Ok, so here's why Coldplay's 'Hymn for the Weekend' made us go hmmm.
Ever since news broke that Sonam Kapoor and Beyonce would be teaming up for this vid we'd been waiting for it with bated breath. But as we watched the music video for the Super Bowl tune we experienced a sense of déjà vu: we'd seen this before. All of it.
Where? In every other music video shot in India that was conceived of, shot or produced by a foreigner.
'Hymn for the Weekend' is so obviously a foreigner's fever dream of what India is: a place homogeneously steeped in poverty, mysticism and an intense desire to celebrate the white tourist.
In doing so Coldplay's joins the ranks of Iggy Azalea's 'Bounce' and Major Lazer's 'Lean On', among others. These artists are cashing in on a simplistic depiction of what we like to call 'Slumdog Millionaire' India, an India where street kids run around playing Holi regardless of the season, where women habitually break out into synchronised dance numbers clad in "crop tops" or cholis.
These depictions of India aren't just offensive — in today's hyper-connected world they're downright lazy.
Lucky for you, we've figured out the exact template these videos are based on. Use the information below as a handy tipsheet to identify cultural appropriation — or, if you're so inclined, to make your own cliched music video.
1) Apply henna tattoos liberally
One desi girl's funky smelling cultural practice is another girl's cool temporary tattoo, right? We thought the henna trend died out soon after Madonna gave it a whirl... but we were wrong.
2) Shoot panoramic scenes on rooftops
Judging by these videos, rooftops are to Indians what shisha dens are to Arabs; they spend all their time there.
3) Say yes to rang
Apparently, people in India dance around on the streets drenched in powdered colour pigments ALL YEAR round. Rang is fun, yes, but please acknowledge the significance of the Holi festival.
Thanks but no thanks for the bundle of stereotypes.
4) Let your tummy do the talking in a crop top/sari blouse
Women in India never let their gluttonous side get the best of them; they're all in excellent shape and can rock a crop top/choli at all times. You too must bare your belly when you get to India.
5) Befriend exotic animals
Forget about Africa: India is basically the gigantic safari experience you've been vying for. It's a land where peacocks, elephants and monkeys just roam the cities freely.
6) Hire Bollywood-style dance troupes
Okay, we should be blaming Bollywood for this one, but do people from the West really think Indians randomly burst into song and dance?
They're shown in perpetual bhangra mode, always willing to join in as sidekicks of a dance routine.
7) Let mystic men be your guide
If you've only seen India through the eyes of these music video directors, you'd think levitating sadhus were a streetside staple.
Sorry to break it to you, rest of the world, but you've been duped. These mystic men are neither as ubiquitous or as supernaturally gifted as you think they are.
8) Cry me a river... preferably the Ganges
What's a better shot to establish the fact that you're in India other than one of the Ganges?
After all, half of India seems to chill there.
9) Hire 'slum children' as extras
India can in fact boast of housing arrangements that don't look like slums, but you wouldn't know it from these music videos.
Ditto for the kids. There are plenty of shiny-faced children in India in clothes more spick and span than the average American, but where's the exotic in that?
10) Don't forget the bindi!
Shooting in India is basically a musician's excuse to have a fancy dress party outside of Halloween.
And if they're getting decked up in a sari, the costume isn't complete without the requisite bindi.
Never mind, that today's young Indian woman have long left that tradition behind.