Saturday, January 28, 2023

Snowdrop Review : A perfect drama with a potpourri of political conspiracies and love

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A politically charged atmosphere, rebellion conspiracies and a forbidden love story between a star crossed couple make for perfect drama viewing.

Disney + released its first Korean Drama, ’Snowdrop’ starring popular star Jung Hae-in and Blackpink’s Jisoo who makes her drama debut, the casting itself had making headlines and the drama one of the most anticipated, with the ‘Sky Castle’ team of director Jo Hyun-tak and writer Yoo Hyun-mi collaborating together.

No sooner had the first three episodes aired, the show incited controversy as it was alleged that it distorted facts and history of a crucial moment in South Korea’s political history.

The mid 80’s were a politically volatile time, students protests, countries reclaiming their sovereignty over dictatorship, democratic rights of citizens made headlines across the world. 1987 South Korea witnessed socio political turbulence as mass protests for democratic reforms swept the nation with many students participating in demonstrations and strikes(Remember Reply 1988, Deoksan (Hyeri) sister Bora (Ryu Hye Young) was a student activist.

It’s against this backdrop Yeong-ro (Jisoo) a bright eyed 20 year old college student meets a suave young man Soo-ho (Jung Hae In) whom she mistakes for a student protestor unawares of his real identity. Soo Ho is an undercover spy from the other side, read North Korea.

My observations are on the basis of the two introductory episodes made available to me.

The first episode introduces us to Yeong -ro and her housemates in Room 207 at Hosu University, as they jostle between roll calls, lip syncing songs and squabbling with each other from rice cakes to blind dates. It’s blind date that first introduces Yeong -ro to Soo Ho. A slight spark visible as their hands graze and glances exchanged.

Our young heroine is smitten with this charming man but misses out on a chance to go out on a date with him

A sweet moment being when she sings aloud to Eruption’s One Way Ticket To The Moon, as she thinks about the man she has met. I totally get that and her embarrassment, after all who has not sung a song aloud thinking of your crush only to have him staring at you.

On the other hand there is tension brewing with the forthcoming Presidential elections and the Agency For National Security planning stepping up it’s investigation to arrest spies from the other side, Soo Ha being prime on their radar.

After Yeong Ra and Soo Ha’s brief encounter on the streets, she finds him bloodied in her dorm room. As she and her two friends oblivious of his identity save him from the ANSP, one sees the beginning of a friendship and the first spark of love between the two and the inevitable heartbreak that lies ahed

A few moments which made me smile and literally go ‘aww’ was when she brings him food in the ‘ haunted room’, and nags him yo eat and the jealous inquiry about the ‘pendant’ around his neck which weighs her down.

Talking about performances am a huge Jung Hae In, fan yes we all loved him in ‘Something In The Rain’ but you have to hand it to him and his evolution when it comes to his craft. It would not be wrong to say expectations are high when the actor stars in a show.

From playing the officer accused of killing his team mate in ‘Prison Playbook’, the endearing single father from’ One Spring Night’, the idealist running away from his past in ‘Tune into love’ or the soldier in the dark gritty ‘D.P, Jung Hae In has an impressive arc and as Soo Ha his quiet, mysterious demeanour and not to forget his ripped physique adds to his screen presence.

Jisoo who makes her drama debut is pretty good as the naive, trusting Yeong Ra. It can be overwhelming for any actor to share screen space with an experienced bunch of actors, but she holds her on.

And last but not the least I shall not compare this drama to’ Crash Landing On You’ or ‘Doctor Stranger’, cross border stories even back home be it Veer Zara, Fanaa Or the recent Raazi have been popular fare. Though I have another 14 episodes to go through I have a fair idea how this going to pan out but for now am quite taken in with Soo Ho and Yeong Ra’s love story between enemy lines and geared up to shed tears.

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