On April 9, 2022, the EXO 10th Anniversary Celebration Event was held at Green Sky Cafe in Delhi, India, and was hosted by Hallyuism. We also spoke with fans and organizers to learn more about their experiences. EXO, a well-known Korean pop group, debuted with their first single, Mama, on April 8, 2012.
The group continued to make high-quality music from XOXO to Don't Fight the Feeling and became an inspiration to many artists. With their heartfelt yet powerful voice, the vocal powerhouses can go from Don't Mess Up My Tempo to Baby, Don't Cry. On the occasion of EXO's tenth anniversary, members of the group shared their thoughts on their journey and appreciated fans for always staying with them.
Indian EXO-Ls also celebrated the EXO 10th Anniversary to honor the accomplishments of their favorite group. The fans have supported EXO through their music and presence, even in the most difficult times of their lives. Several Indian fans attended the event at Green Sky Cafe, India's first K-pop-themed cafe, which brought together a large number of Indian fans from various cities.
Everyone marked the occasion by sharing their stories about discovering Hallyu and becoming EXO fans. After that, there was an EXO-themed quiz game with prizes such as the group's merchandise and freebies.
Cake cutting, jamming to the group's hits, including Eve and Love Me Right, and, of course, eating Korean food, including spicy Tteokbokki, were all part of the celebrations. The group's photocards were also given to fans, and the fans were delighted to share memorable moments with many Indian EXO-Ls.
A look at EXO 10th Anniversary Fan Event in India
Prerna Tiwari, the event's host and also the Official Promoter of Korean Culture in India, first asked everyone to share how they got into Hallyu and became an EXO-L, which was a very exciting part of the event. Fans shared their astounding and even humorous K-pop and group-related memories. Most of the fans were swept away by Korean waves through K-dramas, which was interesting to know.
Many people mentioned that they first listened to a Korean OST mostly by Chen, Chanyeol, or Baekhyun. They then began to listen to the group. EXO is undeniably a vocal powerhouse and the king of OSTs.
The event accompanied an EXO-themed QUIZ, during which many tricky questions were asked, such as what UNICEF project the group was a part of. Indian fans were able to answer all of the difficult questions, and some of them even won SM Entertainment’s EXO official photocards.
For all fans, the cake cutting section was perhaps the most memorable, as they celebrated their idol's ten years of hard work with a cake that featured a stunning EXO logo and a group photo. Everyone said Happy Birthday EXO in the Korean language while cake cutting as the legendary group was born on the day ten years ago:
“생일 축하합니다 EXO!”
Following that, fans were treated to Korean cuisine, including spicy Tteokbokki. They also started jamming while they were eating. One of the most iconic scenes occurred when the group's song Love Me Right began to play, and everyone began clapping in the song's famous clap section.
It was so well-choreographed that it almost appeared as if they had practiced it before, which demonstrated their love and loyalty to the group. Fans also received freebies such as group-related photocards. Fans were ecstatic, as for most, it was their first K-pop event, demonstrating how well Hallyuism and Green Sky Cafe organized the event in Delhi.
“When it's EXO and EXO-Ls, no matter how many hours you spend, they would appear less”: Fans were thrilled to attend the EXO 10th Anniversary celebration in India
We interviewed some fans to learn about their experience in the EXO 10th Anniversary celebration and their thoughts on the Hallyu wave spreading in India rapidly.
An Indian EXO-L, Aakriti, said:
“Definitely, one of the best experiences I've ever had. I was initially skeptical about attending the event as I've never been to one, but decided to attend and see how things work. Attending the event was the right choice I made, else I would've missed all the fun and interactions. Thanks to EXO, I got an extended family and met amazing people. I am looking forward to having more such experiences!!”
Riya Choudhary, an Indian fan and also a team member and writer at Hallyuism, shared:
“It was fun attending the EXO event and meeting the EXOLs living around me. We had a great time enjoying this event, listening to the group's songs, and tasting the Korean food. Thank you to Hallyuism and the Korean Culture India Fanclub for organizing this event. It was really memorable to attend the event.”
We also asked how her experience of spreading the Korean wave in India through Hallyuism and the Korea net has been so far? She shared:
“I'm having an amazing experience spreading Korean culture in India while working with Hallyuism & Korea net. My affection and respect for Korean Culture led me there and I'm having a knowledge-filled time there. It is lovely to share my insights with others and I'm learning new things from others. Also, I met a lot of people who share the same passion for Korea, meeting them is one of the best gifts this journey gave me. Korea and its culture give me happiness, peace, and love in different ways. I hope to continue this for a long time with more insightful experiences.”
