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‘Squid Game’: Netflix horror series features Pakistani character

Netflix series “Squid Game” from South Korea has gone viral across the world and online by morphing childhood games popular before the digital era such as “Red Light, Green Light” into deadly survival challenges.

According to BBC, Experts also attribute the show’s success to its characters, many of whom are marginalised members of society.

Though they are all linked by huge money troubles, they come from all walks of life.

“The lead, for example, is an unemployed man with a gambling problem who struggles to gain respect from his family. Through the game, he meets a young North Korean defector with a tragic background, and a Pakistani labourer Abdul Ali who is mistreated by his employer.”

Ali is played by Indian actor Anupam Tripathi who has amassed 2.5 million followers on Instagram within a few days.

Also read: Pakistan’s top actress praises South Korean dramas, says boys are ‘so hot’

The playground game where players stop and go at a tagger’s command is one of six kids games with fatal consequences depicted in the gory thriller named after a South Korean variation of tag played in the 1970s and 80s using a board drawn in the dirt. In the “Red Light, Green Light” episode, the show’s first, players are shot for failing to stand still at the red light call.

The Squid Game is the last one the 456 cash-strapped contestants on the show, ranging from a North Korean defector to a fund manager charged with embezzlement, must compete in for a prize of 45.6 billion won ($38.66 million).

The horror series has shot to popularity since premiering on Sept. 17, becoming the first Korean drama to snatch the top spot on Netflix in the United States. It could become its most popular show yet globally, the company’s Co-Chief Executive Ted Sarandos said on Monday.

“We did not see that coming, in terms of its global popularity,” he said.

South Korea, Asia’s fourth-largest economy, has established itself as a global entertainment hub with its vibrant pop-culture, including the seven-member boy band BTS and movies such as Oscar winners “Parasite,” a satire about class and society, and “Minari,” about a Korean immigrant family in the United States.

The fame of “Squid Game” has transferred to the so-called metaverse, or digital world where people move and communicate in virtual environments.

Thousands of global users have been playing “Red Light, Green Light” in several game rooms dubbed “Squid Game” on Roblox, a California-based maker of popular online video game platforms.

The rooms emulate several film sets and let users sign up for a “Red Light, Green Light” game.

On Twitter, the hashtags “SquidGame” and “RedLightGreenLight” were trending and reviews of the Roblox games have inundated YouTube and other social media.

Venues outside the virtual world are also capitalizing on the show’s popularity.

A Facebook post showed a mall in Quezon City in the Philippines had installed a 3-metre (10 ft) copy of the doll that calls out the commands in the “Red Light, Green Light” episode, which invites people to play across a crosswalk outside and win prizes.

Following the success of the nine-part series, season two of “Squid Game” is in the works, and Netflix has said it plans to invest $500 million on original movies and TV shows this year in South Korea, one Asia’s fastest growing markets.

South Korean Internet service provider SK Broadband has sued Netflix  to pay for costs from increased network traffic and maintenance work because of a surge of viewers to the U.S. firm’s content, an SK spokesperson said on Friday.

The move comes after a Seoul court said Netflix should “reasonably” give something in return to the internet service provider for network usage, and multiple South Korean lawmakers have spoken out against content providers who do not pay for network usage despite generating explosive traffic.

Netflix said it will review SK Broadband’s claim, and seek dialogue and explore ways in the meantime to work with SK Broadband to ensure customers are not affected.

The popularity of the hit series “Squid Game” and other offerings have underscored Netflix’s status as the country’s second-largest data traffic generator after Google’s YouTube, but the two are the only ones to not pay network usage fees, which other content providers such as Amazon, Apple and Facebook are paying, SK said.

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