K-Dramas: The secret behind their success in India Beyond the Panorama May 10, 2022

K-Dramas: The secret behind their success in India

K-Dramas, Korea, Netflix

Isn’t it funny just how much people change?

Try to recall a time you sat next to your mother on the couch or the bed, tucked in comfortably under the blanket, as you waited for her favourite TV channel to begin screening the day’s soap opera.

Are all the memories coming flooding back? 

At the time it was almost impossible to get Ma to budge and switch the channel; that’s what brings us back to our initial point – isn’t it funny just how much people change? Could you ever imagine sitting next to your mother on the sofa, as you both enjoyed what was being played on the TV? It’s a miracle! 

Well, more than a miracle, it is the magic of K-Dramas. This genre of dramas has risen to fame after the surge in popularity of OTT platforms, and since then, there has been no stopping them. Given the success of shows such as Crash Landing on You and Descendants of the Sun, we can’t help but wonder what lies in store for the future of Korean TV. 

What makes K-Dramas so appealing?

How different is it from Indian serials and what can we learn from them? Surely there’s more to it than just on-screen heartthrobs that leave us swooning (although that is an important aspect!) 

Firstly, and I believe most importantly, the aesthetic of the show has a lot to do with its success. The art direction perfectly sets the tone of the show – the sets, backgrounds, and the clothes! There’s no denying that Koreans are trendsetters with their natural flair for fashion, and as viewers, we can’t help but ogle at their well-put-together outfits. Even when it comes to the cinematography, all the shots and locations are enough to make a point, without the use of dialogue.

In fact, when asked what lures her into the world of K-Dramas, Shriya Rajachandra, a student of Journalism in Bangalore, explained just what the hype was all about, ‘it’s like witnessing a whole new world, so different from our everyday lives.’

She went on to explain, ‘everything is so beautifully portrayed and intricately detailed!’

Well, in this context then, it is safe to say that the story all lies in the details.

The storylines in K-Dramas are almost always unique,

often delving deep into the life of the protagonist who has a career in a profession that is usually never portrayed on the big screen; for example, a fencer as in Twenty Five Twenty One or a translator in Run On. The fascinating lives of these characters lure us into the show, despite being a little predictable, and get us hooked within the first few scenes of the pilot episode. 

However, all factors considered, the one big aspect of K-Dramas that makes them so popular is their knack for relatability. Or maybe even the age-old philosophy – that you tend to look for those parts in other people’s lives that are missing from yours. Either way, the depiction of love in this genre of television, in simple words, is pure. It’s innocent. It almost makes you stop and wonder, is Indian television becoming too westernized? In hindsight, that’s what gives K-Dramas their individuality and authenticity –

K-Dramas stick to their culture without portraying ‘western’ ideas as ‘cool’ and ‘trendy’ to the youth.

These ideas could include smoking, drugs, underage alcohol consumption, and the list goes on. They don’t try to show themselves off as something they’re not. 

So, the reason the world is gushing over these dramas is deeper than we think. The next time someone accuses you of watching a drama just for a ‘cute’ boy/girl, you can tell them they don’t know what they’re talking about! Who knows, maybe one episode later they get hooked too, for the same reasons as you?

Nandini Sethi
Nandini Sethi

Sometimes dolefully insightful, sometimes plain distressed state of mind, but always love. I think there’s a bit of love in everything we write.

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