Another fan, Nikhat Parveen, said:
“On April 9, 2022, I attended the group's Anniversary Event organized by Hallyuism. It was my first K-pop event and I literally loved it. As I'm into multifandom, I have many things in common with the attendees there. It was beautiful, even the ambiance of Greensky cafe. I got to know many EXO-Ls and their stories about how they ended up into K-pop and started listening to the group. We ate, listened to the group's music, and danced a little, overall that event really made me happy. It was a great experience.”
We also asked Nikhat Parveen what she thinks of K-pop spreading in India? She shared:
“I'm into K-pop like when people (majority) weren't even aware that the country South Korea has their own genre of music namely K-pop. Back in 2015 and 2016, there weren't any group chats for fandoms, no interaction among fans, and not many resources either. But now K-pop is rapidly spreading in India, Majorly due to the pandemic the no. of K-pop listeners increased."
"It's a good sign that the youth of India are amicably accepting eastern music like we accept western music and sprinkle their essence in our own Bollywood songs. But there is also a con. As listeners are increasingly, calling it the means of TREND, fans (recent one or younger gen of fans) aren't very amicably accepting other K-pop artists in the industry."
"To justify that their particular stanned group is great, people are ready to degrade other artists' hard work. Back in time, there were hardly any fan wars over no. Views, Daesangs, and so much more. But if you ask me precisely what I liked about it is that people are now aware that there is a genre of music called K-pop and India 'has' fans of K-pop.”
Another fan, Kavita Mishra, shared:
"It was my first time attending a K-pop event. Earlier I was nervous about how I was going to talk to everyone but it was so wonderful that I instantly wanted to talk to everyone. It was a nice and wholesome experience."
Another fan, Hamsaindi Maibangsa (Forever EXO-L), shared:
“09/04/22, One of the best days for me, I always wanted to interact and meet with other EXO-Ls and talk about EXO non-stop. Which indeed happened and I couldn't be happier. Although I missed a few moments that day, I’m glad I went and will always be looking forward to more.”
A fan Sanshia shared:
“Getting to meet my Co EXO-Ls was like a dream come true because finding a real-life EXO-L is like finding D.O.'s SNS IDs which are rare but precious. The event was organized quite diligently. We introduced ourselves and how we met the group, played an amazing quiz and had food. It was truly a breath of fresh air experience, the only thing I would say was not up to the mark was the time limit but again, when it's EXO and EXO-Ls, no matter how many hours you spend, they would appear less.”
Fans were delighted to experience the group's anniversary event.
Prerna Tiwari, the Official Promoter of Korean Culture in India, talks about her experience organizing a prestigious EXO event and her mission to spread the Hallyu wave in India
We interviewed the organizer and host of the event, Prerna Tiwari. She is the founder of Hallyuism and the Korean Culture India Fan Club, as well as a supporter of the Korean Cultural Centre, India. Since 2015, she has served as the official promoter of Korean culture in the region. For years, she has been actively promoting Hallyu in India. On Instagram, her Korean culture India Fanclub has around 18,500 followers.
She has been in charge of setting up regional groups as well as organizing and helping to promote K-pop contests, festivals, concerts, and fan club events. She and her co-admin, Ms. Jagriti Garg, are also the admins of a content-related website called Hallyuism, which puts together fans who want to showcase their Korean-related experiences.
Prerna Tiwari began spreading Hallyu to India progressively. She has also promoted the hit South Korean drama Descendants of the Sun in India, which was the first Korean drama to air on Indian television and received a huge audience response.
A K-conversation with the organizer, and Korean culture Promoter, Prerna Tiwari
Q) When did you start your journey to Hallyu?
Prerna: I started my journey with the Korean drama, Boys Over Flowers, in 2014. From there, I came to know about K-pop and Korean Culture, so I started exploring more Korean Culture content and also started helping Korean Culture Centre India with festivals, music, and dance competitions. It has been 7 years since 2015 and it feels like yesterday only that we started a group of 8 people in Delhi and now we are in the thousands.
Q) How was your experience so far-spreading Korean culture in India?
Prerna: It’s been a wonderful experience. I have learned a lot. I have always received full support from KCCI, and the staff has guided and helped me. They have welcomed new ideas and have implemented them. The same goes for the fans and my co-admin, Ms. Jagriti Garg, who has been there through thick and thin. And not to forget my family, who have been a pillar of strength.
There are times when I have to rush to work, and my family has always helped me. Since the start of our website Hallyuism, my team of writers, contributors, and editors has been a source of strength. Ms. Jasmine Khan is a pillar of my strength in this journey of Hallyuism.
Q) What does EXO mean to you as a group?
Prerna: They are the third group I came to know after I discovered SS501 and Shinee in 2014. The group brings back many memories of the years 2014 and 2015. For me, the group is a bunch of talented boys who are always energetic and give power pack performances. Though they have been in the industry for a decade now, you always look at their songs, you always feel that a new group has just come out in Korean Industry and bam, their song tops the chart the next moment.
