A+| A| A-

The Gaze

Despite the recent attraction of Indian settings for Western musicians, the fact is these productions only reshape the colonial gaze that has for centuries defined who is the subject and who is the object.

At first, I was thrilled when a catchy song such as “Lean on” by Major Lazer and DJ Snake became a hit last summer: nothing like seeing Indian girls dancing in saris, palaces draped in silk curtains and hand-painted buses becoming the stages for wonky dances in the song’s accompanying video-clip. (And I still play the song on a loop and dance to it in all my euphoric clumsiness whenever it comes up at a party!)

Then, more recently, I came across “Bounce” by Iggy Azalea: the song’s video is another hymn to India, with the Australian rapper sporting what seems to be a wedding attire, complete with golden-embroidered red sari, opulent jewellery and jasmine flowers adorning her hair, as she dances in a temple courtyard, on an elephant, and in a street flanked by Indian children throwing colour-dust into the air, as is the custom on Holi.

To read the full text Login

Get instant access

New 3 Month Subscription
to Digital Archives at

₹826for India

$50for overseas users

Comments

(-) Hide

EPW looks forward to your comments. Please note that comments are moderated as per our comments policy. They may take some time to appear. A comment, if suitable, may be selected for publication in the Letters pages of EPW.

A climate scholar weaves a critique of environmental policy with a personal tragedy in light of the toxic levels of air pollution in Delhi.

Who decides whether one is disabled “enough” and how does it affect one’s sense of self?

A tribute to actor Soumitra Chatterjee who died of COVID-19 complications.

Having lost a dear friend, the author reflects on the nature of friendship, and its relationship with memory.

As mounting performance pressure on students lays the ground for increasing malpractice, what can academic administrators do differently?

At the root of sexual harassment in the arts is an unquestioning culture of subservience.

Could the lived experiences of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, shared with millions of Americans, be their ticket to the White House?

Back to Top