India is Korea’s fourth-largest trade partner, following the US, China, and Japan. As of 2016, India is Korea’s fourth-largest trade partner, following the US, China, and Japan.
The number of Indian actors in Korean dramas has also been increasing. Over the last five years, the number of Indian actors in Korean dramas has increased greatly.
The film industry is another strong pillar of the Korea-India bilateral relationship. Both countries are making aggressive efforts to expand the industry’s size and production capacity.
THE KOREAN AND INDIAN FILM INDUSTRIES
Korea, rapidly growing as a significant player in the global film industry, is becoming an increasingly attractive market for Indian actors in Korean dramas.
As a result, many Bollywood stars are actively looking to star in Korean films, and many of them have made their way onto Korean screens as a result.
The Indian film industry is experiencing a striking wave of success in the Korean media market. Far from being mere acting sensations, these actors are fashioning their paths to success and paving the way for Indian actors in Korea.
INDIAN ACTORS IN KOREAN DRAMAS :
Bollywood actors have been making their rounds on Korean television screens since the early 2000s. The trend continued into 2010 with an increasing number of major Bollywood stars making appearances ― even becoming main characters ― on South Korean dramas. The first Indian actor in Korean dramas to have this privilege was Irrfan Khan, who played a lead role in the 2009 drama “Secret Garden.”
The trend became even more apparent in 2011. A list of 14 Bollywood stars confirmed for appearances on various dramas has been released by the Korean media, a phenomenon proclaimed by the “Hankyoreh” as a new milestone in South Korea-India relations.
Owing to their popularity in Korea, these actors are treated like VIPs and are given almost-unprecedented levels of treatment, be it on the set or while they’re in Korea.
They even have their dedicated press agents and fan clubs. Surprisingly, though, most of the actors appearing on these shows were not superstars with international fame and popularity ― instead, they were relative unknowns.
That fact added to what can be termed a “fascination” with Indian actors in Korean dramas among drama producers looking to cast new faces. The same report pointed out that Korea’s casting directors have been actively seeking out Indian actors for their dramas since 2009.
However, the success of these dramas does not appear to have affected Korean audiences. When YTN News asked 500 Korean citizens about their reactions to the Bollywood actors’ performances in theaters, the majority felt that “the popularity of Indian actors has increased over the years, but their acting has not been as good as before.
“A more general statement was made by a teacher at Dongduk Women’s University: “I think it is great that so many Bollywood actors are coming to Korea. I hope they are not just there for work and do our culture some justice. I am looking forward to them.”
In the eyes of the Korean entertainment industry, these actors are already a success. “Hankyoreh” reported that even after their 20-minute-per-episode contracts expire, they continue to make cameos as supporting actors or stars in short films and variety programs.
The Indian actors in Korean dramas featured on Korean television have varied in terms of their professional background and popularity. When analysed, the roles these actors took on in Korean dramas and found that most of them were not generally typecast by either the Korean or Indian media ― except for those who appeared as law enforcement officers.
One could argue that Bollywood is enjoying a golden age in Korea. As evidence, one need only look at the following:
- The most famous and popular Indian actor in Korea is Irrfan Khan. He rose to prominence with his Academy Award-nominated portrayal of a Muslim terrorist in the 2002 film “The Warrior,” then went on to star in major Hollywood films such as “The Namesake” and “Slumdog Millionaire.”
- He has been exceptionally well received in Korea, which led him to appear on several Korean dramas as a guest star or main character. In 2009, he even served as producer of the drama “Secret Garden,” arguably his most successful Korean acting credit.
- Another prominent Bollywood actor is Vivek Oberoi, who first gained popularity by playing a villainous role opposite Jackie Chan in the 2005 film “New Police Story.”
- A set of still images from the collection of Kim Woo-Seok-I’s recent film “Chronicle of a Blood Merchant,” was released last February.
- In one photo, filmmaker Kim is playfully interacting with Kangana Ranaut, who is excitedly filming a walk-and-talk scene.
- In another one, Vasundhara Das gives instructions to actor J. Lee, dressed as a soldier and carrying an assault rifle.
BELOVED BOLLYWOOD ACTOR IN KOREAN DRAMAS: ANUPAM TRIPATHI
But the most recent and most prominent Indian in the Korean film industry is Anupam Tripathi. Hailing from Delhi, Indian actor Anupam Tripathi has recently played the role of a squid in his latest role on Squid Game, the newest show on Netflix.
Squid Game, a survival thriller produced by Netflix, generates a lot of interest.
This is a fictional survival series wherein the characters play games that look like innocent, child-like games, such as tag with a balloon, but turn violent very quickly. Characters either win and live on or die trying. The show focuses on a group of highly indebted people in South Korea who are enticed to play the game for 45 billion South Korean won.
Abdul Ali, a migrant worker from Pakistan who enters the game to provide for his family, is played by Indian actor Anupam Tripathi.
Tripathi’s first significant role in a film was a supporting role in Ode to My Father, written in the Korean language. Since then, Tripathi has appeared in over ten projects, filmed in languages other than Korean.
In addition to that, he’s had a supporting role in Netflix’s 2021 Korean Sci-fi feature, Space Sweepers, which also starred Song Joong Ki. Anupam Tripathi played the assistant to Richard Armitage’s James Sullivan.
Anupam Tripathi, a Delhi-born actor who moved with his family to South Korea in 2010, has a passion for singing and acting, which he studied at Korea National University of Arts. He acted in various Korean drama shows and worked as a volunteer teacher at several schools in Seoul.
Anupam struggled to overcome cultural differences and thoroughly soak in the new institute where he was enrolled. In an interview with Arirang News, Anupam expressed his personal view of the challenge: “It’s very hard, and it’s difficult. But at the same time, I’ve always challenged myself. If I’ve come this far, let’s move one more step.”
One of the 32-year-old actor’s early acting appearances was in a musical entitled “Momo” in 2005. The character he played received rave reviews and was a real breakthrough.
He began making appearances in various Korean drama series starting in 2007. According to Kpopmap, the actor joined different film and drama festivals while still in college.