Dear critics, India has got slums and poverty. Don’t blame Coldplay for showing it & appreciate the art!
Out of many things Indians are fiercely proud of, India comes first. We are that one emotional nation where even the dark to darker lanes are all lit up when Team India bring home the world cup. The sky which otherwise remains almost invisible behind layers of thick smoke looks magnificently beautiful with thousand fireworks. A R Rahman wins an Oscar and sitting in your drawing room, you just don’t stop giggling. Sachin Tendulkar’s bomb sixer feels like your own break-free. The National Anthem? It never ever fails to give you goosebumps.
All of this is great. After all, what’s more beautiful than countrymen being this much in love with their own country? But wait, is there something wrong, in fact terribly wrong with all the apparent patriotism we are stuffed with? Does that inject into us senses of judgement which aren’t healthy all the time?
Globally renowned British rock band Coldplay recently shot a music video in Mumbai featuring Beyonce; and Bollywood’s own diva Sonam Kapoor too had an appearance in it; though just for a few seconds. The video was beautifully shot, carefully crafted with frames and colours. However, as soon as the video went live, both critics and self-proclaimed critics started bashing the video. Their point being, the video was extensively shot in Mumbai slums and like always, only dealt with the dark sides of India. It showed Sadhu babas, it showed children running, it showed a bunch of old and young souls drenched in colour. In short, it didn’t portray the urban Indian life but the other way round. Precisely where critics find it offensive, and we wonder why!
Who will dare to claim that India is absolutely free of slums, poverty, superstitions and undernourished children? ‘No one’ is the answer. Do these really bother us much anymore? ‘Not really’ is the answer. Shouldn’t they? ‘Yes’ is the answer. Yet, they don’t. But! Just when a foreign filmmaker or a foreign band shows the hungry, poor India, we go mad. We are suddenly at our patriotic best and start blabbering on how India is one of the fastest developing nations.
There have been more insane allegations against the makers. Since they show just sadhus wearing Saffron clothes, it depicts that India is a country dominated by Hindus; they claim. Are you kidding us? How do we even expect a less than five minutes long music video to depict India’s rich unity among diversity? How do we call ourselves broadminded people when we can’t even accept a creative mind’s own license?
Cut the fuss. Since when did being ‘proud’ start to mean that we overlook whatever we lack in? If we are proud to be world’s first nation which has successfully sent a mission to Mars, why can’t we just admit that there are people who lack even two meals a day? If we are the proud country which produces second highest number of films in a year, why don’t we also admit that there are children who don’t yet go to school? What’s up with this pride which has stopped us from seeing at our own dark sides?
We have a ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ to blame. How dare they shot an entire film in an Indian slum? We have a ‘Coldplay’ to blame. How dare they again show a slum; things which the outer world is not supposed to know?
Where is this bubble to fake pride going to lead us? Rather, let’s come to the point.
A creative mind has his own creative calls and that’s how it should be. Let us look at pieces of art as they deserve to be looked at. Unless it is something severely wrong that they are imposing on us and until it is something which vividly misinterprets us as a country, let’s just appreciate them for the beauty that they carry. Coldplay’s ‘Hymn For The Weekend’ is a well-crafted visual treat. We are pretty sure that India’s fast growth is reaching out the world and a mere music video can’t claim the authority to judge a nation’s progress.
Start appreciating art irrespective of who is it coming from. That’s the only way to let art grow.