News / Interviews

Profile Of A K-Pop Fan: For Indian Engineering Student Tansarra Mayilvaahanam EXO And Park Hyo Shin Are Part Of The Whole Package

By Tamar Herman | December 06, 2015 05:28 PM EST

NAME: Tansarra Mayilvaahanam

AGE: 19

HOME: Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.

CURRENTLY: Studying Automobile Engineering at SRM University

INTRO TO K-pop: "It was during 2013 when I saw "Boys Over Flowers," a Korean drama that aired on a local channel that motivated me to watch the drama properly in Korean. That was the turning point. I then ventured into SS50 because of Kim Hyun Joong [who starred in "Boys Over Flowers]. But then the real K-pop spark moment was this April when I stumbled upon an article that discussed the most viewed Korean music videos in the first half of 2015, and I was instantly attracted to EXO! From that moment onwards, their single "Call Me Baby" was on replay for like a week. I then heard other songs by EXO and I got so attached to their songs because there was, and is, something unexplainable in their songs that filled the emptiness in my life that I was experiencing back then and from then on, there was no turning back."

WHY K-pop: "I would define K-pop as a whole package. It inculcates both dance and vocals. It is more of a visual treat, something that I have not seen in any other genre. I connect with K-pop more. Initially I did not know Korean and I needed subtitles for songs and music videos, and it was a hard time. But it was always about the music that fascinated me and drew me to K-pop. I always feel a lack of either liveliness or something creative in pop music's of other countries when in comparison with K-pop. It is something that people must experience personally to know and understand about. I always make my friends listen to some K-pop songs.

The dedication and toughness factor in becoming an idol is a whole new level of hardness. It is not an overnight act. Idols train for years. They sacrifice a lot to live their dreams. All these different factors attracted me more to K-pop. At first people [who see K-pop] are usually reluctant, but after their first try they be like, 'WOW! I actually never expected it to be good.' I always describe listening to K-pop as a different experience that they ought to give a shot at. It's not just about listening to their [K-pop] music, its also about experiencing it."

CULTURAL MISUNDERSTANDINGS: "Well to start with, the whole ideology itself is different. Here people claim a male to be a male with the presence of facial hair! Mustache, beards, etc. are the typical "manly" ideology mainly here in India. So when ever I show [someone] a K-pop video they always pick on the male idols saying how feminine they are. That's why I always introduce the songs to my friends first.

Speaking of the audio, most people tend to despise things they do not understand. So they say that they do not understand what they are singing and in return ask me how it is that I listen to all these. Basically anyone who loves K-pop here is considered to be weird. Bollywood dominates India. So when people are introduced to K-pop, the reasons why they do not prefer it, as mentioned earlier, is because they do not understand what they are singing, [they] casually poke fun at how feminine the guys are and, yeah, how crazy the videos are.

Even saying out loud that you like K-pop, at times makes people ridicule me. And here, when two males hug as a sign of friendship or even hold hands for a second, they are literally labelled as gay. When this ideology prevails, how will they accept K-pop? If I show them the pepero game shows, God forbid they would think I am crazy for watching all this! They won't and I think they never will understand that beneath the fact that I do not understand Korean.

It is the fact that I am able to feel the music, the soulfulness that those songs vibrate, that makes me listen to K-pop all day. But fortunately, unlike others, my family doesn't mind or criticize me for listening to K-pop. My mom, in fact, is a fan of EXO. My brother sometimes listens to Big Bang. I first wondered what my father would think about the fact that I listen to K-pop and have huge posters all over my room, but he just looked at all these and said I must first learn Korean if I want to experience all that K-pop has to offer. Well, I am lucky that my family supports me, but this is not the case for many Indian fans."

FAVORITE GROUP: EXO

WHY EXO: "I chose EXO because I get this pop vibe that I can really relate to in their songs, and their tempo's are unique and its not the stereotypical tune, mostly bubblegum pop tune, that people think when they talk about K-pop."

FAVORITE SONG: "Promise 2014"

FAVORITE SOLO ARTIST: Park Hyo Shin

WHY PARK HYO SHIN: "I've always considered Park Hyo Shin as my most favorite. I always feel some kind of a fulfillment whenever I listen to his songs, mainly because of his voice. For the quality of his vocal range I feel that he is underestimated internationally but I've heard that he is very famous in Korea."

FAVORITE SONG: "Wild Flower"

If you'd like to be featured in the "Profile Of A K-pop Fan" column, send an email with a recent photo of yourself to fan@kpopstarz.com. Please include the subject header "Fan."

Tagged :  Profile of a K-Pop Fan, EXO, Park Hyo Shin

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