South Korean films inundate Manipur market
Talk about films in Manipur, and you are most likely to hear them drop names like Lee Min Ho, Ha Ji Won, Jang Nara, Kwon Sang Woo and Song Hae Kyo. For those in the dark, they are names of popular Korean stars. The markets in Manipur are flooded by South Korean films and soap operas of these stars. And the youth think it cool to ape these stars’ hairstyles, clothes or even pepper their language with Korean phrases.
Ironically, it was to safeguard the Manipur culture that had the separatist faction banning Bollywood films more than a decade ago. “The last Hindi film I saw was Kuch Kuch Hota Hai in a theatre. I remember sitting on my mother’s lap throughout the film,” giggles Dolly Sarungbam (22).
Now she’s completely hooked on watching DVDs of Korean serials. “They have interesting stories — simple, believable and addictive. Hindi films are nice, but there’s no variation in the stories they tell.”
The rage for Korean films is not just restricted to Manipur though. It has spread to neighbouring states like Nagaland. Says Nyanthanglo Woch (23), “Although we don’t have the kind of restrictions that Manipur has in watching films, I like to watch Korean films too. Besides their serials being interesting, it’s easier to connect to them as their looks and culture are not too different from ours. Language is the only barrier, butthe subtitles help us tide through it.”