Korean drama - India got influenced by a new craze with origins in South Korea!

  • 1008 views
  • 9 min read

The year was 2016. We were two excited happy girls taking off to Hong Kong, Macau & Shanghai on a holiday. The trip gave me my first real glimpse of South East Asian culture. It also gave me a glimpse of what was to become an almost obsession in later years - K Drama.


K Drama was not as easily accessible five years ago as it is today. In a span of a few years it has managed to gather die-hard fans who swear by its stars, take Korean language classes only so they can be more clued in to K Drama, want to experiment with Korean food and actively plan a holiday to South Korea. If your introduction to Korea is only ‘Parasite’ or ‘Gangnam Style’ you will probably be at odds with this article. However, if you follow the love lives of Lee Min Ho and Ji Chang Wook with more interest than the latest Katrina-Vicky Kaushal wedding, if you say ‘Annyeong haseyo’ to your friend and call your significant other ‘Oppa’, if your next party goal is to try ‘Soju’, you know that Squid Game is the biggest thing to happen to Netflix and you are part of ‘ARMY’ that can sing along to BTS you will agree.


I may have discovered K Drama late, but apparently the Indian frenzy started in the North East in 2000s, when Bollywood movies were banned by the separatists. Enter Korean drama to fill the void, in the form of pirated DVDs.


Rakuten Viki is a content streaming website launched in 2007. In India it is well known for its Korean and Chinese dramas that air with English subtitles. Don’t believe in its popularity? The stats will tell you all. Between March 2020 and Sept 2020, the overall traffic from India on the site increased by a whopping 46%! Netflix is another popular destination for Korean drama fans. Six Korean titles featured in Netflix India’s Top 10 trending list since March 2020. (Source- The Economic Times, Nov 2020 edition)


As a result of the Hallyu (Korean wave) sweeping over India in 2016 thanks to BTS; Zindagi, an entertainment channel, aired K Dramas Descendants of the Sun and Boys over Flowers in 2017. Following the success of their shows, Lee Min-ho and Song Joong-ki became household names in India. Almost 95,000 people follow the official Indian Lee Min-ho fanbase Instagram account! The Indian entertainment industry, not to be left behind in a latest trend began to be ‘inspired’ by K-Dramas. The show Kaisi Yeh Yaariyan, an Indian version of the popular K-drama Boys Over Flowers, is one such example. Following Dish TV India Ltd's launch of Korean Drama Active in 2020, Indian OTT platforms started broadcasting exclusive Korean drama series. With Bae Suzy set to star in a Bollywood movie and Netflix announcing plans to invest $500 million (roughly Rs 3,746 crore) on films and television shows produced in South Korea, the Hallyu Wave continues to grow!

(Source: Mediawire, July 2021)


Which begs the question-why is K Drama so popular in India? Or rather, why is K Drama so popular among Women in India? I can think of 10 reasons, feel free to add more in the comments.


1. Of women, by women for women

India has been a traditionally patriarchal society where the male point of view mattered more. The men also had the money power till the turn of the century. This meant all movies were made with a male audience in mind. The few movies for women did not cater to the masses. K Drama stories are written by women, they are written with a strong female perspective and are relatable for the urban female audience in India who are global in outlook.


2. Your address matters

As an Indian who has watched countless Bollywood stars romance in Switzerland, I speak for many urban Indians when I say that they have grown a little tired of Indian movies being shot in European locales. K Dramas are set in an as yet unexplored foreign shore and showcase the unique South East Asian culture, which we Indians can relate to. As a Korean drama fan, you probably learn their unique mannerisms and mimic them at Korean restaurants in the city! You bow to greet your friends instead of the boring hi or high five 😉! Any true-blue K Drama fan knows that when you drink Soju with your guest, you need to serve them and wait for them to take the first sip. Watch even one Korean Drama and you will know you need to take your shoes off at the door while entering a home- similar to the Indian culture!


The impact of K dramas has resulted in a influx of Indian tourists into South Korea. In September 2021, Korea Tourism Organisation (KTO) hosted an event to uncover a series of virtual Korean experiences, along with social media contests and offers. The event was designed as a perfect Korean escapade comprising of K Food, K Pop, K Drama and Korean products. Korean Tourism Organisation, New Delhi says that there is an increasing trend for the Hallyu wave in India, due to which the event was organized, till the time Covid related travel restrictions are lifted and Indians are able to travel to the destinations. A big impact K Drama has had on Indian travel to Korea! (Hindustan Times)


3. Strong storylines and happy endings

K Drama plots are original, with strong protagonists. Those who say that all Korean dramas have romantic storylines couldn’t be more wrong. K Dramas serve thrillers like Flower of Evil, coming of age dramas like Hello My Twenties, dramas with strong female leads like Strong Woman Do Bong Soon, Something In The Rain and Rookie Historian Goo Hae-Ryung, new age stories like Start Up and yes, plenty of romantic dramas! The romances however never go stale as there are plot twists, sub plots and life lessons in every drama. They are formulaic in a few aspects, but refreshingly so. And the happy endings! Most romantic K Dramas have happy endings where good triumphs evil. There is always redemption and the rainbow at the end of the cloud. Everyone who has rooted for the over 40 Star Cast of ‘Crash Landing On You’ will know what I mean!


