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 Tonton. And 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: