg_00004924.jpg
Did Coldplay and Beyonce's video stereotype India?
02:06 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

Recording artists filmed their latest music video in a small fishing village in Mumbai

Critics say it appropriates Indian culture with clichéd images

Mumbai CNN  — 

An unassuming fishing village in the heart of Mumbai – and two of the biggest names in western music – are at the center of a raging debate in India.

Worli is where British band Coldplay filmed their music video for their latest single, “Hymn For the Weekend”.

Starring Beyoncé, the song has raced to the top of iTunes India, registering 21 million hits on YouTube in its first four days of release.

And the stars are about to get a lot more exposure when they perform it at the 2016 NFL Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show.

“Hymn For the Weekend” has a foot-tapping tune – but that’s only one of the reasons why people in India are watching it.

Some say the video is nothing more than an amalgamation of clichés about the country, from a peacock to temples to a fire eater, holy men and dancing girls. The frustration is evident on social media.

“Why does the white man not get it? India 2016 is not a land of snake charmers,” one journalist tweeted.

“I find it annoying,” adds local musician Mihir Joshi, who says the video misrepresents India.

“Coldplay came to India, they’ve seen the kind of people we have. India has young, educated, affluent, good looking people as well.” He says it would have been nice to see them included.

But popular Bollywood actor, Sonam Kapoor, who appears in the video, doesn’t agree with the chatter of cultural appropriation. She says what they show does exist in India.

“We as Indians use a lot of westernization in our films and our music videos. No one speaks of us offending other people’s sensibilities,” Kapoor says.

As both sides debate the issue, there is one clear winner. The number of people watching Coldplay’s video is increasing by the minute.

“Thank you to the people of India for making us feel so welcome,” the band tweeted.

Despite the international attention, life in the fishing village carries on as normal. Kids run around, some fly kites, fishermen bring their boats back in.

This is a beautiful part of India. It’s just not the only part.