This is no one-off, either. Korean films and serials have gripped audiences worldwide. My Sassy Girl was so popular in Asia people began making comparisons to Hollywood mega-blockbuster Titanic. Hollywood actors and producers immediately took notice and a spate of successful remakes of Korean movies hit the market. Many American theatres even run Korean movies with English subtitles.
The trend has caught on in Nepal as well. This year's Mero Euta Saathi Cha, for example, is a remake of Korean movie Millionaire's First Love, and many scenes from Sano Sansar were lifted from Korean films. Director of Mero Euta Saathi Cha Sudarshan Thapa says the movie was in part an 'experiment' to test local receptiveness to remakes of foreign films. It seems the movie's success at the box office has proven his point.
Indeed, Korean movies are now so popular DVD sales rival that of Hindi DVDs, the traditional heavyweights in the local market. Dev Chulagain, who runs a DVD shop, confirms this: "While people only buy recent Hindi films, there is demand even for Korean movies released four to five years ago."
People are especially keen on 2001's My Sassy Girl, 2006's A Millionaire's First Love, 2008's Ta Gutgi, and romantic movies more generally. Inevitably, Korean language and fashion have caught on. For example, instead of saying "I love you" many have started using the Korean equivalent, "Sarang hyo."
Romantic Korean films can also be slow and plodding and have turned off some, like Mero Sansar director Alok Nembang. But they continue to grow in popularity and are easily accessible on TV channels like Arirang or the Internet. A couple of years ago, Nepal Television and Doordarshan began running Korean TV serials. Many more TV channels air these shows today. Businessmen add that cinema halls that show Korean movies have made a lot of money. It's clear the K-wave is here to stay.
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