Onlinedesk | 05 June 2018 | 10:52 am
For years, Bangladeshis have relied on American shows or Indian dramas whenever they have felt a need to move away from local content.
When Star Plus and Star World had yet to reach our televisions, we had trusty old BTV to show us “The X-Files” or the Bangla dubbed “McGyver”. Then came the heady invasion of Hindi serials, and many family evenings were spent watching “Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin” or “Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi.”
Don’t deny it – you know her, you know that ba is not just a sound that sheep make | Even locally produced content showed direct influence from Bollywood or Hollywood produced materials.
Directors have been known to take inspiration from “Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak” to make the timeless Salman Shah blockbuster, or to incorporate Tom Cruise-style stunts in “Khoj: The Search.”
But recently, a very different source of inspiration has emerged. An Eid special drama, starring none other than the popular small screen actor Mosharraf Karim, called “Superman”, was inspired by a drama serial made in a country that even 10 years back, people may not have known much about.
The Bangladeshi version of “A Man Who Was Superman” possesses more humour than its Korean original | Underground Creative Factory and CJ Entertainment
“Superman” was actually inspired by a South Korean drama, “A Man Who Was Superman.”
Another Eid Special starring former Lux Channel i Superstar Mim and popular actor and musician Tahsan, “Uddeshho”, was also inspired by a Korean movie named “Windstruck.”
Korean drama, or K-Drama, is slowly but surely gaining a popular following among Bangladeshi audiences and creators alike.
Rise of K-Drama
While there are people who were quick to subscribe to Netflix after its entry in Bangladesh, and there will never be a shortage of viewers watching yet another long running Hindi serial, K-Drama has gained increasing popularity in the recent years, especially among the younger generation.
Some fans are now as likely to follow, if not more, the activities of Song Joong-Ki, star of “Running Man” and “Descendants of the Sun” than Cole Sprouse, who shines as Jughead on “Riverdale.”
The thirst is very real | KBS
When questioned about reason behind the pull of K-Dramas over popular Western ones, an ardent fan of K-Drama, Sadia, said: “The Korean culture and their family orientated lifestyle is more or less similar to ours.
“Most of their popular drama/movies have themes like family conflicts, high school drama or romance,” she continued. “These are easily relatable. Also, they are often accompanied with beautiful soundtracks which allure the general audience.”
Another attractive factor of the Korean shows is their runtime; while most Western shows run for years, and Hindi serials are almost never-ending, Korean dramas only run for 16-24 episodes.
The proliferation of K-Drama groups in Facebook
With the rise of K-Dramas, there also has been a proliferation of K-Drama groups in Facebook. In order to bond, socialize and interact with fellow devotees, fans have created a number of Facebook groups that brim with discussions and reviews of K-Drama.
One of the largest Bangladeshi K-Drama groups, Korean Movie & Drama Lovers, arranges a yearly get together for all K-Drama enthusiasts inside the group.
“Before we host the get together program, we start off with a ‘review contest’ and a ‘cosplay competition’,” said Fahrin Hossain Farha, one of the administrators of Korean Movie & Drama Lovers. “Then in the program, we play K-Dramas and K-Pop music for everyone. Members also participate by singing along and dancing to Korean songs.
“Last year, we arranged a get-together where the winners of different competitions were rewarded with CDs, headphones, t-shirts, and other merchandise,” continued Fahrin. “We also host these programs outside Dhaka. Our objective is to provide K-Drama or movies to people who cannot download them. So far, the response to our group and these programs has been highly satisfactory.”
She added: “We provide a secure environment for all Korean entertainment enthusiasts, especially for girls and women outside Dhaka.”
Other popular Facebook K-Drama groups include K-Drama Archive BD, BD Korean Drama Fam, and Planet of Kdrama&pop, all of which intend to create opportunities for both local and international fans to participate in discussions about their favourite dramas.
There has been a rather visible recent craze over everything South Korean nowadays. Teenagers know the steps to popular K-Pop songs and follow bands like BTS and Big Bang. Interest in Dhaka’s many Korean restaurants and Korean products sold in specific stores, like Mini Sol or K-mart, are growing.
K-Drama is one of the other aspects of the Korean craze, which shows that Bangladeshi audiences are gradually starting to focus on content that is not made in Hollywood or Bollywood.
Some of the must-watch Korean dramas
“Descendants of the Sun (2016)”: a love story about two army personnel from Korea’s Alpha Special Forces Defence Unit, Yoo Shi-jin (Song Joong-ki) and Dr Kang Mo-yeon (Song Hye-kyo), who are thrown together in the middle of a peacekeeping mission.
“Goblin (2016)”: An immortal goblin, Kim Shin (Gong Yoo), despises immortality and waits for a human bride who will take his life. However, a roadside accident entangles him with a high school girl, Ji Eun-tak (Kim Go-eun), and changes his life forever.
“Signal (2016)”: A police drama that deals with a criminal profiler who doesn’t trust cops (Lee Je-Hoon) and travels back in time with a mysterious detective (Cho Jin-Woong) to solve the case of his childhood friend’s murder.
“Kill Me, Heal Me (2015)”: A third-generation billionaire (Cha Do Hyun) who suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder due to a traumatic childhood gets treated by a first-year psychiatrist (Huwang Jung-eum) and falls in love with her, but must battle his disorder and her brother’s investigations into his family’s past.