Psy’s Gangnam Style which swept the world in 2012 may have been a one-hit wonder for a lot of Indians, but in South Korea, Indian references have frequently appeared in Korean dramas and variety shows even before that. In fact, K-pop singers have sung in Hindi and occasionally talked of making a crossover to Bollywood.
Daler Mehndi’s 90s-hit ‘Tunak Tunak Tun’ till date pops up on Korean drama and variety shows. Last month, K-pop singer Seungri of the band Bigbang, uploaded a video on Instagram performing to the Punjabi pop song meshing it with the dance cover of a K-pop song.
The iconic Punjabi song has featured in several Korean shows since 2000s and was recently featured in 2017-Korean drama ‘Strong Girl Bong-soon’ where it was used as ringtone by one of the characters.
South Korean idols have deliberated on the idea of reaching out to a wider Indians audience through Bollywood.
K-pop group Snuper, who recently performed in Delhi, hopes to do more shows in India and impress Bollywood aficionados.
“We were curious about this country. At the same time Bollywood market is so huge, we look forward to any kind of chance that we get to do some more performances in India,” the 6-member band said in an interview to Hindustan Times.
A former girls’ group 4MINUTE made a funny Hindi-version of their song ‘Volume Up’ in 2012. K-pop group KARD’s member Jseph has attempted to sing the Bollywood number ‘Tujh me rabb dikhta hai’ from ‘Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi’ on a few occasions.
In 2015, in an episode of a variety show ‘Exciting India’, members of five of biggest K-pop bands-Super Junior, EXO, Shinee, CN Blue, Infinite- met the production head of Bollywood production house Yash Raj Films, Aashish Singh, in Mumbai and in a jocular vein tried to wrest a role in Bollywood.
How popular is K-pop in India
Although not at par with Bollywood or Western music in terms of popularity in India, there are a significant number of K-pop music fans across every state. This is reflected in the fact that contestants from India have won top prizes at K-pop contest in South Korea.
Mizoram-based dance group ‘Immortals Army’ won the 2nd prize at the 2017 Changwon K-pop World Festival in South Korea and Priyanka Mazumdar from Assam won the 3rd prize in 2016.
This year, the First Lady of South Korea, during her visit to India, attended the India leg of the contest which is organised by the South Korean government.
Worldwide impact of K-pop
K-pop music industry or Korean popular music industry is one of the biggest cultural exports of the tiny Asian nation and is estimated to be worth $4.7 billion, according to a Bloomberg report.
K-pop is a music genre that influenced by various kinds of music styles like Western pop music, rap, EDM, rock, hip hop, R&B and reggae among others. Songs with catchy beats are performed usually by a group by photogenic singers amalgamated with well-synchronised dance moves and hit-quality video production making it a heady concoction.
Catapulted by the growth of internet, K-pop music has bridged the gap of language and amassed fans worldwide. Several big K-pop acts like TVQX, Bigbang, Super Junior, Girls’ Generation, Shinee, EXO, GOT7, BTS hold packed concerts in countries as diverse as Mexico, Brazil, Russia, US, Australia apart from regular performances in numerous Asian countries.
Apart from concerts, K-pop artists have massive presence on social media. Last month, when a Korean girls’ band ‘Blackpink’ released a new album, Square Up, the main song ‘DDU-DU DDU-DU’ snatched over 36.2 million views within 24 hours of its release on YouTube. Boy group BTS or Bangtan Sonyeondan won Billboard’s Top Social Artist Award for two consecutive years in 2017-18 beating stalwarts like Justin Beiber, Arianna Grande, Selena Gomez, Shawn Mendes.