Coldplay and Beyonce have drawn accusations of cultural insensitivity and exploitation after they released the video for their new single, ‘Hymn For the Weekend’, which was filmed in a district of Mumbai.

The latest single from A Head Full of Dreams racked up over 21 million hits in the first four days after the video dropped, and it’s going to get much wider exposure when Beyonce joins Coldplay in performing the song at the Super Bowl 50 halftime show on February 7th.

BeyonceBeyonce teams up with Coldplay on the new single

However, many have criticised Coldplay’s heavy use of stereotypical images about India, as the band performs the song in an unassuming fishing district as short clips of temples, fire eaters, dancing girls and holy men whizz past. Unsurprisingly, this has got many Indian commentators frustrated at the depiction of their country.

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A lengthy post, criticising the artists’ use of pseudo-spiritual imagery and accusing them of ‘culture vulturing’ and colonial overtones, was replicated in the Huffington Post on Thursday (February 4th) having appeared in the blog Hybrid Hues. In addition, many social media comments took up the same criticisms.

“I find it annoying,” says local musician Mihir Joshi. “Coldplay came to India, they've seen the kind of people we have. India has young, educated, affluent, good looking people as well.”

Chris MartinChris Martin pictured at the time of the release of 'A Head Full of Dreams'

However, Bollywood actor Sonam Kapoor is defending the band, saying that many indigenous artists use the same imagery but to no criticism. “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.”

None of this seems to have stopped the song from succeeding, as ‘Hymn For the Weekend’ quickly topped the iTunes charts in India.

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