Love, thrills, tragedy: How Korean dramas are taking India by storm

K-dramas have proved popular with Indian viewers due to similarities in style with Hindi cinema and the way they find a balance between reality and make-believe, writes Peony Hirwani

Sunday 26 December 2021 09:13
<p>File image: Lee Min-ho and Kim Go-eun seen in Korean drama The King: Eternal Monarch</p>

File image: Lee Min-ho and Kim Go-eun seen in Korean drama The King: Eternal Monarch

More than a decade ago, a helpless young woman named Geum Jan-di transferred to a selective secondary school on a swimming scholarship. The school was filled with the uber-rich kids of South Korea, and Jan-di made an honest effort to avoid interaction with the four most extravagant and spoilt young men – a group known as the F4. One day, though, she was forced to stand up against the group, which led to an entitled high-schooler having Jan-di captured and bullied.

Sounds like a troublemaker, right? But he’s the lead character of one of Korea’s hit series Boys Over Flowers, a television series based on the Japanese shojo manga series of the same name. As the story goes on, the high-schooler, played by actor Lee Min-ho, gradually begins falling in love with Jan-di, metamorphosing into a thoughtful person, who moves heaven and earth just to be able to spend time with her.

That’s the universe of K-dramas – a heady mix of romance, tragedy, and thrill that finds ready acceptance in India thanks to a shared style with popular Hindi film fare. According to stats, Netflix started working with Korean filmmakers and talent in 2016. Since then, it has introduced over 80 original Korean shows and films to Netflix users around the world, where the viewing for K-dramas in India alone increased more than 370 per cent in 2020 over 2019.

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