A simple story of friendship that will inspire to never stop chasing your dreams!
“Navillera” not only sounds beautiful but also denotes something fascinating. It originated from old Korean literature; meaning something like a butterfly, that is ready to fly! Navillera Kdrama is a 2021 Netflix Korean drama series that recently completeled its successful 12 episode run.
Based on the webtoon of the same name, Navillera Kdrama is a story of an uncommon friendship between a 70 year old retired mailman, played by the veteran actor Park In hwan and a 23 year ballet dancer, played by the handsome Song Kang.
Shim Deok chul (Park In hwan) accidentally happens to watch Lee Chae rok (Song Kang) practise ballet in his studio. He is stunned by his performance. Shim Deok chul then gets inspired to try his chance at pursuing his lifelong dream of learning ballet! He approaches Chae rok’s dance studio and to his pleasant surprise is assigned as Chae rok‘s student!
Chae rok is at a slump in his life, due to the recent death of his mother and father being in prison. Shim Deok as his student only seems to adds to his misery.
They say friendship and love happens at the most unexpected situations! The same is the case with our two protagonists. It is not before long that Shim Deok chul and Chae rok ‘s relationship improves and they become an affectionate tutor and student.
Everthing seems to go well, until one day Chae rok discovers that Shim Deok is suffering from a deteriorating Alzheimer’s disease condition. Further, he has not shared this with anyone, including his wife.
How does Chae rok react? Does he confront his student Shim Deok and advise him to stop pursuing ballet? Or, does he approach Shim Deok‘s family instead? This will of course mean Shim Deok might not be allowed to pursue ballet. How does Shim Deok react when his secret is out? Is he too embarrased or will he fight to finish his dream? This is the plot of the 12 episode run of Navillera Korean drama.
Navillera Korean drama Review:
Here’s 5 reasons why you should watch Navillera Kdrama :
1. The theme of this Kdrama is inspiring! We see a 70 year old Shim Deok, do everything he can just to get one chance where he can learn ballet. When most 70 year olds, literally retire from life, our protagonist wants to start afresh! Then, there is the 23 year old Chae rok, who has practised football for 12 years under his father’s guidance but was never happy doing it. He is attracted to try ballet and he surprises himself, at his hidden talent for it. Bottom line – no matter how old you are, you should pursue what makes your heart happy!
2. The lead characters and their characterization is picture perfect! Park In hwan as Shim Deok is the cheerful and determined 70 year old. He has only one thing in his mind- ballet. And does not bother when his wife and children do not support him initially. He knows he needs to do this before his Alzheimer’s spread any further. He refused to grow old!
You will grow fond of Shim Deok, by the end of the series. He is positive and spreads positive energy to all who come in contact with him. Does not complain about his tough life, but is proud that he bore it all and survived it. Also he knows he is an ordinary person, but wants to do something extraordinary before he misses his chance.
Song Kang as Chae rok bears the brunt of his father’s wrong doings from his former football mates. He is alone and is in a slump, but does not once think of shunning ballet. You will empathise with this 23 year old.
Song Kang emotes all emotions vey well – he cries when angry and acts cold and aloof because he feels alone. He misses his mother and wishes his father was around. When he finally smiles, because he found his muse at the dance stage, it could not be more genuine!
3. The friendship between the two leads is unique and vey heart warming. The older Shim Deok knows Chae rok is alone and looks out for him. He does not probe or ask uncomfortable questions about Chae rok‘s personal life. Just supports him in his own way. He gives him practical advice & leaves him at that.
Chae rok on the other hand takes care of him, like his own grandfather. He does not tell Shim Deok that he knows about his ailment. His gestures are cute and kind. For instance, he often drops off Shim Deok in his house in the pretext of desiring to eat home food at his place. Shim Deok ‘s health detiorates even further and begins to forget all the ballet steps before the big dance show. Only Chae rok, gives him confidence and promises to cover up for him on stage, in their joint performance.
4. Ballet is a very formal dance art form that originated in the 15th century in France and Russia. This Korean drama series does a good attempt at bringing this art form to the common viewer. Even viewers who are not very familiar with dance and formal arts, get an opportunity to appreciate Ballet.
5. The Support cast plays an equally important in most Korean drama. Navillera Kdrama boasts of some interesting support characters who will stay in your memory even after you finish watching the drama.
Shim Deok’s wife named Choi Hae nam is played by the adept Na Moon-hee. You will believe that Choi Hae nam is a normal mother and wife, when she initially opposes the idea of ballet. You might even find her rude. But once she is sure that Shim Deok‘s dream is to do ballet, she becomes his pillar of support. She is almost the last one to find out about Shim Deok‘s illness;but she waits patiently for him to open up on his own. Everyone including Shim Deok is worring about how Choi Hae nam will take care of him once he loses his memory due to Alzheimer’s condition. Choi Hae nam empathises with him and takes care of him with a composed mind. It is so comforting to watch her interact with the sick Shim Deok, towards the end of the drama.
The second interesting character is Shim Deok’s last son. He is a doctor who is on a temporary break. But he is unsure of himeslf as a surgeon after he loses a patient on the operating table. And he wants to do a documentary on the patients he would have lost.
He is definitely an usual character, who attaches so much sentiment to his profession. He is the first person to support Shim Deok’s decision to pursue Ballet, when the entire family opposed it. When he finds out about Shim Deok’s health condition, he again moves in with his father under the pretext of doing a documentary on his Ballet practise and takes care of him. He does not once ask him about his conditon; only cries secretly that his dear father might not remember him in the future.
The last character is Chae rok’s mentor and coach played by Kim Tae hoon. He sees a younger version of himself in Chae rok and takes him in as his student. Chae rok starts ballet at a late stage compared to most ballet students who start at childhood. He is strict with Chae rok and takes care of him as a father, discipling him in his own way. The interaction between Chae rok and him seems like a perfect father and teenager.
Fun Facts :
Both Song Kang and Park In hwan are supposed to have learnt formal Ballet for 6 months prior to the start of Production of this Kdrama.
However,the choreographers, had to use body double for both the actors for a few Ballet centric scenes in the Kdrama. This is Song Kang‘s third Korean drama as the main lead after Love Alarm and Sweet Home. Coincidentally, this Kdrama is also based on a webtoon.
Seo In-guk did a cameo in the 9th episode as a Ballet star. It was a delight for fans to watch after a long time on the small screen.
The music is melodious. There are 3 songs that simply sync with the spirit of the drama-
“My Day” , “Butterfly” and “Heal You”. You can listen to it on Spotify here:
Romance in Navillera Kdrama :
This is no romance in this Kdrama. But there are small stories of friendship and affection in this Kdrama, that will warm your heart. You will not miss the romance factor in this Korean drama
Juskorea rating : 4.5/5
Watch Navillera on Netflix.