Saturday, September 12, 2015

Boys Over Flowers - 2009

 Geum Jan-Di (Ky Hye Sun) is not very well off.  Her parents run a Dry Cleaning Store.  She helps them with deliveries.  She also works at a porridge shop and goes to an ordinary school.  

One fine day, she goes on her bicycle to deliver a dry cleaning to the famous Shinwa School where the creme de la creme of Seoul study.  She is amazed to learn that her client Lee Min Ha is on the verge of flinging himself off the roof of Shinwa School.  She tries to talk him out of jumping off the building.  When all else fails, she leaps up to grab him when he jumps.

This incident brings Geum Jan-Di instant fame.  She is plagued by paparazzi and featured in magazines and on television.  This puts pressure on the Chairman of Shinwa Group to reward her as the student's attempted suicide has been attracting bad press for School.  As a reward, Geum Jan-Di is awarded a scholarship to attend this top notch, pricey school.

Chairman, Shinwa Group
Before leaping, Lee had told her about the dreaded F4.  Any student who falls foul of this group has to suffer untold misery and often leave school.  After joining the school, Geum Jan-Di finds herself facing the F4.

Gu Jun Pyo (Lee Min Ho) is the leader of this dreaded group.  He is a scion of the famous Shinwa family.  He is the richest man in Korea. He is spoilt beyond words, selfish and completely insensitive to others.  
Gu Jun Pyo

Yoon Ji Ho (Kim Hyn Jung) is the second most influential member of the group.  He is artistically inclined, plays violin and is madly in love with Min Seo-hyun (Han Chae Young) a famous model and his childhood friend. 
Yoon Ji Ho
Min Seo Hun
So Yi-jung (Kim Bum) is a skilled potter and is extremely rich as well.  Song Woo-bin (Kim Joon) is the fourth member of the group.  His family owns a large construction company and has links with the mafia.

So Yi Jung and Soo Woo Bin

Geum Jan Di

Geum Jan-Di falls for Yoon Ji Ho initially.  She finds him sensitive and caring.  But he is deeply involved with his girlfriend so Geum Jan-Di draws back.  She values his friendship and he bails her out of several difficult situations and eventually falls in love with her.

Gu Jun Pyo

It is Gu Jun Pyo that Geum Jan-Di has her spats with.  His arrogance rubs her up the wrong way and she usually lashes out at him, unafraid of the repercussions.  During one such face-off, Gu Jun-Pyo decides that Jan-Di is particularly fiery with him because she is actually in love with him, deep down. 

This leads to a lot of mirth amongst his friends who egg him on because they enjoy watching these spats between Jun-Pyo and Jan-Di.  Gu Jun Pyo tries to make Geum Jan Di confess her love for him.  In the process, he falls for her.

Geum Jan Di confused by Jun Pyo's soft side
 Geum Jan Di is confused by the softer side of Gu Jun Pyo and is not certain if she can love him.  Gu Jun Pyo tries to integrate into her world by hanging out with her family and going on double dates with Geum Jan Di and her best friend Ga Eul (Kim So-Eun).  He even takes her off on a group holiday with Ga Eul and his friends. 

 One day Gu Jun Pyo waits for her despite bitter cold and snow.  This impresses Geum Jan Di and she begins to fall in love with him too.

 The path of their love is not easy.  Gu Jun Pyo's mother is an influential woman and can do anything to prevent her son from forming and undesirable alliance with an ordinary girl.

Most times the series see-saws between a rift between the two and then, at times, sweet and romantic encounters.

As time passes, Gu Jun Pyo finds himself changing for the woman he loves.  Geum Jan-Di also becomes mellower and begins to value Gu Jun Pyo for his constancy, his will to better himself, and his loyalty towards his friends.

Ga Eul
In a sweet little sub-plot, So Yi-Jung falls for Ga Eul and mends his playboy ways to win her over.

There are a lot of people who try to cause a rift between Gu Jun Pyo and Geum Jan Di.  Most notably, his family tries to fix his wedding with the daughter of another influential Korean business family.

Through all her trials and tribulations, Geum Jan-Di relies more and more on the advice and support of Yoon Ji Ho.  He falls in love with her, but stays in the sidelines, mindful of his friendship with Gu Jun Pyo. There are many times that he could have turned Geum Jan-Di from Gu Jun Pyo and towards himself.  But he plays a selfless lover and friend and always assists Jan-Di and Jun Pyo.

Yoon Ji Ho
The series has 24 episodes of one hour each.  It is very light hearted initially.  It becomes a little more serious later.  I found it a little tedious as the end neared.  But it picked up its pace again and chugged off to a good finale.

This is one of the most popular K-Dramas that contributed to a worldwide Halayu.  It popularised the term 'metrosexual' for men who groomed themselves meticulously.

Initially, I felt that the series seemed to promote a consumerist culture.  But soon, it settled down to promote good values like hard work, sensitivity towards fellow humans, love and friendship.

All the actors have put in great performances.  It is lavishly mounted and well produced.  Ky Hye Sun as Geum Jan Di totally owns the series.  She is cute and fiery and brings the lead character to life with her bravura acting.  This is the series that established Lee Min Ho as the leader of Halayu.  He became a rage and a heart-throb of countless fans across Asia.