Ms Representation: K-drama calling
The writer talks about Korean dramas and their impact on young Tamil girls
When I wrote about watching the Korean drama, Strong Girl Bong Soon in this column, I didn’t know that much before I had taken to K-drama, there had been an actual churning of sorts that had Tamil girls swear by Korean dramas. Especially those romances that K-dramas are famous for the world over. I discovered this phenomenon while scrolling through the memes of a popular Facebook page called ‘Chennai Ponnunga Da’ some time ago. That’s when I understood the kind of fan following there is among young women in the state. Whoever thought memes would help us measure Korea’s soft power among college girls in TN? Liked and shared by hundreds and thousands of young women, there are memes out there in praise of Korean romances, and young women, not just from Chennai but across TN, are swooning and declaring fandom to the lead men in Korean romance dramas. There’s several Tamil Korean Drama Fans groups and some pages on Facebook too.
Television networks and local content producers will do well to listen to the voice of these young women. Perhaps, gulp, try and change their programming instead of forcing bad serials down these young women’s throats? They are turning to K-dramas, watching them on streaming sites, exchanging downloaded versions, making their profile pictures that of these young men (yes, I discerned all of this information from memes out there) and making memes about them too. There is hardly any content today that is aimed at young women in TN. The exception, to some extent, are the dubbed Hindi romance serials across Tamil channels which too seem to be doing okay. The launch of Viu streaming in the Tamil market a few months ago, with a special focus on millennials with Tamil and Korean content points to the fact that some have already begun to see a business model here.
For some more perspective, I turned to Quora (where else do Indians go for answers?) and promptly found the question I needed answers to: “Why are college girls obsessed with Korean series (sic)?” I found the best answer from young Anu Jayakumar, who lives in Kerala and has watched over 100 Korean dramas (you go girl!) Her answer is long, as is expected of a veteran, so I will summarise here. Anu says, basically, K-dramas are well made, the storytelling is brilliant, all romcoms are fresh even though they, more or less, all deal with love triangles (or squares and pentagons sometimes!) so much so that the audience even ends of rooting for the second lead pair, actors are talented and are eye-candy (ding ding ding). Lastly, Anu warns, “Korean dramas are like drugs.” She said it. Content producers, listen up.