How K-drama and Bollywood’s multilayered stories depict the many faces of family

Aishwarya Srinivasan
New Update
K-drama families

Over the years we’ve had some iconic K-drama and Bollywood families that all of us resonated with and still talk about, and here’s deep diving into how we drew parallels between the two!

As Karan Johar said in one of his most iconic films ‘It’s all about loving your parents’ and then went on to show the many ups and downs a family goes through, in a similar sense, K-dramas too, have family at the core of it all. They fight, there’s rivalry, so many suppressed feelings, childhood trauma but at the end of the day, the essence is for all of the characters to be woven back together in one way or another. By now, most of us who are avid K-drama fans must have felt that our values and culture are quite the same. We are taught to hold our families in the highest regard although as we grow up, we realize how complicated things actually have been all our life. Which is why when we watch a K-drama or a Bollywood movie that's more family centric there’s a lot that we can relate to. I mean we are Asian families, love and communication aren't our strongest suits but we do it in our own wholesome way.

Almost every K-drama I’ve watched has had a new family dynamic to show and there are a lot of parallels that I can draw from Bollywood movies. A recent example of this would be Queen of Tears, a show we all loved and actually had all of us in tears almost every episode. In the series, we see Hong Hae-In’s family being rather uptight and not very close knit. A lot of it is also because of a fatal incident in the past that tainted their relationships but also because they were more invested in wealth than each other’s feelings. This reminded me so much of Zoya Akhtar’s Dil Dhadakne Do. There’s a dialogue in the film where Ranveer says, “Iss family mein sab upar upar se baat karte hai, asli baat toh koi karta hi nahi hai" and this perfectly describes Hae-In’s family as well. Everyone’s beating around the bush and no one wants to really get to the point until it's too late. 

Also Read: An open letter to Jung Da-eun who helped me understand healing and self-prioritization


Then there’s an element of how the entire neighborhood feels like a family as well. K-dramas like Reply 1988 and Our Blues feel like soup for the soul where everyone’s working in unison to uplift one another. While not entirely, I do see glimpses of that in Kal Ho Naa Ho. Naina and her family always had their friends from the neighborhood who fully filled in the position of a family member. Even in Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, everyone in Chandni Chowk knew Anjali and there was a sense of belonging. For me, that's one of the most wholesome parts in a K-drama when each family member has a sub plot and their arc is well wrapped up by the end!


Lee Min Ho and Park Shin Hye’s Inheritors and Student of the Year showcase the many trivial tantrums and whims of rich kids and the attention they seek from their families. It also showcases the parallels between middle class and wealthy families, the various differences in their upbringing and all that comes with it.

Both K-dramas and Bollywood are packaged to look like the perfect happy family which is a major selling point for both. But the closer you look, the more you realize how atypical they are in nature, and how complex it is to figure out a middle ground as a family which is the case for most of us IRL as well. Maybe that's the reason K-dramas have increased the Hallyu wave in India; perhaps it's solely based on relationships and painting the dream of what we wish we did better as a family.

For more reviews, follow us on @socialketchupbinge.

K-Dramas Reply 1988 our blues Queen of Tears k-drama families inheritors