Korean Films and Shows
Having seen umpteen films, shows and all forms of content over the years, it is always refreshing to see a particular language bursting out on the entertainment scene in a way few would have anticipated. While, I have had my share of watching world cinema in an array of languages, I was and still am a relative newbie to watching Korean dramas, films and thrillers.
The popularity of these is immense - be it ranging from K-pop to K-dramas and especially in India, they have managed to create a mark which is at times even bigger than Indian content itself. And while all the enthusiasts and veteran watchers will have their own perspective as to why is that - having seen only a small portion of Korean entertainment, here's is my (a newbie's) perspective on why is that and what do they seemingly do better.
Money Heist and Dark
India - as a country has boomed with OTT in the past few years and while it has worked wonders for Indian entertainment indeed - what it has done is introducing everyone to global cinema that transcends languages. Who would have thought a Spanish show like Money Heist would be the biggest phenomenon here or a German mindblaster like Dark will have conversations going on.
That has been the case with Korean shows and films as well - the Oscar buzz surrounding Parasite and a subsequent release on Amazon Prime Video helped the film get more eyeballs and the recent global success -Squid Game just accentuated that further. We, as a country are more tolerant and accepting to global content when given access to it.
The Bollywood-ness of K-dramas
I know this is a tricky subject where there has been polarizing debates on it. But if you have seen K-dramas, especially K-romcoms, you would not help but agree that those have a more old-school Bollywood feeling to it than any other shows or films. It seems like Karan Johar went on to Korea and sprinkled his style which led to more and more K-dramas just Bollywood-ising their shows and films. And if that happens, how can you not be popular in India especially! I am not kidding - there are legit slow-motion entry shots of the hero or the heroine in a few shows I have seen which instantly remind you of - Bollywood old school style.
Assistance of popularity of K-pop
BTS and Blackpink
So even before K-dramas became the grand success they are in India or otherwise, there was a burst of K-pop like never before. It was the likes of bands like BTS, and BlackPink that managed to reach more and more ears. Even as the continue to be immensely popular right now, it was their popularity that led to people being more accepting towards Korean content - then came in the shows and films.
Understanding & portraying human emotions better than many
Squid Game and Train To Busan
This is a point I wholeheartedly believe - as to why is it that these films and shows have managed to create an impact on everyone, especially me. To be clear, I have only seen a couple of K-dramas but have seen the Oscar winner, Parasite, the zombie thriller Train To Busan, the global mega hit, Squid Game, and the lesser-known acclaimed show, Kingdom.
All these shows/films are drastically different from each other but have one thing common that makes them so effective - understanding and portraying human emotions. Even in a zombie thriller like Train To Busan, the scenes where the characters are left with making tough choices that further test human nature are the ones that leave you startled; Squid Game was another example where you see characters juggle between greed, selfishness, empathy, sacrifice and then circle back to any of these emotions in trickier situations.
Be it any genre - thriller, zombie, drama, even comedy - the portrayal of human emotions is what Korean shows/films seem to be doing so well than others.
More To Come
With so much expose to Korean entertainment, we can only imagine being introduced/re-introduced to more and more shows and films from the country which might just continue to leave its impact and get added to the big list of good content.