Rapper Psy's Gangnam style of music that became a global rage is seen to be popular in India too, especially among dance music enthusiasts who seem to lose no opportunity to wriggle to the catchy Korean pop song.
As part of celebrations to mark the 40th Indo-Korean diplomatic year, the Korean cultural centre here hosted the second pan India K Pop contest. Such contests have been held in various cities globally for the past few years now.
Typically K-Pop comprises electronic, hip-hop, pop, rock, as well as R&B music. Originating in South Korea, K-pop has gone on to become a sub-culture throughout Asia and has spread out to newer areas like Central and South America.
"K-Pop is a world phenomenon which seems to be missing in India. Although it is fast picking up, we aim to make it bigger every year," says Kim Kum Pyoung, Director of Korean Cultural Centre, India.
The song and dance competition festival here witnessed performance by 12 semi-finalists. The festival, is part of an initiative of South Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs to popularise Korean pop culture in various countries.
The festival sees its participation majorly from the youth and teens. Semi-finalists from 13 different countries are invited by the South Korea to perform live in Gangwon in South Korea in September every year. Paul 5, a seven member team from Timarpur slums, who won the Indian edition last year got a chance to visit Korea to perform at the K-Pop Contest 2012 where they danced to Big Bang's well-known number, "Gara Gara Go", according to organisers.
The group believes such competitions help to provide international exposure to budding dancers. "This international platform gave a boost to our spirits. It was through social media that our group got to know about the contest. We uploaded a video which people liked and it all changed for us," says Deepak Kumar of Paul 5.
"Now, we are called to perform at various venues and our parents, who did not support the dance group have now become open to the idea," he says. Edwin Jamir bagged the top prize out of the six solo song cover finalists while the Crazy Freaks Dance Crew was judged winner from among six groups in the dance cover category in this year's competition.
They will now compete for at the K-POP grand finale in Wanju in South Korea.
"If the Indian audience love to tap their feet to Gangnam style, we're sure K-POP will soon become mainstream," says Kim Kum Pyoung. The jury comprised Kim Kum Pyoung, director Sanjeev Bhargava, dancer Aleksandra Michelska Singh and Sangwon Donald Kwag. Meanwhile, South Koran rapper Psy's "Gangnam Style" video was tagged as YouTube's most-viewed with over 1.5 billion views, and his new single, "Gentleman" has more than 300 million views. The singer is now reportedly working on a new video.