“Hallyu” is a term used in reference to the popularity of Korean entertainment across the world. Bengaluru is no exception. From pop music to food to fashion to soap operas, Hallyu has this cosmopolitan city very much in its grip.
The Korean Cultural Centre India organised its first Kpop contest in Bengaluru in 2015. Although the number of participants were few at first, the contests have gained popularity over the years and are now attended by almost 400 fans. These dedicated fans also try their best to get Kpop artists to perform in the city and judge these contests.
Korean Culture & Food Hubs in Bengaluru
Bengaluru has a number of Korean restaurants, which serve authentic Korean food. Most fan clubs like to have their monthly meetings in these eateries.
‘Hae Kum Gang’ on Castle Street, off Brigade road is known for its Dub bap and Ramyun with Mandu (long noodles with momos) .
‘Hi Seoul’ in Kalyan nagar serves good Samgyupsal.
And ‘Arirang Korean’ in Kammanahalli offers mouth watering Tteokguk .
Many in the city have adopted the casual yet funky style their Kpop idols adorn. Fans go gaga over merchandises like key chains, shirts and caps with band logos and jewellery worn by a famous actors.
Online sites like “The Korean shop” (Korean Shop – Korean Food, Korean Cosmetics, Shopping Mall) and “Kpopbazar” (kpopbazaar) are frequently visited by Kpop enthusiasts.
Many enthusiasts have created online fan groups like BKF and Bangalore Kpop fans who get together and discuss new developments in the Korean industry, have trivia quizzes, exchange dramas and make dance covers of famous Kpop songs.
No one knows how this wave gained momentum or how it reached its popularity. Many say it is the Theme. Kpop bands are known for bringing new themes to every album they release. From fluffy to dark, they cover themes that today's youth find easy to relate to, even though they don't understand the language.
Twenty one year old Esha Iyer says,“They’ve got a concept that is based on today’s youth, their problems and how they deal with it”. This is one of the many reasons why Esha loves Kpop. Besides the music, Kpop videos are known for their harmonised choreography, unconventionally dressed stars and of course colour. Another reason for Kpop’s growing popularity is their constant presence on social media platforms and press meets with their fans all over the world.
Everyone was riding the horse with PSY when his song Gangnam style hit the music world. And now bands like BTS and SHINee, and dramas like The Heirs, Boys over flowers and Descendants of the sun are household names worldwide, including India.
Twenty three year old Aditi Vinayakan is a 2NE1 fan. She loves both the dramas and the music. “It’s the music and beats I really like. Maybe because of the fact that it is similar to regular pop”, she says.
Bands like BTS, EXO, SNSD, SHINee and Big Bang have a huge fan base in Bengaluru. For fans these bands and shows are more than just entertainment. “Kpop helped me alot when I was going through a tough time with my accident and dog’s death”, says Esha.
What's all the rage?
With their delicate faces and colourful hair, Koreans have taken over the world entertainment industry. With original sound tracks and albums like “Wings” (BTS) at the top of every teen’s playlist, Kpop has mesmerized the youth of India. Cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Chennai have had Kpop concerts and contests in the last decade. Teens and young adults come from all across the country to attend and be a part of this wave.
From their light hair, funky and lovable personalities to their addictive music, Korean stars have secured a place in the hearts of thousands of Indians and have established themselves in the global entertainment industry.
By Minnal Paranan