Bop in Bollywood

music review

Bop in Bollywood

British rock band Coldplay’s “Hymn for the weekend” from their latest album A Head Full of Dreams, purportedly created for their 2016 Super Bowl performance, has had people closer to home hyperventilating.

Chris Martin, followed by dancing urchins on the streets of Mumbai, provokes a sense of righteous anger. Surely, there’s more to India than that? If there’s a stereotype, they have it all. But wait a minute, perhaps not all. The cobra and a turbaned snake charmer are missing. Are they perhaps extinct — I mean the snakes and their charmers? There’s a mossy, bhoot bangla complete with cooing pigeons, Beyoncé gliding in the background, saffron-clad sadhus making their vibrant way, cymbals clanging and puffs of incense rising to evoke a sense of holiness.

Images mix and clash. A busy road, three on a motorbike, a little blue Shiva with his trident waiting patiently on the roadside, and there’s Chris Martin singing about — you guessed it — love and angels against a candy coloured temple and a clear blue Indian sky.

There’s the omnipresent black and yellow cab painted garishly on the inside, a turban-clad puppeteer, a camera obscura of oh-those-forgotten-days, a trio of Hanumans posing grandly, a swarm of bubbly kids spraying colours of Holi in wild abandon, moving their brown bodies to a modern hip-hop beat, throwing themselves recklessly into green, swirling waters, a line of lissom Bharatnatyam dancers, a green-faced Kathakali artiste and why, even a fire eater. Perhaps the biggest of all clichés, Beyoncé in Bollywood, eyes kohl-lined and henna-tattooed, looking more Arabic than Indian, and our very own Sonam Kapoor providing the desi touch of an Indian beauty. Sure, the music clip is full of hackneyed images, and the lyrics are fluffy, but you find yourself swaying along with it. The exuberance of India is catching. Should we quarrel with it ?

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