Malaysia’s “Autumn di Hatiku” banks on k-drama gimmick

It was bound to happen. K-dramas (and all things hallyu) have been popular in Malaysia for eons that I’m surprised it didn’t happen sooner. Or maybe it has and I’ve just been under a rock since I don’t watch local tv much.

Autumn di Hatiku (or Autumn in My Heart in Malay) is an original web series that debuted this week on Malaysian video streaming site TontonAnd no, it is not a remake of the hallowed 2000 melo. It’s more of a reference to the series’ context of a k-pop obsessive’s romantic shenanigans. I’m keeping expectations low, but it is directed by a well-known independent filmmakers Woo Ming Jin and Edmund Yeo so I’m hoping that should count for something.  If the title is anything to by, I’m expecting liberal sprinklings of our favourite k-drama cliches and set-ups, done with a gentle wink-wink-nudge-nudge and a low low budget.

I’ve seen four episodes, each lasting 4 to 5 minutes each (including credits!) so it wouldn’t be fair to pass judgement on 20 minutes of film. But here’s the set-up. There’s the heroine Nina (Hanez Suraya) who works in a cafe and dreams in Korean. Her love interest: a Korean hottie (Korean model Kim Jin Sung), the literal man of her dreams who’s name is Park Au Tumn (cringe). Completing the love triangle is Zidick (Aiman Hakim Ridza) who is roped in to help snag the k-hottie. There’s supporting cast of best friend and an oddball landlord who’ll probably provide a shoulder to cry on and comic relief respectively.

None of this is remotely interesting. What is however, is the novelty of it all. And from the knowing nods to k-drama (there’s gender-bender tactic ala Coffee Prince), casting of an actual Korean hottie alongside young Malaysian heartthrob Aiman Hakim Ridza, to savvy marketing and its online platform, its obvious that the production is banking on local k-drama fans buying into the gimmick.

I’ll probably marathon this once the 28 episodes are done and will see if the gimmick holds up. Right now, watching 5 minutes of drama is pretty pointless since it views like a long story chopped into 5 minute clips.  View the trailer here:

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17 thoughts on “Malaysia’s “Autumn di Hatiku” banks on k-drama gimmick

  1. Too bad this project doesn’t live up to its premise—it could be an incredible amount of fun to watch an international send-up of K-obsession. I still hope it gets subbed in English someday so I can watch.

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    • @Amanda, yes it could! My fingers are crossed. It has some things going for it at the moment though, but I hv a feeling its being treated as an experiment. We’ll see 🙂

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  2. I’m from Buletinkpop. Well, according to the directors and the brand mgr for this. They rather have authentic Korean actor than take a local star for this. Yeah, this is kinda experiment and the production staff don’t have any expectations at all. But I love the camera works.

    Agree with what u said. I also will watch it when it finish. I tried to watch the first few but failed coz of want to pinpoint the posters, idols stuff and everything. Hurmmm. maybe i can ask the team about whether they can sub it to all English. since it available for global.

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    • Ya i hope the experiment berjaya! then it may open the way for more efforts in the future. & yes, footage from the trailer does show nice cinematography mcm indie films pulak :). Subs in English & uploading it to one long mini-serial is my recommendation!

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  3. Hi! I stumbled on your blog and my eyes were drawn to this post like right away… This is awesome! Is it any good? In what language is this drama? Mix of English, Chinese and Malay? I’m really intrigued ^^

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    • It’s in Malay! Even the Korean actor says his lines in Malay (apparently he learned it in university!). Am gonna marathon this once its over. Right now its too annoying to watch epis that are only 5 mins long. Its like getting crumbs instead of the main meal. Happy you stumbled over 😉

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      • Yeah I think you can, just register. It’s free. Although I’m sure some enterprising people have made it more accessible already if you know what I mean. You’re welcome!

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  4. Thank you for the taking the time to write about this. Autumn Di Hatiku was indeed conceived as one long story chopped into bits. Due to the fact that Ming Jin and I weren’t exactly used to this storytelling format (having been more used to doing feature-length films or short films with self-contained stories, serialization, admittedly, is not our forte), the whole thing was indeed an experiment, and whatever shortcomings we experienced in this season (Episode 28 came out two days ago), we hope we would make amends in the near future.

    Cheers,
    Edmund Yeo (the other Autumn Di Hatiku director and writer)

    P.S. Yes, we giggled at the sheer silliness of having a guy named Park Au Tum, we weren’t sure whether we were being witty, or just crazy.

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    • Hi Edmund, thanks for taking the time to shed light on the background to this. It’s not often we get to hear from writer/directors so this is a treat! I’m sorry I didn’t credit you in the post (shame on me). I’ve since corrected it. I’m looking forward to watching it now that it’s done and chiming in with my thoughts, and I hope you remain open to answering any questions I’ll probably have when that happens too ;)? I hope you enjoyed working in this medium since it has such great potential. As an aside, I was thinking why didn’t Samsung just give you guys the money to make your show instead of giving it to Leo Burnett to make their ad-dressed-up-as-k-drama?!

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      • Sure, just leave me a note on my blog or something, in case I miss your updates. Will be more than happy to answer questions.

        Working for the internet is fun, I actually am releasing a short film (it’s part of a horror omnibus called “3 Doors of Horrors”) on Youtube two weeks from now. But that one is more a self-contained story instead of a serialized one. I’m sure if we get to continue doing any web series, we will learn from previous mistakes.

        As for Wind Chimes In A Bakery, being a project of such colossal budget, I guess it’s safer and convenient for them to work with someone more established like Leo Burnett. 🙂 We were quite surprised that Tonton were willing to work with us when we were known more for making independent and arthouse stuff, haha.

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      • For Samsung, it seems to me that it would’ve been a win-win i.e. you’d have a bigger budget and they would’ve gotten more mileage. And congrats by the way, Autumn is the most watched show on Tonton I believe?

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  5. For such a commercial project, I don’t think they would get any additional mileage working with filmmakers like us. We might be more active at foreign film festivals and are arguably better known overseas, but these things don’t really matter for projects like this unless we are world-class arthouse filmmakers like Wong Kar Wai, Park Chan Wook etc. 😀 So we have more to gain if they have worked with us, but for Samsung, it wouldn’t made any difference, especially since they are utilizing Youtube for their show.

    But thanks. it was indeed rather popular 😀

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