Santa Clara, CA: The Super Bowl held this weekend in California had an Indian flavor. Even as millions around the world watched the most popular sport in the US, Coldplay, the rock band decided to use the Pepsi Super Bowl 50 platform to show just how fascinated they are with India and its myriad colors during their Super Bowl halftime act at Levi’s Stadium on February 7 in Santa Clara, Calif.
Coldplay’s latest video featuring Beyoncé, “Hymn for the Weekend,” which was shot in India, stirred much controversy, with many calling it a perfect case of cultural appropriation. And with more than 100 million people estimated to be tuned into the game night, they sure had a huge audience.
Though the British rockers did not render “Hymn for the Weekend,” they performed on a brightly-colored Super Bowl stage that was adorned with marigold flowers and multi-hued garlands. Even their drum-sets and amplifiers had the band’s name written in Hindi. The four-minute video of the song, “Hymn for the Weekend,” shows Coldplay being chased and pelted with color as residents celebrate Holi, the Indian festival of color.
Many Indians say it stereotypes India as the land of holy men and pagan festival rituals. They say the video ignores changes in India following the economic boom that has changed the face of Indian cities and towns. The music video, shot almost entirely in India’s entertainment capital, Mumbai, also has a two-second appearance by Sonam Kapoor, an up-and-coming Bollywood actress.
The video has triggered a debate among India’s English-speaking elite about cultural appropriation as Beyoncé appears dressed in typical Indian wedding finery, on billboards and in a bioscope painted in many hues.