K-dramas are not a thing of the past, they are here to stay. Even though people are no more cooped up inside their homes, and life has gotten back to being normal and busy, the fixation over Korean dramas remains unaffected. It’s been two years since they inhabited a major part of our daily routine and continue to do so.
Even though the dramas have been there for a while, it was only during the lockdown when most of us were acquainted with them. They helped us to battle the distress, boredom and monotony that took over during the pandemic. But then, what drives Indians to K-dramas so much, especially women? There are multiple shows out there, but what makes K-dramas so special, unconventional, distinct and addictive? We spoke to a bunch of K-drama addicts to find out, and here’s what they have to say.
There’s something so special about the way they portray relationships that creates an emotional connection with the viewers. Sumona Bose, a beauty writer from Mumbai, says, “One of the biggest reasons why I find K-dramas so relatable and binge worthy is because of how they portray family and familiar relationships. You see a lot of K-drama characters living with their parents when they are much older. For instance, Yoon Jin-ah, the protagonist from Something In The Rain, lives with her family and shows how she tries to gain freedom from that. These stories are quite relatable to young Indian women. You see Korean characters putting their family first - a cultural norm for young Indians as well. It's the way they portray families. There's an overbearing mother or the soft father, which is quite similar to a normal Indian family. You actually see yourself in such characters and understand what they are going through because you face similar instances in your life.”
Close to Indian culture with relatable characters
K-dramas have a massive cultural appeal and there’s so much in common with Indian societal norms and traditions. Sonali Pawar, an editor from Delhi who perpetually binges on K-drama, believes, “As an Indian, the similar culture is what kept me hooked to K-drama, watching them one after another. Secondly, I reckon, when you see yourself in a certain character(s), you feel a strong connection with the show. In all the K-dramas I've watched thus far, the emotional depths of characters have touched my heartstrings; it's like seeing yourself in the mirror. For instance, in Reply 1988, the way they've portrayed the intricacies of youth is remarkable. Similarly, the portrayal of relationships - be it between friends, parents and children, or partners is both raw and real. How a mother aches for her teenage son to share more, the change in conversations and their seriousness between friends from teenagers to adults, both are something you probably only see in real life.”
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K-dramas address and normalise mental health
But then many find them mushy and similar to Bollywood movies. “While some shows do have the mushy kind of romance that matches Bollywood where all is always well and good, many of them concentrate on what it actually looks like being a couple in this day and age-mental health issues and all (look at It’s Okay To Not Be Okay and Hometwon Cha-Cha-Cha), and how sometimes despite all the love, things don't work out (Twenty-five twenty-one). Great plot and superb writing are the two main factors behind binge-watching K-dramas. Not to mention, the scrumptious food and soju I get to see onscreen is a major plus point,” adds Sonali.
It’s for women of all ages!
And if you thought that K-dramas are only a rage among the young Indian women, it’s not! It doesn’t only cater to the young, but people across all age-groups. Interestingly, Alpana Pawar, a 55-year-old from Delhi, was drawn to K-dramas by her children and by now she’s finished watching a bunch of them. She explains, “I find their storyline, topics, production, direction and of course acting superb, especially in all the shows I have watched so far. I think family values, respect for elders, varieties of food they eat are a few factors that are relatable. As a Mum, I was drawn to K-dramas by my children and watched my first show Reply 1988 on their recommendation. After that there’s been no stopping. I have watched more than 30 shows in one year.”
Love is ageless
Medha Pillai, a 17-year-old student from Mumbai feels K-dramas aren’t just about mushy relationships, good food and great locations. It’s much more than that. Explaining how they teach you to navigate relationships, she says, “For me, K-drama portrays love as something magical and rare. The uniqueness in their stories is what attracts me the most. Another most beautiful thing is the respect and loyalty they have for each other. Loyalty is one of the main components lacking in a relationship but Korean dramas portray in such a way that makes you believe in love again. One important message that K-dramas share is that take your time in finding love, don't marry someone just because you are getting old or if you are young then only you will get guys to marry you. Age doesn't matter when it comes to love.”
These dramas are a great escape from distress, and the storylines and characters somehow make the viewers believe in a better world which is beyond impressive.