5 Years After SRK Named South Korea Goodwill Ambassador, A Look at 5 K-Dramas
In October 2013, Shah Rukh Khan was appointed goodwill ambassador for South Korea. In 2014, he showcased his role as Goodwill Ambassador in the film Happy New Year as he interacted with members of the Korean dance team.
Knowing our interest in Bollywood films, a friend introduced us to DramaFever.com, an app devoted to Korean television dramas, also known as K-Dramas.
While this blog continues to focus on Indian cinema, we applied some of SRK's goodwill and explored the world of K-Dramas while waiting for the next big Indian blockbuster to hit the cinemas.
If you are new to K-Dramas, here are 5 series you should consider exploring.
Alternate title:Guardian: The Lonely and Great God
First episode date: December 2, 2016
Number of episodes: 16
Description:Fantasy drama. Goryeo general Kim Shin (Gong Yoo) is transformed into a "goblin" (supernatural being) who will live forever and never grow old. Nine hundred years later, the goblin befriends a grim reaper (Lee Dong-Wook) and meets a young woman (Kim Go-Eun) who has the power to end his sad existence. Things get complicated when he starts to fall in love and discovers a reason for wanting to stay alive.
Why I Love This Series: While the evolving romance of the goblin is the primary driver of this story, the amusing bromance between the goblin and the grim reaper is equally as engaging. The all-too-human characters learn how to walk the fine line between the natural and supernatural world of spirits and magic. When they realize their lives are more connected than they first knew, the drama deepens and relationships are challenged. As a side note, Gong Yoo's performance occasionally reminds me of SRK.
First episode date: February 24, 2016 Number of episodes: 19
Description:Military and medical drama. Captain Yoo Si-jin (Song Joong-ki) and Sergeant Major Seo Dae-young (Jin Goo) are part of a Korean Army Special Forces Unit. When Captain Yoo falls for the surgeon Dr. Kang Mo-yeon (Song Hye-Kyo), he begins to romance her. But even though they believe they've found true love in each other, they realize the difference in their jobs may cause a rift too big to close. But when Dr. Kang sets up a United Nations medical facility in Iraq, she discovers she must work side-by-side with Captain Yoo and his team.
Why I Love This Series: While Captain Yoo and Sergeant Major Seo are somewhat brash, they are also outstanding soldiers who have developed an unlikely but dedicated friendship. The soldiers undertake a variety of primarily peacekeeping missions which highlight the strong bonds of respect and trust among the unit. Meanwhile, Dr. Kang must manage her team of doctors under extraordinary circumstances (but the morning "pigeons" are somewhat of a daily comfort). Combining the two teams in realistic (but dramatic) settings creates an engaging drama and an interesting romance.
Description:Historical fantasy action epic. General Choi Young (Lee Min-ho) is an elite warrior in 1300s Korea who travels to the 21st century to find a doctor capable of healing the Queen.
Why I Love This Series: Just like Mark Twain's tale of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, this story transcends time and space with bigger-than-life characters pulled straight out of celebrated Korean history. While there is a lot of political intrigue to the story, there is also plenty of action with humorous moments and quirky characters. Elements of magic and mysticism round out this entertaining adventure. Finally, the soundtrack for the film is outstanding.
Description:Revenge thriller. Based on the Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Tsukasa Hojo. Torn between his surrogate father Lee Jin-Pyo's (Kim Sang-Joong) drive for vengeance and Kim Na Na (Park Min-young) the girl whose courage and innocence touches him, Yoon Sung (Lee Min-ho) must fight to survive, and choose the path he will take.
Why I Love This Series: This cat-and-mouse story features strong and memorable characters - particularly Yoon Sung whose conscience challenges his loyalty to the man who raised him. With unrelenting Prosecutor Kim Young-Joo (Lee Joon-hyuk) a step behind them, things get really interesting.
Description:Teen coming of age drama. Based on the Japanese manga series written by Yoko Kamio. The privileged and handsome four "Flower" boys (F4) of Shin Hwa High meet their match in the strong-minded dry cleaner's daughter Geum Jan-Di (Ku Hye-sun).
Why I Love This Series: This coming of age series has a definite manga quality to it. But it deals with important issues - bullying, mob mentality, starting rumors, focus on looks, rich vs. poor, class distinctions. It also features one of the meanest villains in the form of Shin Hwa Group president Kang Hee-soo (Lee Hye-young) who uses her power to abuse anyone who gets in her way. She is the poster child for why her son Gu Jun-Pyo (Lee Min-ho) seems somewhat abusive with Geum Jan-Di. The transformation of these boys to men makes this a series worth repeat viewing. Already available in Hindi in India, this series popularity extended to Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, India, Nepal, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, and Zambia.
The following playlist features trailers for each of these films.
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