Sign up: ‘K-Drama Talk Studio’, an experiential webinar

Join our panel of K-Drama enthusiasts on September 3 for discussions, demos and a challenge

Great stories can come from anywhere, but over the last year, for many of us in India, it is coming from South Korea. Our binge-watching lists are changing: Mirzapur and The Family Man are being nudged aside by Vincenzo, Love (ft. Marriage and Divorce), and Hospital Playlist. Which, in turn, is influencing our social conversations. When did FOMO debates about what K-dramas to watch in September or why dinnertime must include ramyun and kimchi become our new reality?

“I think post pandemic, the kind of tourist traffic that South Korea will see will be phenomenal. Because [its popularity, thanks to the amount of shows we watch now] has gone from zero to infinity in like three seconds flat,” laughs Anu Menon. The comic and actor, who for eight years was better known as her alter-ego, VJ Lola Kutty, on Channel V, started her ‘K’ explorations last year. “I was fascinated by the fact that they are a small, relatively new country, but their entertainment industry spans so many different genres. There is something for everyone,” she says. “My husband now watches shows with me — in case he loses me forever to [actor] Gong Yoo! His interest in zombies and space time continuums, and cop dramas are met with shows such as Flower of Evil, Arthdal Chronicles, Kingdom, etc.”

Stills from Vincenzo, Mouse, It’s Okay to Not Be Okay, and True Beauty
 

Menon will be one of the panellists on ‘K-Drama Talk Studio’, a webinar that will explore our fascination with all things Korean. Curated by The Hindu Weekend for The Hindu, in association with Korea Tourism Organization, it will also push the conversation-only format with experiential sessions — from cooking demos to make-up tutorials. A quick look at the panellists and what to expect on September 3:

Sign up: ‘K-Drama Talk Studio’, an experiential webinar

Food

Who hasn’t paused a K-drama to order in some ramyun or fried chicken? Korean barbecues, tteok-bokki, kimchi fried rice, the ever-present soju and beer, and the hangover soup next morning are staples of almost every drama. And many of our chefs are big fans.

Dhruv Oberoi, the ‘progressive gastronaut’ who heads the kitchens at Olive Qutub, The Grammar Room & Serai in New Delhi, is watching The King: Eternal Monarch currently, and loving its menu of hotpot steak and pork ramen. So, for the Friday session, he will share a couple of his favourite dishes. “I’ll make a kimchi chicken tikka. I’ve replaced the chilli with kimchi, which gives it a brilliant punch of umami. For the second dish, I’ll make a ramen salad with a chilled broth and a smoked egg — which is very old world meets new world, much like the two dimensions in The King.”

Pooja Dhingra, the founder of Le15 brand of patisseries and packaged foods, will not be doing a demo, but the trained Le Cordon Bleu chef and die-hard Korean drama fan, will talk about all things Korean food.

Sign up: ‘K-Drama Talk Studio’, an experiential webinar

Fashion

Nishat Fatima, a photographer and writer based in Hyderabad — whose work has appeared in publications like Saveur, The Times UK, Vice, Conde Nast Traveller, and Vogue — is a pandemic convert. “I started with Crash Landing on You; it was just the perfect hit of romance, action, and escapism,” she says. Today, she watches K-dramas every day, and has introduced her entire circle of family and friends to them. And fashion is one of her entryways into it. “They are fashion forward. Some of the styles that I see on runways in London, Paris are picked up by the shows almost immediately. For example, they started the high-waisted pants trend very early. Their accessories game is great, too” she says, adding how “Tale of the Nine Tailed was a high for me in terms of fashion because Lee Dong-wook was really good in it”. In fact, she spent days tracking down the thin rings he sported in the drama.

Sign up: ‘K-Drama Talk Studio’, an experiential webinar

Comedy

Anu Menon, who hopped on the K-drama wagon in late 2019, has a new dream now — to move to Seoul once the pandemic ends and do a shampoo commercial or item number! And, of course, to ensure the Friday session has as many laughs as views. “When you watch a show, it is like the entry point into a country or a culture. And this is what K-drama is for most of us,” she says. “I remember seeing an interview with Song Joong-ki [whose latest, Vincenzo, was a hit] where he wondered why K-dramas were doing so well because foreigners may not get the references or the humour. But I think it’s similar to our movies and shows. Like when a Nagesh or a Vivek or a Mehmood came out, you just knew that drama would be intercut with the haha portion. It’s same same but different.”

Sign up: ‘K-Drama Talk Studio’, an experiential webinar
Sign up: ‘K-Drama Talk Studio’, an experiential webinar

Moderator

Puja Talwar is the Executive Editor of Entertainment and Lifestyle at Good Times, and has interviewed some of the biggest names in the business, from Amitabh Bachchan to Al Pacino, and Sridevi to Reese Witherspoon in her 26-year career. She got hooked to K-drama “quite literally by accident in 2016”. “I got injured and was bedridden, so I started watching Descendants of the Sun after a colleague recommended it. Ten minutes in I was hooked, and then I watched over 15 dramas in the six weeks I was laid up!” Since then she’s written about K-drama, has interviewed members of the Korean film fraternity, and is now learning the language at InKo. “The writers of these shows are mostly female, so the feminine gaze is very strong. There are also conversations now on topics such as infidelity, child abuse, mental health, LGBTQIA+,” she says, adding that the discussion will explore the shifts in narrative today, the food, culture, and more.

Firday, September 3, at 4 pm. To register, click here.

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