From K-pop music to adaptation of films and soap opera, showcasing webseries on digital platform and food festivals, Korean culture is taking India by storm. Sangeeta Yadav reports
Be it Sanjay Gupta’s Zinda (adaption of Oldboy) or Mohit Suri’s Ek Villain (adapted from I Saw The Devil) or even Mahesh Bhatt’s Murder 2 (adapted from Chaser), Rocky Handsome (adaptation of The Man From Nowhere) or the upcoming film Bharat (adaptation of Ode to My Father, filmmakers are eying popular Korean films to adapt it for the Indian audience with Bollywood tadka.
“Their stories are not only high on family drama and human emotions but also violence, dark and gore. Where some films are based on mind games in their suspended thrillers, many showcases different shades of love and relationships. Their shrewd characters flaunting their six pack abs and action moves makes it more interesting for the Indian actors to experiment with all these elements,” Kim Kum Pyoung, director, Korean Cultural Center in the Capital tells you.
Films like 3 Idiots, Dangal and My Name Is Khan were screened in Korea with the subtitles that got great response. This cultural exchange will not be expanded with a new collaboration with Doordarshan to air the channel in Korea and KBS World in India.
“We are soon going to launch DD India in Korea and KBS World channel in India. We have many Korean entertainment companies who are working on preparing the shows with the subtitles and also films to be adapted for Indian platform,” Pyoung reveals.
It is not just Korean film subjects that have grabbed eyeballs in India. Their webseries are as popular and soon Indian viewers will get to see some soap dramas on the digital platform dubbed in several Indian languages.
“Korean drama on the digital platform will be launched in March as webseries. Seven to 10 drama will be dubbed in several Indian languages with English subtitles will be aired,” Pyoung says adding this year, they will bring a big Korean star in India for the fans meet and greet and to take the movement forward.
Pyoung believes that remakes of Korean film do well than showcasing the originals with the subtitles. There is some gap in Bollywood and Korean films. We released Train to Busan in India but it couldn’t viewers as compared to the remakes of the Korean films starring Bollywood actors. Korean content is good but how to match the Indian taste is the challenge. That is why Indian directors are adapting. It is time to remake good content for Indian audience. Bollywood lovers are looking for Indian face.
“Two years back, we participated in IFFI Goa and got 10 Korean directors with their film which got good response. This time again, we are collaborating with PVR Cinemas to have Korean film festival In March — April that will showcase top 10 Korean films with English subtitles. If it works well, we will distribute the film as well,” Pyoung says.
Like Bollywood music, K-pop music is also known for quirky dance number and lyrics. That is why it is liked by a lot of people. It all started when PSY's Gangnam song came out and spread like a wildfire. Not just PSY, South Korean band BTS has crazy fan following worldwide.
“We had organised our first K-pop contest in 2012, the same year when Psy became popular for his song Gangnam Style all over the world. When we played the video during the event, people jumped up from their seat to dance and cheer. I never thought this would become so popular and have huge base. Many people said that India's culture is quite conservative and might not be accepted in India. But that point, all the assumption was put to rest with this reaction,” Pyoung tells you.
Since then, the K-pop festival became a regular affair in the Capital. “Last year, we have had 500 teams from all over India and 2,000 participate. K-pop fans are growing by leaps and bounds. Like Bollywood style, Korean singers like to sing and dance as well which requires a lot of stamina and practise. The singers make the songs keeping in mind the worldwide audience and not just for the Korean fans or films,” Pyoung explains.
Many youngsters are enrolling to learn Korean language at the cultural centre and this gave another avenue for expansion.
“Since a lot of people are liking Korean drama and music and the rise in translation to Indian languages, it could be one of the reasons for youngsters opting to learn Korean language. Currently our centre has 380 students learning Korean language and also training them to become teacher to teach many others,” Pyoung says.
Its not just music, dramas and films, Korean food is as popular as well. With the rise in Korean restaurants in India, their traditional dishes are catching a lot of attentions.
“Korean foods are liked by a lot of people. Dishes like Miso soup, Bibimbah, Gimbap, Ramyeon, Kimchi, Tteokbokki, desserts like Bingsu, Kkul Hotteok paired with traditional Korean tea and coffee are a must to explore. Indian chef are trained in Korean cuisines and some learn it from YouTube to make the dishes,” Pyoung says.