Q) Lay Zhang has just left SM Entertainment, what do you think about that?
Prerna: It was a bit disheartening to hear the news of Lay leaving SM Entertainment, but I respect his and the company’s decision. Other than being an artist, he is also a human being and we as fans should always try to understand their decision. I will continue to support Lay, as a member of EXO and I wish him good luck in his future endeavors.
Q) Do you think there could be an EXO concert very soon in India?
Prerna: The group will be the next big thing in India if they turn up for the concert and fans will be super excited to see them. Right now, I don’t have the answer to this question, but in the next five years, we will surely have the group's concert here in India, as you never know, India could be the next hub for Korean Culture Events, and soon be trending on social media handles.
Q) When did you become an EXO-L?
Prerna: It was in 2014 when I discovered the song Growl and from that point in time, I never looked back. They are a group of talented artists and I just love their choreography. No matter how many times I listen to their songs in one day, I just can’t get enough of the fact that these young boys are singers, actors, rappers and such great dancers.
Q) Could you share a memorable moment related to the group?
Prerna: The group is one of the most special groups that I will remember forever as I came to know about them in my initial days of discovering K-pop. For me, the group is like a dancing machine, with perfect attitude, crisp moves, mind-blowing expressions, and top-class choreography. I still remember the first time I saw the song Growl and was deeply into the dance moves.
The video started and I saw six members dancing, then the camera moved and I saw six members dancing again, not realizing the fact that these were the other six members from the previous ones as I was watching dance moves and was not engrossed in their facial expressions.
I thought the camera just took one round and came back to its original position, but soon to my realization, after 2 minutes, I came to know that they have 12 members. I stopped the video and started counting, then started the video from the beginning again, and then saw their faces. To me, this video is by far one of the best-choreographed videos in K-pop with such intelligent choreography.
Q) You have been doing a wonderful job in India and I'm sure the journey must have been hard considering how less exposure India had to the Korean wave. Do you think there are chances of more K-pop concerts in India and where do you see the Korean wave in the near future?
Prerna: Back in 2014, there were hardly 90-100 people who used to turn up for K-pop contests that were held in Delhi, but now looking at the statistics, even big auditoriums like Siri Fort, which has a seating capacity of 2000, seem very low.
Fans are increasing day by day and their urge to see more K-pop groups in India is also increasing, but as far as the purchasing power of fans is considered, still, 5 years will take into account for fans to finally start paying for the tickets from their own pockets because we have very young fans who are still in schools and colleges.
It will still take 5 years for them to come to the level of being financially strong and then enjoy the events as per their wish.
Q) Who is your bias in EXO?
Prerna: Although I love all the members and I admire them for their talent and hard work, in the group, I do have a soft corner for Xiumin. He is my bias in the group. My wish is to meet him in person one day and thank him for all his hard work and for contributing his work to the Korean Entertainment and Arts Industry.
Q) Which other K-pop groups do you stan?
Prerna: I am more of a song lover than a group lover, basically I am into multi-fandom, like I listen to songs of BLACKPINK, BTS, EXO, SS501, SHINee, TWICE, BIGBANG, 2NE1, (G)I-DLE, etc. For me, being an active volunteer and supporter of K-pop is not just being into one group or one genre but actively supporting Korean Culture as a whole.
Q) What was the hardest part about organizing this event?
Prerna: For me, organizing an event is more of a fun event rather than taking it as a burden. I have always loved doing this for the fans and will continue to do so in the future. The smile that you see on the faces of the fans during or after the event is priceless. As a supporter of KCCI and as the founder of the Korean Culture India Fan Club and Hallyuism, as a team, we work for that smile and happiness that we get to see on those faces!
The group's 10th Anniversary celebration event in India concluded with fans saying:
“We Are One EXO saranghaja!”
The event has given fans a lot of memories to cherish as fans expressed their love for the group and took tons of photos and videos of the moment.
The group's fandom is one of the strongest K-pop fandoms that have faced many hardships in the past and stayed strong with the group. The Tempo artists currently have a large fan base in India, and fans are hoping that the group will include India in their upcoming tour. A few K-pop concerts, including KARD's, have previously taken place in India.
Fans are excited to see more K-pop events in the future. With the Korean wave spreading across India, plenty of K-pop-themed cafes have sprouted, with fan events providing a steady stream of revenue. Previously, events that took place included the Stray Kids event in Mumbai, Cha Eun-woo event, BTS' J-Hope birthday event, and others.
The Korean wave seems to be influencing the pop culture transition in India as a result of the rising popularity of K-pop and K-drama, and fans are always looking for such events to attend and experience Korean culture in India.
Did you also attend a K-pop event? Share your story in the comments section below.
Q. Have you attended any K-pop event?