The Korean wave- Hallyu

Some recurring themes in Korean dramas

1. Historical or period drama

‘The Moon that embraces the Sun’ and ‘The Princess’ Man’ are the best period dramas I have watched till date. ‘Faith’ and ‘Queen Inhyun’s Man’ are historical fiction with a touch of paranormal- magic and time travel, with very well written scripts and unique concepts. “Rooftop Prince” is the story of a crown prince who travels through time by mistake, reaches a parallel world in future and is unable to return back. He tries and adapts to the ways of the new world.

 I love hanbok- the so-elaborate clothing; of so many vibrant colors- I totally love it. I can watch a Korean period drama just to see the women characters wearing these lovely dresses, having adorned braids, and travelling in palanquins; and the men wearing the similar long detailed uniform that flows in every direction artistically when they sword-fight, with decorative hats (different variety of hats according to one’s rank, status, and job- some even have peacock feathers), and riding so elegantly on horses. Ahh! The Josheon era was so beautiful, in every sense. Even the wooden houses- the traditional Korean homes- are so attractive. I wish I could live in Korea, in that age.

2. Gender Bender

The out-of-the-box idea of a girl disguising herself as a boy is unheard of anywhere in India. Vice versa is seen in many comedy flicks, but this one- we’re not used to it at all. ‘Coffee Prince’,'To the beautiful you', ‘You are beautiful’, ‘Sungkyunkwan Scandal’ are some memorable stories themed under this concept. ‘You are beautiful’ – the fairy tale love story, which is more like a dream sequence, will remain every girl’s favorite. And the awesome music tracks by Jang geun suk and the Angel band will reverberate in our ears forever.

‘Sungkyunkwan Scandal’ is historic, gender bender themed romantic comedy. In a male dominated ancient Josheon society, where girls are not allowed to go to school or university, a girl wants to study and become a scholar. She poses herself as her ailing brother, and enters the most renowned university through the toughest exam then.
‘Secret Garden’ – the soul of the leads exchanges and comedy follows. But the funny incidents aside, the whole concept is handled with emotional balance, delicacy and care. This unexaggerated tale, according to me, sees the best performance by Hyun Bin. Ha Ji Won is bubbly as ever, and we love her.

3. Rich Guy, Poor girl and Puppy love

Be it ‘Boys before flowers’ or ‘Playful Kiss’, this concept has rocked, topped the charts worldwide, and taken the Korean wave to new heights. The guy is filthy rich angry young man, surrounded by everything posh and splurging almost every day.

4. The Royal dreams

Everyone wishes to be a prince or a princess, be a part of some royal family and the honor, elegance, the pampering and fame that comes as a package with it. ‘Goong’-or ‘The Palace’ is a story of a common girl chosen to be the crown Princess. Similar is the storyline of ‘My Princess’.

5. Political Thrillers

The concept of revenge and conspiracy are quite recurrent. ‘City hunter’ is about punishing the corrupt politicians, and wrong-doers of the nation (in the most ‘wow’ and cool way); about clashing ideologies of father and son, and about love that blossoms amidst all the hate.

‘King 2 hearts’- set in the backdrop of ‘always there’ north and south Korean rivalry, it is the story of South Korean King and North Korean military officer, amidst nation and world politics. It has many characters, each having a story of their own. If only story is considered, this one’s the best. I wish it would be made to a book some day- and I will be the first to buy it.

6. The Ultimate Paranormal

The Korean paranormal idea is very fresh and new. They have taken the ‘gumiho’(the nine-tailed fox who was blessed to become human by the three goddesses after it observed severe penance) from their myths, and crafted amazing stories surrounding it. “My girlfriend is a gumiho” and “The Book of Gu” are the best examples. ‘My girlfriend is a gumiho’ is one of my favorites.

There is a belief in Korea that after death, a soul takes 49 days of travel to reach heaven or hell. This concept is brilliantly used in the drama ’49 days’. The soul of the girl, who was not supposed to die so early, is given 49 days time by the scheduler (collector of souls) to collect 3 tear drops from three persons who truly love her. If she succeeds, her life would be returned to her. This journey of the girl, or the soul, is worth a watch.


Queeristan by Parmesh Sahani

  Queeristan (Amazon Link) Thanks to Audible Free Trial I listened to this amazing non-fiction on LGBTQ inclusion in Indian workplaces. Author Parmesh Sahani identifies as gay Indian, working closely with Godrej higher management and employees for years to create an inclusive workplace, both legally and in spirit. This book is a result of those years of experience, research, collaboration with individuals from difference spectrum of the society and organizations who has successfully transitioned into a queer friendly one.   Indian history is inclusive. From the Khajuraho temple architectures, to Konark to the Rig Veda, there is existing proofs even 2000 years ago of Indian inclusiveness of queer. It’s the draconian British law that criminalised it, which was scraped in 2009, came into effect once again following a sad judgement in 2013 and eventually was scraped off for good in 2018. I am in awe of the lawyers who fought this legal battle- colleagues and partners – Arundhati Katju

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