A Fantastic Sonata about Lies, Assumptions, Misunderstandings

It has been a fairly long and completely unintentional hiatus. But do not be mistaken to think that I was living a real life while I was away. Much to my husband’s disappointment, my Korean-drama-obsession continues. So I recently finished watching my first (arguably) tragic show. And I must talk about it, of course.

Winter Sonata is by far the most popular Korean television show outside of Korea. When it was aired in 2002, it swept entire Japan in an emotional wave and till date, you can find people passionately discussing the show. The reason I picked up the drama was the lead actor – Bae Yong Joon.

Have I talked about him before? Well, to put things in perspective, it was Bae Yong Joon’s wax statue in Hongkong’s Madame Tussauds that got me interested in the whole K-thing. I first watched him in a movie called April Snow (외출), which greatly reminded me of Lost in Translation for some reason.

Waxy Love: Bae Yong Joon in Hongkong

Coming back to the main subject of today’s post, I picked up Winter Sonata sometime in early July and I have savored it for close to a month. The music grew on me after the first one hour and I iPoded it immediately. I was forewarned by well-meaning friends about this tearjerker but they did not know much about my Bollywood background, I guess. I did not shed a single tear but yes, my heart got broken several times during those 20 hours.

The show is well-made and its cinematography is better than your average Korean-drama. However, there are so many things that go wrong in a couple’s life. But our lead couple here seemed to have committed great sins in their prior six or such lives. The twists of this drama can put Bollywood’s Race to shame.

Winter Sonata: Boy A & Girl A

How about I summarize the story of those 20 episodes for you in bullet points?

  • Boy A joins a new school and picks up fights with Boy B from the very first moment. He also shows interest in Girl A, who is liked by Boy B. Boy A completely ignores girl B, who falls for him regardless of his cold attitude.
  • Boy A and Girl A hit it off. Boy B is jealous. Girl B is also jealous.
  • Boy A finds out that he shares his father with Girl A and runs away.
  • Boy A meets with an accident and Girl A finds out that he is dead.
  • Girl A, Boy B, and Girl B mourn.
  • Ten years pass.
  • Girl A is getting engaged with Boy B today. On her way from saloon to the venue, she spots Boy A. But how can that be? He died many years ago? Anyway, she is late for the engagement now.
  • Girl A meets Boy A-lookalike in office next day. She asks him if he is Boy A, but Boy A-lookalike has no clue what she is talking about. Incidentally, Boy A-lookalike is Girl B’s boyfriend.
  • Boy A-lookalike falls for Girl A, who starts to like him back. Boy B and Girl B are rightfully jealous.
  • Boy A –lookalike finds out that he is Boy A! How come he does not know it? Oh, coz his mommy got his memory erased.
  • Girl A refuses to believe Boy A, and wants to marry Boy B, whom she does not love.
  • Girl A believes Boy A, and does not want to marry Boy B anymore.
  • Boy A meets with another accident. Memory starts to come back in bits n pieces.
  • Girl A is happy. Boy A is happy. Boy B starts to accept his sad fate. Girl B is still very sad.
  • Boy A remembers that Girl A is actually his sister. Gasps.
  • Girl A is clueless about the incest and continues to be happy.
  • Girl A finds out and is sad.
  • Boy A decides to go away but finds out he is in need of some surgery.
  • Boy A finds out he is not really Girl A’s brother. He is in fact Boy B’s brother. Hurrah.
  • Boy B is still upset. Girl A does not know about this new development.
  • Boy A goes away. Girl A finds out that Boy A is not related to her.
  • Three years pass.
  • Boy A is now blind.
  • Girl A meets Boy A again, and they kiss. Happy happy ending.

Phew. You still with me? (really, if you prove it, I will mail you a special gift!!)

Bae Yong Joon (Boy A) is deliciously handsome, but that is not the only reason this drama is a mega hit. The makers knew how to tug the right strings of the audiences’ hearts. The series is full of heart melting moments and the main characters are intelligently crafted keeping the female audience in mind.

Besides the heart rendering soundtrack, the drama is also shot in exotically beautiful locations and shows the best of Korea in winters. Despite this convoluted plot, the three lead actors impress. Choi Ji Woo (Girl A) changes shades based on the situation and is definitely a pleasure to watch. Park Yong Ha (Boy B) is also fairly impressive as a possessive man, fighting with himself most of the time. (He committed suicide the day I started watching the show. L)

What? You find my comments on the show conflicting? Hello! The show is conflicted. The story sucks and is completely based on miscommunication and lies. Everything else is brilliant. The actors, the photography, the brilliantly handled emotional scenes, and the unforgettable soundtrack – everything makes the show worth a watch, especially if you like romances.

Ok, now some food for thought: Why is that when anything goes wrong in a Korean drama, people decide to go abroad? In every bloody show, they just go overseas. To top it, once someone goes overseas, they can never be contacted again. Why? It is greatly annoying although I should not be the one questioning this. (It is not unheard of in Bollywood either, where the other person usually succeeds in catching up before the flight leaves but that is because the Indian traffic police is highly romantic.)

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5 Responses to “A Fantastic Sonata about Lies, Assumptions, Misunderstandings”

  1. rechristened Says:

    One day, I just might get hold of a K-drama and watch it. Your influence is starting to tell on me 😉

  2. rechristened Says:

    I think I will start with He Who Can’t Marry 🙂 Operation Independence Day Weekend!!!!

    Thanks for the recos.

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