By Anil Giri
KATHMANDU ― Korean soap operas and dramas are in high demand in Nepal as they are loaded with love, tragedy and family troubles and touching acting, scripts and plots.
In a country widely dominated by Western and Indian lifestyles, Korean soap operas, dramas, fashion and film are becoming increasingly popular.
Lilisa Shrestha, a student at Shepherd College of Media and Technology, has been adding an extra dimension in her life; Korean drama. She picks up DVDs of Korean dramas and has started to act in the manner depicted on the shows.
"I am hanging out with Korean drama", Shrestha says.
Her affection for Korean dramas was not of her choice. She used to be a regular viewer of Korean films. After watching the drama "My Girl"
she started to love Korean dramas and now they have become the part of her life.
"I can't keep track of time while watching Korean dramas", Shrestha said. "I do not take my eyes from the TV until they finish".
The lover of romantic comedies, Shrestha recently watched the successful Korean drama "You're Beautiful"
She has amassed a large collection of Korean dramas including "My Fair Lady
", "The Partner"
, and "Triple"
. And she is planning to buy more in the near future.
She is not only the young person here who is fond of Korean dramas. A small market in Maha Bouddha now has more than 60 CD vendors where one can easily buy the latest Korean films, soap operas and dramas.
An owner of one of these shops, Sunil Shakya, has witnessed a huge flood of buyers of Korean dramas and films. The owner claimed that the craze for dramas has been steadily increasing of late, beating sales of Korean films.
"For the past several weeks, due to a lack of good and successful Korean films, there has been more demand for Korean dramas", he said.
According to Sunil, most of the buyers of Korean films are students.
He himself is now a diehard fan of Korean drama. "Films end within a few hours but a drama runs for 16 to 17 hours. One can get a lot of entertainment from them", says Sunil.
Two young women, Pramila Rai and Anjima Rai, both lovers of Korean dramas, who were at the vendor to buy the latest shows, said that sometimes they stay awake the entire night while watching dramas.
"It is hard to stop watching a drama once it begins", the pair said.
Pramila wanted to reduce her habit of watching the shows but could not.
Another owner, Rajesh Shrestha, said that Nepal is a lucrative market of English, Hindi, Thai, and Chinese dramas.
Most of these shows are imported from China, India, and Bangkok. But it is easy to find Korean dramas on the Internet. Traders can easily download them from the Internet and sell them. Once a Korean TV channel posts the telecast of a drama, one can easily obtain it on the Internet for free.
"It takes a long time for original DVDs to hit the market here from Korea. In addition, it is expensive", he said.
"We get the original content from the Internet", said another trader. A lot of people and firms are engaged in the act of downloading the content to supply the market. The price is comparatively cheap compared to the price of original DVDs, costing around one-fourth the price of the originals.
In Kathmandu, the interest began with "Winter Sonata
". Other Korean dramas popular among young people are "Boys over Flowers
", "Full House
", "Coffee Prince
", "My Girl"
, "Autumn in my Heart
", and "You're Beautiful"
Why are young people and teenagers so interested in Korean dramas?
"Most of the women who seek Korean dramas are looking for a handsome hero. Male teenagers often ask for DVDs with beautiful actresses", said Rajesh. "I am also fond of beautiful Korean actresses", the smiling Rajesh said.
According to Lilisa, dramas with handsome actors add more beauty to the shows.
"The dramas are helpful in understanding Korean culture and lifestyle", she says.
Korean dramas are also popular because they don't have frequent use of insulting language and rarely run for too long. But mainly people love them because they deal with love, tragedy and family problems in a vivid and lively manner, the traders and watchers agreed.