Coldplay music has aged like fine wine. Dating back to the turn of the 21st century, now 20 years strong, this 5-man band has meticulously carved their way to legendary status, redefining alternative pop-rock with timeless songs like Paradise and The Scientist. In India, Coldplay made its way into every 90s kid’s hearts swiftly after the release of their first UK Top-Five hit single, Yellow. Their songs presented a unique listening experience, complete with swoon-worthy lyrics and rich instrumentation, so it wasn’t long before the world tuned in.
You could say Coldplay’s relationship with India truly began with their music. Coldplay songs transcended pop music. There was a song to wake up to, a song to accompany long work-outs, and a song to play at your wedding. Language was no barrier, with fans singing along as best as they could. So it wasn’t long before learning how to play The Scientist became a common request for instrument tutors in India, and Fix You became the go-to song to end a bad day. It was glorious!
Coldplay continued to deliver hit after hit, and Indian listeners absolutely devoured every second of every song. So when the band first featured Indian streets in their 2016 music video, fans were ready!
Hymn For The Weekend Gets A Music Video in India
As part of their seventh studio album, A Head Full Of Dreams, Coldplay released a music video accompanying their uptempo single, Hymn For The Weekend, in January of 2016. Coldplay’s music found its way into the smallest, humblest corners of India, making it only right to have these very same gullies featured in the video. The band delivered a delightful performance, and the video artfully captured India’s own version of a block party, complete with powdered colors and flower-adorned instruments. Having been shot across different parts of Mumbai, the HFTW video was an instant hit!
The video also featured musical royalty, Beyonce, who dropped a cameo for the ages! Wearing arm-length traditional Indian bangles and a custom Mehendi (henna) job on her palms, the Queen gave fans a visual they will probably cherish for years to come. And let us not forget that special surprise for Indian viewers – an exquisitely haunting cameo from Bollywood’s very own, Sonam Kapoor!
But That Wasn’t Chris Martin’s First Visit To India
A year before their secret trip to film the HFTW music video, the band’s vocalist and frontman, Chris Martin, visited the country during July of 2015 as a representative of The Global Poverty Project. Outside of his work as a singer/songwriter, Martin is widely known for his philanthropy.
During the delegation, Martin sat down with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss India’s Swachh Bharat campaign and efforts towards sanitation. He was accompanied by Hollywood actress, Freida Pinto, and CEO of the Global Poverty Project, Hugh Evans.
Martin also paid a visit to Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal, the day before his meeting with PM Modi, following which he treated some really lucky fans to an impromptu performance at Delhi’s Summer House Cafe. Those who missed this surprise gig weren’t happy, of course, but now, looking back, it’s downright precious how all it took was one little performance to spark Martin’s love for his Indian fans. We’re not gushing, you are!
Coldplay Performs In India For The First Time
Soon after the release of Hymn For The Weekend, Coldplay announced their first-ever official performance in India, for the Global Citizen Festival in November of 2016. The festival also featured American rapper Jay Z and multifaceted performances by various Bollywood bigs. Upon catching wind of the announcement, however, a slanderous rumor took form, making its way to newspaper headlines and of course, Twitter.
The rumor, originating from a report, stated the price of tickets being between Rs 25,000 (USD 345) and Rs 5,00,000 (USD 1350), an absurd amount of money to expect from desperate fans. Thankfully, an official statement clarifying these prices arrived just in time, on the Global Citizen website. It read “Tickets to the Indian Festival will be FREE. Fans will earn them through taking actions in support of education, equality, and sanitation campaigns”.
The festival, of course, was a colossal success. Fans were floored, all 80,000 of them! And for many, a lifelong dream had been achieved. They’d just watched Chris Martin croon LIVE. Everything else fell secondary.
Fans were blessed with more than an hour of multiple Coldplay hits, a duet with musical legend A R Rahman on his hit song ‘Vande Mataram’, and Martin’s own version of Arijit Singh’s smash hit ‘Channa Mereya’ from the movie ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’. “Namaste friends, yeh hamari khushkismati hai ki itni khoobsurat desh mein aaye hain. (We are fortunate that we have come to such a beautiful country),” Chris said to his enamored crowd. And they only fell deeper in love!
To Chris Martin, India Represents ‘Everything’
In an interview with The Times of India, Martin said “ I always felt like we would come here when we wanted to embrace all colours. I don’t mean racially, but literally; just all the colours of the world”. He believes everything is here, in India. “You can stay here forever and you’ll never feel like you’ve missed out on life. There’s enough to keep you occupied.”
Speaking with NDTV backstage at the Global Citizen concert, Martin expressed his admiration for India. “I feel very alive when I’m here. I feel very aware of all of the different colors of life and it just makes me feel very connected as a human”. Chris Martin has a whole lot of love for our colorful country, and it shows!
During his third visit during an eighteen-month span in 2016, Martin also sat down for a chat with Indian columnist, Suhel Sheth, to discuss Global Citizen’s projects and his own influences as an artist. He explains “India makes me feel alive in the strongest possible sense. Everything in the wider world is also reflected here. Some of the same troubles and many of the same triumphs”. Truer words have not been spoken! India really is an ever-evolving, gigantic microcosm of culture and livelihood.
Coldplay Takes A Little Bit of India With Them To The Super Bowl
A logo that has now found its way to almost every corner of the internet, the Coldplay Devanagari script logo first appeared during their Global Citizen concert in Mumbai. It sat in the epicenter of their flamboyant and floral stage set up and served as an adorable reminder of how much India meant to the band.
As a sweet ode to their Desi fans during the Super Bowl 50 halftime show, the band performed on a stage covered in marigold flowers, with their signature Devanagari logo now sat on their instruments. The logo has since made multiple appearances on their social media accounts and at other shows, even on merchandise. Saving up now!
Almost five years later, Chris’s passion for India and its people is cherished by Coldplay fans across the country. We might have to hunker down for some more time before meeting people and touching things again, but as they say, “when this is all over…”, right? Until then, we’ll take comfort in some more ‘Shah Rukh Khan Forever’ tweets from our favorite band.
— Coldplay (@coldplay) March 10, 2019
Thank you for giving us something to turn to and something we can miss, Chris.