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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Sunday Long Reads: India’s obsession with K-dramas, Cathy Yan interview, and more

Here's your Sunday reading list!

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: February 28, 2021 1:01:12 pm
The current Indian interest in Korean dramas is helped, in part, by the curated collection available on Netflix.

Why are Indians head-over-heels in love with Korean dramas?

Divya Hulvane’s love affair with Korean dramas began six years ago when, one afternoon, she got bored enough to start watching a show recommended by a friend: Boys Over Flowers (2009). Based on a Japanese shojo manga (comics aimed at young women) by the same name, this romantic series is usually the amuse-bouche that whets novice viewers’ appetite for Korean drama. It tells the story of a high-school girl whose life gets complicated when she crosses paths with four rich boys. “I started watching it, probably on YouTube, and within two to three episodes, I was hooked,” says Hulvane, 29. The Mumbai-based doctor finished the 16-episode series in three days, relying entirely on English subtitles.

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From K-dramas to kimchi

Scene from the K-drama Crash Landing on You (Credit: Netflix India)

Crash Landing on You is a wildly popular Korean drama on Netflix about Yoon Se-ri, a South Korean businesswoman, who gets blown into North Korea while paragliding. In episode two of the sixteen-part series, North Korean state security inspectors arrive at the home of Captain Ri Jeong-hyeok, who is hiding the South Korean in his village. They tear through his house, eventually yanking open the doors to his underground kimchi cellar. Among baskets of root vegetables and fermentation barrels is Yoon, terrified of the gun being pointed at her. Ri suddenly emerges and says to the inspector, “Put away the gun you’re pointing at my fiancée!” while the villagers swoon and gasp.

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Have you heard the sound of Spring?

Spring Songs: A brown-headed barbet loudly heralds the season

ALL THROUGH the last week of January, I had kept my ears cocked for it, to no avail. Did this mean another numbing cold wave was on its way? Then, at the turn of the month I heard it: a single bird — brown-headed barbet — calling with confidence, “Kutroo! Kutroo! Kutroo!” and loudly heralded the onset of spring.

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‘Women have to be real, not likeable’: Cathy Yan

Cathy Yan.

Three years ago, Chinese-American Cathy Yan, 35, had emerged as a young writer-director to watch out for following the premiere of her independent debut feature Dead Pigs at Sundance Film Festival, the US. The dark satirical feature set in contemporary China won a special jury award for ensemble acting but had to wait to reach the global audience. In the meantime, her second film, the Margot Robbie-starrer Hollywood superhero movie Birds of Prey (2020), backed by Warner Bros and DC Films, was released last year. After a long wait, the online streaming platform MUBI released and began streaming her debut Dead Pigs last month. The journalist-turned-filmmaker talks about her “deeply personal” debut, directing a big-budget studio movie, and her flawed protagonists.

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Taking Lanes of Resistance over Highways of Success

Young people’s inborn sense of justice, fairness and forthrightness makes them natural agents for change. (Illustration: Suvajit Dey)

Isn’t it odd that despite the global pandemic, we are much harder on ourselves than ever before?” This observation by 19-year-old Rhea (name changed) echoed the experiences of people around the world. “We respond to anxiety and uncertainty by pushing ourselves. We are under the illusion that the only way we can survive this pandemic is if we ‘do more and do it fast.’ This idea is being presented as the only recipe for staying relevant,” she said.

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