Tuesday, May 28, 2024

5 Reasons Korean Dramas have become immensely popular in India

Reetika Choudhury 

South Korea has not only become the 12th largest economy in the world, but its spectacular impact in the entertainment sector, gaining viewership outside South Korea, especially in India, is remarkable.

Hallyu is a Chinese term that literally translates to Korean wave. The Korean wave or the Hallyu wave denotes the remarkable surge in the worldwide admiration for South Korean popular culture since the 1990s, especially in the neighboring Asian countries. This widespread fascination with Korean culture has been predominantly fueled by the widespread dissemination of K-pop and K-drama content.

Today, most OTT platforms thrive on a major chunk of their viewership from international content. Of that, Korean has gained international viewership. In 2019, a survey said 24.4% of respondents in India concede they watched K-dramas. What do you think is the reason behind this sudden spurt in the viewership of K-dramas in India? Here are five following reasons that will let you know the reason behind this popularity.

Escape from reality

Escapism plays a pivotal role in the appeal of K-dramas to Indian audiences. In a fast paced and often stressful world, people seek out entertainment as a means to disconnect from their daily routines and immerse themselves in alternate realities. K-dramas offer a compelling escape with their captivating narratives, picturesque settings and intricate character developments. For many Indian viewers, the allure of K-dramas lies in their ability to transport them to unfamiliar yet enchanting worlds where they can indirectly experience different cultures, lifestyles and societal norms.

K-dramas like “W: Two Worlds”, “The King: Eternal Monarch” provide viewers with a unique and enchanting form of escapism by transporting them into imaginative and otherworldly settings.  These dramas often feature elaborate world-building, introducing viewers to fantastical realms filled with magic, mythical creatures and supernatural phenomena. Fantasy K-dramas encourage viewers to suspend their disbelief and embrace the fantastical elements woven into the narrative. Whether it’s parallel universes, time travel, or alternate dimensions, these dramas challenge viewers to explore possibilities beyond confines of everyday life, fostering sense of wonder and excitement.

Differs from Indian Dramas

Indian dramas often feature elaborate storylines with numerous plot twists and melodramatic elements. Characters in Indian-dramas are often depicted in black-and–white terms, with clear distinctions between good and evil. In addition, most Indian TV drama feature the same repetitive storylines which are mostly based around typical family disputes. While K-dramas, generally have a more streamlined narrative style, with a focus on character development and emotional depth. They often explore themes like romance, friendship and personal growth in a subtle manner. Characters in K-dramas are often portrayed with depth and realism, allowing viewers to empathize with their struggles and growth.

K-dramas are often hailed for their originality and intriguing plots. In contrast to Indian TV dramas, which may sometimes have inferior production qualities, K-dramas are renowned for having high production values, amazing filming, visual effects and contemporary sets. One of the features of Indian Dramas that makes the viewer lose interest in the show is its never-ending plot, while K-dramas tend to be shorter in length with around 16-20 episodes per series or per season.

Social Media and Streaming Platforms

Social media and streaming platforms have played a significant role in increasing the viewership of K-dramas in India by making them more accessible to a wider audience. Platforms like Netflix, Viki and Viu have made it convenient for Indian viewers to discover and binge watch K-dramas. Mx player, originated in India, also provides a wide genre of K-drama dubbed in Hindi, making it more accessible and popular among Indian viewers who prefer watching content in their native language.

Additionally, social media platforms provide a space for fans to share recommendations, discuss episodes and connect with other enthusiasts, thereby creating a sense of community and further fuelling interest in K-dramas. The availability of subtitles in multiple languages also makes it easier for non-Korean speakers to enjoy these shows.

Covid lockdown

The covid situation served as the starting point for the entry of international shows. And Indian viewers were more inclined towards K-dramas and Hollywood content. Since people were stuck at home with nothing left to do other than browse the unknown and endless sections of Netflix recommendations. Consequently, they landed upon the genre of K-dramas, and they decided to give it a go, as they were tired of the usual Western stuff or just curious about something new. Despite the subtitles, they gave it a shot, especially with shows like “Squid Game” and “Kingdom” making waves.

More people got hooked on K-dramas during the pandemic, showing how our taste in entertainment expanded during tough times. The consumption of K-dramas in India has increased by more than 360% during the pandemic period compared to 2019 based on the report released by Netflix.

Cultural appeal

The growing interest in Korean culture, including food and fashion has significantly increased the viewership of K-dramas in India. K-dramas have some of the best fashion sense. Both men and women have an unmistakable sense of style and carry their outfits with confidence. Something about the way they dress makes them appear like they have just walked out of a fashion magazine or a runaway. Social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are filled with images and videos of K-drama fashion, which further amplifies its popularity among Indian audiences. Fans often follow K-drama actors and actresses for fashion inspiration, contributing to the growth of K-drama viewership.

K-dramas often feature scenes of characters enjoying traditional Korean cuisine specially Ramen, kimchi, bibimbap, bulgogi which piques the interest of Indian viewers in Korean food culture. The visually appealing presentation and descriptions of Korean dishes in these dramas can spark curiosity and encourage viewers to explore Korean cuisine themselves.

Hence, the wave of K-dramas captivating Indian audiences shows no signs of receding anytime soon!


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