Walk into the bustling Barra Bazar located in the heart of Mizoram’s capital city and you will surely find t-shirts emblazoned with the names and logos of popular K-Pop bands!
Korean Pop(K-Pop), Korean dramas and movies are quite a rage here, with people from all age groups tuning into the most recent K-drama or talking about the plot twist in a much anticipated one. A lot of dance groups groove to the songs of the hottest K-Pop bands, emulating their dance style and outfits too.
Korean films and TV shows dubbed into Mizo are the most-watched programmes in Mizoram. The local channels broadcast dubbed K-Dramas and movies, keeping up with the latest releases.
“Korean culture has a huge influence on the youngsters and they are often seen in Korean attires and hairstyles, in fact many even try to copy things like the kind of furniture seen on these dramas,” says a producer from a local TV network.
The Korean Cultural Center, India (KCCI) organised a K-Pop concert in Aizawl, in 2015. Prior to that a visit by the Korean Ambassador to India accompanied by KCCI officials, was impressed by the popularity of Korean music and films in Mizoram and the huge influence they had on the youngsters. Apart from having economic ties, the Korean delegates had expressed their desires to organise cultural exchange programme to have closer relationship, said a press release issued by the KCCI.
This popularity can also be seen in neighbouring states of Nagaland, Manipur, Arunachal too.
Manipur has been mired in insurgency since long, with animosity against the ‘state’. In 2000, a powerful local group, the Revolutionary People’s Front, ordered a ban on Hindi films and channels to “stamp out Indianisation”.
This presented an opportunity for Korean television serials and movies to fill up a vacuum, and the ‘K-Wave’ becoming a craze.
“The key factor that abets the popularity of Korean wave is the cultural proximity of Korean and Manipuri societies in terms of both being of Mongoloid stock; both societies being based on clan communities, ” according to research scholars Otojit Kshetrimayum and Ningombam Victoria Chanu.
With DVDs of Korean serials and movies being smuggled over from the Myanmar border, it is easier to watch them from the comfort of one’s home, and as theatres are not common in the hill states.
It is very common to see street side vendors selling DVDs of the latest Korean soap dubbed into Mizo. The dubbing industry is flourishing in Mizoram, and local networks scramble to telecast the most popular soap.
A cultural and physical distance from the rest of the country, no doubt, has led to the rise of the ‘Korean wave’. With next to no representation in “mainstream media”, it is no wonder that youngsters are tuning into Korean serials.0