INDIA: There was a time when we barely knew about South Korean culture, movies, television series, and music. Now that times have changed, Korean pop culture significantly impacts Indian audiences, especially youth. Everything has become a significant part of their entertainment consumption, from K-pop to K-Drama.
So how did Korean pop culture dig its roots so deep into Indian pop culture? It all started with Parasite winning the Oscar in 2020, which opened the gates of Korean culture to the world.
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Pop culture enthusiasts from every corner of the world started to explore the Academy Award-winning film. Beyond it, their hunger for Korean pop culture increased even more, which led them to embark on witnessing Korean movies, dramas, music, and many more.
Among such pop culture enthusiasts from around the world, Indian youth also played a major role in contributing to the popularity of Korean pop culture. Especially within an ample number of years, K-Drama gained massive traction in the country.
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If you’re thinking about movies and K-pop music, both deserve a topic of their own, but today we’ll mainly focus on K-Drama and its rise in India.
India is home to a wide range of cinemas, including Bollywood, Tollywood, Kollywood, Sandalwood, Mollywood, Marathi cinema, Bengali cinema, and the list goes on.
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In such a widespread entertainment market, it takes a lot of work to spread the grasp of any pop culture. Earlier, Hollywood created its space among youth and young adults for its sci-fi, superhero drama, and movie stuff. Now, K-Drama is the next big contender on the list.
For K-Drama’s popularity in India, it needed a platform at the time of its arrival that could double its reach to every corner of the country. At that time, Netflix provided the connecting link between youth and K-Drama.
Squid Game, released in 2021, became an instant hit on the platform, breaking records. In four weeks, it accumulated 1.6 billion watch hours. The success of Squid Game gives us a basic idea of Korean dramas’ popularity. However, K-Dramas are not limited to Squid Game; they have more than that.
Popularity of K-Drama in India
Popular K-Dramas in India are All of Us Are Dead (2022), Crash Landing on You (2019), My Name (2021), Start-Up (2020), It’s Okay to Not Be Okay (2020), and the list goes on. All the mentioned series cover different genres providing an array of emotions. However, one thing that connects all series is the representation of Korean culture.
More precisely, the way South Korea is represented entices viewers’ curiosity to explore more about the country’s culture. This leads them to know more about Korean fashion, cuisine, lifestyle and many more things.
K-Drama’s rom-com genre has a separate fan base, which showcases a sweet and heart-warming chemistry between the central couple depicted in the drama.
For example, the chemistry showcased between Yoon Se-ri and Jeong-hyeok in Crash Landing on You, speaks more than about love and bonding between the couple. The makers have beautifully showcased the different cultures of North and South Korea via their relationship. Plus, the cute chemistry of the duo is pictured beautifully without any toxicity.
Each character’s lifestyle, specifically in teenage drama, is more relatable in Korean TV series compared to Bollywood’s depiction of unrealistic college life. In K-Drama, school life is pictured heavily focused on the characters, with proper development.
Every character has depth, and most importantly, the writer mostly blends a theme of “never giving up” with it that sparks uplifting and motivating vibes. Such themes grab the attention of viewers. Start-Up can be considered the best example of this. The show heavily centres on the piece of “hard work and never giving up”.
In addition to covering rom-com, teenage elements, and motivating factors, most K-Dramas present the importance of family values, adding depth to the story. The mere paper-written character bonds a deep emotional connection with viewers, which makes it easier for them to watch more than an hour-long episode in a streak.
For any country’s impact of its culture on the world, the entertainment industry plays a major role. Given the popularity of K-Drama, the South Korean entertainment industry appears to have mastered the game.