4. Eye candy!

This is the main incentive Indian Women have to obsessed over K Dramas.  Women get their fill of eye candy with stars like Ji Chang Wook, Lee Min Ho, Song Joong-Ki and Hyun Bin. Their chocolate boy looks, cutting edge fashion and acting skills make the younger generation prefer them over Bollywood stars, who yet stick to the stereotypical action boy image or play roles too young for their age. K Drama lead actresses are as good looking. This  is the reason there are lots of “broody shower scenes” and “princess for a day makeovers” to be found in Korean shows. Even the older stars like Hyun Bin (39), Son Ye-jin (39), Jun Ji-Hyun (40) have mass appeal while playing characters their age. A far cry from our 50 something actors romancing 20 something ladies! Too much of a good thing really!


5. Cool fashion

In addition to looking good, K Drama make up (for both male and female stars) is legendary.  Korean actors are not afraid to experiment with cutting edge fashion either. Fashion is just as essential as the storyline or the acting. This you will know anyway if you visit SE Asia, or you could just watch K Dramas instead. Dramas like Hotel Del Luna, Hiers, My Love From The Star & Whats Wrong With Secretary Kim showcase uber cool Korean fashion. Surprisingly, the older stars like Jun Ji Hyun and male stars like Lee Min Ho are epitomes of style in K Dramas.


6. Music that makes the ears tingle

K Dramas have beautiful soundtracks. Just watch ‘Something In the Rain’ (a heartwarming drama) to know what I mean. TBH, any drama starring Jung Hae-In is worth watching for its soulful soundtracks. And then there are the catchy OSTs that you will hum, long after you’re done watching the drama- like the OST of Healer. The reason the music is so good in K Dramas is because K Pop celebrities star in them often and K Drama music borrows heavily from K Pop. Non K Pop, K Drama stars like Ji Chang Wook can also sing well, adding to the musical appeal of K Dramas


7. Squeaky clean

The majority of K Dramas are clean compared to content from the West or at times even Indian content. Foul language is rare, violence is minimal and love scenes rarely progress past kissing. In fact, seeing a French kiss in a Korean Drama is beautiful as certain scenes make more impact when rare. The main leads donot get together before we are well into more than half the drama and the happiness is in the anticipation!


8. A new language

By the time you finish watching your 4th Korean Drama your vocabulary would have expanded. You will want to watch more, if only to learn new Korean phrases. You will know the Korean words for ‘hello’, ‘darling’, ‘sorry’, ‘thanks’, ‘miss’, ‘water’, ‘food’ and much more! There is nothing more fun after all than learning a foreign language!


9. Tingling your taste buds

Korean Dramas have introduced exotic Korean food to the world! Food is central to the themes of many Korean Dramas like ‘Start Up’, ‘Sweet Munchies’, ‘Chocolate’ and ‘So I Married An Anti-Fan’. Koreans love their food and showcase them very artistically in their dramas. If you have been dying to taste Ramen, Corn Dogs, Tteokbokki and Bibimbap blame it on Korean dramas.


10. Easy to digest

Korean dramas are served in an easy to digest format the world over, to make them appeal to all cultures. They are never very long, the maximum length being one season with 16 or 18 episodes that make them more watchable than Western Dramas that sometimes go on for years. They come with English and local language subtitles and are available on all streaming platforms.


What are you now waiting for? Go explore a whole new world with Korean Dramas if you have not already!

https://quilljs.com" data-video="Embed URL">

* Disclaimer - The article reflects the perspective, views and opinion of the author only, and not of 'thebulletinbox'. For more information, please visit our terms & conditions.

Comments
  • Jan. 15, 2022, 11:52 a.m.

    K Drama was not as easily accessible five years ago as it is today. In a span of a few years it has managed to gather die-hard fans who swear by its stars, take Korean language classes only so they can be more clued in to K Drama, want to experiment with Korean food and actively plan a holiday to South Korea.

    If you follow the love lives of Lee Min Ho and Ji Chang Wook with more interest than the latest Katrina-Vicky Kaushal wedding, if you say ‘Annyeong haseyo’ to your friend and call your significant other ‘Oppa’, if your next party goal is to try ‘Soju’, you know that Squid Game is the biggest thing to happen to Netflix and you are part of ‘ARMY’ that can sing along to BTS you will agree.

    Ever wondered about this latest mass addiction- whether you are part of the fan club or not? Read on to know the 10 cool reasons K Drama is so popular in India.

      

    Jan. 15, 2022, 11:53 a.m.

    K Drama was not as easily accessible five years ago as it is today. In a span of a few years it has managed to gather die-hard fans who swear by its stars, take Korean language classes only so they can be more clued in to K Drama, want to experiment with Korean food and actively plan a holiday to South Korea.

    If you follow the love lives of Lee Min Ho and Ji Chang Wook with more interest than the latest Katrina-Vicky Kaushal wedding, if you say ‘Annyeong haseyo’ to your friend and call your significant other ‘Oppa’, if your next party goal is to try ‘Soju’, you know that Squid Game is the biggest thing to happen to Netflix and you are part of ‘ARMY’ that can sing along to BTS you will agree.

    Ever wondered about this latest mass addiction- whether you are part of the fan club or not? Read on to know the 10 cool reasons K Drama is so popular in India.

      
Please login to post comment!
Author / Host / Speaker  →

Founder- The Ethical Badass Factory. I Help Women Professionals With Potential Reprogram Their Subconscious To Do The Heavy Lifting In Their Careers So They Can Land Substantial Roles & High Salaries
Otherwise ambitious and hardworking women professionals, make career mistakes, when they face roadblocks they have not trained themselves to tackle. If they donot take the right action before self-sa…