It’s official; most of the city’s youth has been bitten by the BTS bug. How else can one explain a group of girls dancing to tracks by the South Korean boy band out of the blue at Mall Of Travancore, with an equally large all-girls audience cheering them on?
Zarin K Nishat and Wafa Mol Kahar of Jawahar Public School have all seven names and the spellings of the members of BTS on their finger tips, while Sushnita Sankar and Bhagyasri LB of School of the Good Shepherd know their albums and songs by heart.
And although these girls aren’t familiar with the language, with accurate English translations for K-Pop tracks available on the Internet, “it’s no problem. Besides, some of the lines are in English, so you know the essence of the song,” says Gowri Jeothis, a student at Government Arts College.
- BTS, also known as Bangtan Boys, is a K-Pop group consisting of seven members
- The band members are Kim Namjoon (RM), Kim Seokjin (Jin), Min Yoongi (Suga), Jung Hoseok (J-Hope), Park Jimin (Jimin), Kim Taehyung (V), Jeon Jungkook (Jungkook)
The girls are all part of BTS’ fanbase — ARMY (Adorable Representatives of MC Youth). “People think we like them for their looks, but that isn’t true. They inspire us,” claims Aminath Shahana, a student of Airwing Academy.
According to Shahana, she was battling depression when she first heard of BTS. Curious about the group and their music, she Googled them. “I also checked out the lyrics of their songs. That’s when I discovered ‘Never Mind’, which talks about ignoring the naysayers and not giving up. It gave me the push I needed to move on.”
Software engineer Sai Krishna G too finds BTS’ songs motivational. “The group is not afraid to tackle social issues and sing about it. Their songs deal with mental health issues, pressure on youth, women empowerment…” says Sai, who got hooked to the band through the song ‘Blood, Sweat and Tears’.
Downloading the app ARMY Amino International, Sai was soon connected to fans from across the world. She met Hasna Hamsa from Adimali, who runs Crazy Kerala, one of the several WhatsApp groups dedicated to ARMY members in Kerala, through the Amino app. “I am also a member of BTS Kerala ARMY, which is under Bangtan India, an all-India fans association for BTS,” says Sai.
BTS Kerala ARMY has over a thousand members from across Kerala and from different age groups and walks of life. The group has children as young as 10 to those in their 80s. “And it’s not just girls who adore BTS, there is an equal number of boys who are die-hard BTS fans,” says homemaker Shruthi Solomon, who adds that her three-year-old daughter, Aadheya, is a huge fan. “She knows the lyrics to most of their songs and loves dancing to their tunes.”
- BTS Kerala AMRY’s screening of the concert movie Burn The Stage at a multiplex in Thrissur was sold out. It prompted the theatre, that was initially reluctant to hold even one show, to hold two more shows.
- As most fans have a favourite in the group, they often take up the name of their favourite band member. For instance, Shruthi, who is a fan of Jeon Jungkook is known as Jungkook. “Members of the city’s BTS Kerala ARMY have my name saved as Jungkookie,” she laughs.
Apart from meaningful songs, what draws people to the band is it’s fresh sound and nearly flawless choreography. “I’m inspired by how these boys work hard to reach the top and stay there,” says Heba SM, a student of School of the Good Shepherd.
The flash mob held by the girls at Mall of Travancore was part of the ARMY members in the city’s observation of the band turning six. “It’s our way of showing our love to BTS. The Kochi members of our BTS Kerala ARMY will be holding a similar flash mob on June 8,” says Shahana.