Soul to Seoul: The Dreams of a Desi K-pop Star

Pop Culture

Soul to Seoul: The Dreams of a Desi K-pop Star


hen the Korean Cultural Centre organised its first K-pop talent hunt in New Delhi in 2012, two handmade signboards placed on the small stage of the Jawaharlal Nehru University auditorium announced the event. Among the handful of people who showed up, there was a young fangirl from Mumbai’s Kandivali suburb. Nikita Harnami travelled all the way to Delhi after preparing her performance of “Lionheart” in earnest for weeks. She had seen the video on YouTube a couple of hundred times, crooned in front of the mirror, memorised the Korean lyrics by rote before she boarded the train, with her father in tow. The sparse display that greeted her at JNU was far removed from the glitzy performances which had lured her into this world, but Nikita refused to be fazed. She got on stage with a hammering heart and with a crowd made up of not more than a few other contestants and their families. Nikita performed the K-pop track “Lionheart”, just as she’d learnt from the YouTube video.

Her journey as a desi K-pop aspirant had begun.