Coldplay Emulates Robin Hood – Take From The Rich, Give To The Poor – Views From Prabhakar

For those of you who think that this is one of the most expensive Western pop music shows to be staged in India with the Silver zone tickets at Rs 20,000 ( almost £250 at depressed post-Brexit £ prices) you may just be right, although tickets were also available at Rs 5000. (I am told Gold Zone was at Rs 35,000) You might find the composition of the line-up in India for the Global Citizen concert in Mumbai, a little different from the New York concert held recently on 24th September. Read the Economist article Global Citizen Festival: a mash-up of music fans, bands and prime ministers. So here in Mumbai, you will have more actors than musicians. And fewer Prime Ministers, Heads of State and First Ladies. So don’t expect the equivalent of Michelle Obama who graced the 2015 show in New York. We don’t have one!

In India, unfortunately, music is dependent on cinema, unlike any other country in the world. And Bollywood actors or cricketers are our limited definition of celebrities. Although thanks to our performance at the Olympics, expect a few more sports stars. Also, Bollywood has stifled and strangled the growth of the independent music industry in India, by refusing to move out of an archaic musical-fantasy genre that is irrelevant to the rest of the world, as a form of cinema. Making all music in the country, film music. Any wonder we don’t win an Oscar?


So who exactly is going to be watching Coldplay and the rest of the line-up in India? The very rich for one -who can afford up to £250 tickets. Bollywood and Bollywood lovers. In fact, the entire show has the makings of a Film Fare awards ceremony with the Coldplay and Jay-Z thrown in for good measure. (Like the Filmfare awards, where some are dressed in black tie and some in kurtas, don’t expect a uniform dress code in the front seats. Filmfare is not the Oscars for God’s sake! If an actor doesn’t get an award here, he refuses to grace the show)

Coldplay emulates Robin Hood

But that is not the end of the story. If you thought that the Coldplay concert on the MMRDA grounds in Mumbai, was only for people with money you are wrong. Some ardent and real fans of Coldplay and the other artists have had a chance to get 10,000 free tickets. And whilst most of them are in the Green Zone, over the last few days there were offers for free tickets in the Gold zone on the Global Citizen India website.

As the Global Citizen website says ‘ Our newest platform for social action launches today at global, where people in India can start taking action to earn a free pair of tickets to the festival.’ A global citizen is involved in quality education, gender equality, water & sanitation and other global issues. In the UK the social sector is a big, emerging and successful sector. And it is focussed. Unlike NGOs in India, where we have 1 NGO for every 600 people, while there is only 1 policeman per 943 people. And one is not really sure what all these NGOs are really doing.


One Indian millennial I know registered herself for the Global Citizen offer and spent a Sunday doing voluntary work in a municipal school in Mumbai in the hope of winning some tickets. The young volunteers were given tasks. Some had to examine the viability of the computers in the school, others had to interview the principal, and so on. Each group had a head volunteer who would aggregate the activities of each single volunteer by networking with them through an app especially created for the volunteering activity.

And voila! This millennial, I know, has won herself 2 tickets to the show. She is the real Coldplay fan and she is excited like hell. So Jay- Z, and Coldplay and the rest, if you are playing to your real audience, please look and play at the green zone at the back of the MMRDA grounds. Those are the ones that really love you and know your every song and have been following your music for years. The people in the rows in front are just coming there to show their glitter and be part of another ‘fake’ page 3 show, and to hob-nob and party and drink with each other after the event.

Like John Lennon famously said, “For those of you in the cheap seats I’d like ya to clap your hands to this one; the rest of you can just rattle your jewellery!”

And a piece of advice for you in the cheap seats. As the story of Robin Hood told us, ‘rise and rise again until lambs become lions.’ There is hope yet!




About the Author:

Prabhakar Mundkur is an ad veteran with over 35 years of experience in Advertising and Marketing. He works as an independent consultant and is also Chief Mentor with Percept H. All previous posts of Prabhakar can be found here.