By Kim Seung-ho
Korean Public Relations Officer in India
India has finally opened its firmly closed doors to a Korean television drama.
From July 23, India's state broadcaster DD-TV decided to air every Sunday the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS)'s "Emperor of The Sea
". DD-TV is the only air-based broadcasting corporation in India that provides television service coverage across India and its neighboring nations, including Pakistan, Nepal and even Bangladeshi.
In the past, Indians have not preferred overseas television dramas on its soil because of its strong love and high pride in their unique culture. Japan, China and many European countries previously tried to knock on India's door, but they have not been very successful.
People say there is a unique Indian value, so-called masala culture, in India. Masala is a mixture of local spices -- cinammon, coriander, ginger, turmeric powder and chilli powder -- used to create the unique flavor of indian cuisine.
Like these spices, masala culture represents the uniqueness of Indian culture combined with traditional Indian music, dance and songs.
Masala culture and India's cultural exclusivism
Nicknamed "Bollywood", India's huge movie industry produces nearly 1,000 films every year on passionate love stories and moral values that punish evil people. Indian dramas with traditional values are being broadcast on almost 100 cable television channels in India, touching Indians' hearts and overwhelming Western blockbusters.
Moreover, under the centuries-old caste system, there is a tendency among Indians to look down on Mongolians or people from other ethnic backgrounds. Arians, who share the same ethnic background with Iranians, are at the top of the caste system and leading the drive to exclude other cultures. Such notions could hamper Korean dramas' ability to attract Indian viewers. They might find Korean television dramas strange or odd because of racial differences.
Despite such difficulties, however, DD-TV's decision to broadcast a Korean television drama "Emperor of The Sea
" is considered an exceptional case. But if we look closer behind DD-TV's decision, we can find that the hard-earned efforts of staff from KBS and the Korean embassy to India helped open India's doors.
While hosting "Show Case" events to introduce Korean TV dramas to Indian broadcasters, who had shown low interest in our TV contents over the last few years, KBS representatives took a one-on-one approach to TV producers from major television corporations in India. Considering themselves Korean culture PR officers, the Korean embassy was also committed to making contacts with the chief executives among Indian broadcasters.
Korean-flavored programs appeal to India
Now being aired by DD-TV, "Emperor of The Sea
" is expected to appeal to Indians with its spectacular 1,200-year-old story from Korean history and moral values that mirror those of India.
DD-TV staff also predict that there is a high possibility that the drama's scenic beauty and sensational story will win viewers in the near future.
Meanwhile, a new movie titled "Gangster: A Love Story" is making a big hit in India. Filmed in Korea, this movie is gaining popularity among Indians for its exotic beauty, strong passions and thrilling contrast.
Reporters also spotlight the success of this movie day by day in Indian media. People can hear its delightful, fast-rhythmic sound track touching Indians' emotions across the country. This movie proves the synergy that exists between India's masala flavor and Korea's taste, heralding the next success story for Korean dramas overseas.