With the increasing popularity of Indian food among Koreans and enthusiastic consumption of Bollywood, it seems that a subsequent craze for Indian culture is rising in Korea. Oftentimes K-Pop idols have sung in Hindi and occasionally talked of making a Bollywood crossover. Although the K-wave in India has set itself firmly in recent years only, in South Korea, Indian references have frequently appeared in Korean dramas and variety shows even before that.
Korean youtubers are plunging into Indian content videos. From Indian travel blogs to Bollywood reaction videos , Korea is welcoming everything with open arms.
Korean You-tubers Hoon and Min
The craze for Indian food among Koreans is pretty evident from a number of Mukbang videos. Professional Mukbangers are now trying out Indian food. From Soan papadi to Samosa, from Rasgulla to Biryani, Koreans are indulging in the delicacies of India.
Not only the Mukbangers, but many K-POP singers can also be seen enjoying Indian food. In an interview with the Rolling Stone India, members of the Korean boy band Ateez were seen enjoying Indian snacks. Back in 2015 also, during the shooting of “Fluttering India”, K-pop idol’s including TVXQ’s Changmin, Super Junior’s Kyuhyun, SHINee’s Minho, Infinite’s Sunggyu, CNBLUE’s Jonghyun, and EXO’s Suho tasted Indian dishes .
But it is not just Indian cuisine that is being lapped up by the Koreans, Bollywood has become the other hot import from India. Although the majority of Koreans don’t watch Bollywood movies as it is very different from Korea’s mainstream movie industry. Despite this, some of the Bollywood movies have made good profits in Korea.
The movie ‘3 idiots’ is very popular in South Korea and is one of those Bollywood movies that almost every Korean has watched. Black, Taare Zameen Par, My Name is Khan, etc are also among the list of popular Bollywood movies in South Korea. Recently, Aamir Khan starrer Dangal gained wide acclaim. Mamamoo’s leader Solar, in one of her videos on her YouTube channel, mentioned that ‘Dangal’ is her favourite movie and even recommended it to her fans. Life of Pie featuring Indian artists too was a massive hit in Korea.
EXO’s Lay took his affinity for Bollywood by acting in an Indo-Chinese film “Kung-Fu Yoga” starring megastar Jackie chan along with Bollywood actors Sonu Sood, Disha Patani and Amyra Dastur.
Indian music also seems to have found endearment in South Korea. Daler Mehndi’s 90s hit Tunak Tunak Tun proved to be a megahit in Korea and till date pops up on Korean drama and variety shows. Even RM said in his interview with Rolling Stone India,” I could say that the most famous Indian song in Korea is ‘Tunak Tunak Tun’,”
A lot of Korean YouTubers can be seen making reaction videos on Bollywood songs. Many K-Pop groups such as VAV, K.A.R.D, M.O.N.T, 3YE were spotted shaking their legs on the Bollywood songs. In 2019 another Kpop group IN2IT came up with a Bollywood dance cover.
The rising acknowledgement of India is also being noticed in the K- Dramas and Korean movies. Here and there, we are witnessing Indian references in Korean dramas. Back in 2011, a popular Korean sitcom High Kick 3 featured Kim Ji Won in a full Indian attire pretending to be an Indian.
Above mentioned popular Punjabi Song Tunak Tunak Tun was also featured in 2017 Kdrama Strong Woman Do Bong Soon, where it was used as a ringtone of one of the characters. Recently in the year, 2020 Indian references were witnessed in Start-up and Old School Intern. While the former presented an Indian customer asking for Lassi in a scene, the latter featured the lead actor Park Hae Jin speaking “, “Mai Ga Yeol Chan bol rha hu, Rancho Ji” in Hindi.
Although most of the references were used for comedic gigs, it also represents Korea’s growing interest towards India.
The rise of Hallyu in India is certainly a big factor in the growing interest of Koreans in India. As in any relationship, mutual respect regarding cultural values is the key to putting together a sturdy partnership between the two countries. The Indian audience, despite having a diverse and rich culture, is welcoming Korean influences. Therefore, Koreans are also educating themselves more about Indian culture. Although Bollywood culture is globally recognized it still has to travel a long way to make a home in Korea. With the growing interest of Koreans in Indian culture, gradual growth and influence of Indian culture in Korea can be anticipated in recent years.
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