So I watched a Korean TV series at the insistence of my friend, Ishani. By now, she has watched 7 to 8 Korean dramas and is totally fascinated by the culture, the actors and the food shots.
She recommended me to start with this one – Boys Over Flowers, a 2009 drama, available on Netflix. I too love diving into a totally different cultural backdrop of a drama and feel enthralled to encounter the mystique and newness of a different civilization. Although, I was being hesitant to start at first as I tend to binge watch and get absorbed in the world. And then it is a struggle to get out of this world and come to terms with reality. I starkly feel the dullness of my routine after the fantasy trip. It happens with books too but the audio and visual impact of a series takes it to a different level (That’s why I don’t do drugs and alcohol..this is cheap).
Despite that it is a typical rich guy poor girl + college drama + coming of age story, it was a compelling watch because of the tight script and gave me many teary bouts – quite against my wishes.
The series is a Korean adaptation of a Japanese novel. This is how I’m illuminated on several levels starting with geography gyaan. I realize Korea is somewhere near Japan past China and not somewhere near Singapore. 😛
But first you have to digest/ ignore some things about the drama. Even though I have a criminal background of watching a few Ekta K series (it’s my dark past.. I don’t do it now..), I still couldn’t get over few things. The drama opens with a boy driven to the verge of suicide in a Richie kids school and the group of boys responsible are the lead characters..You don’t get the details of how and why, neither any remorse is shown later by any of them for it. Jan di, an ordinary girl saves this guy and enters the school that is well beyond her family’s financial strength. You have to just thank the writer gods that this girl was born or these guys would have stayed pathetic all their lives. The sexism and the bullying you have to buy them with the justification of poor little rich lonely guys.
Only one guy is different among them and he is the second lead. It was bit shocking for me to see that the bad boy turns into a lover of the girl (he is a good actor and my friend’s favorite) stressing on proverbial say that good girls like bad guys (no, they don’t). Though in her defense, Jan di falls for this nice guy first but he has missed the bus.
I had difficulty to swallow this part. The second lead gets to be with Jan di wherever she is – more screen time than with her boyfriend. She just has to breathe a problem and he is there to help her out (it’s really sweet and not as cheesy as I sound). It doesn’t help that he is strikingly good looking with stoic screen presence and a disarming smile. The way they have an understanding of each others pain and the way their faces lit up seeing each other..uff..
The actors in the Korean drama seem to be engaged in singing and other art career as well in real life. Many tracks in the series are sung by the actors themselves. Probably, their actor training is more profound. The lead actress playing Jan di is marvelous, ably pulling the center character(She has a semi autobiographical novel, a best seller to her credit, wow). The Korean society too is heavily patriarchal like us. So they too have Korean dramas championing the cause of women empowerment just like our bahus triumph in the end by surviving all the murder attempts by their saas.
I would have loved watching more Korean series, but can’t indulge in so much mind consumption. May be I will try movies instead.