New Delhi: The 1960s will be best remembered as the decade of revolution and a change in the established order.

The latest Korean drama Uncle Samsik (Sam Sik translated as Three Meals) stars Parasite star Song Kang Ho and Byun  Ho Yan and explores a turbulent time in the country’s history.

As South Korea recovered from the ravages of war, its sluggish economic growth, political corruption and turmoil, and dependency on aid from the United States, it was also on the cusp of dramatic change.

Kim San( Byun Yo Han) is part of the Reconstruction Bureau and has envisaged a five-year plan for the country’s recovery. He is ambitious and idealistic, as he in a passionate speech narrates how in America, as a struggling student, he lived above a pizzeria and survived on pizza.

Pizza was the magic word, as his own country dependent on aid from the United States, was dealing with unemployment and starvation. Kim San is transferred to the Audit Bureau, since the Minister in charge who is aiming for the Presidential elections, regards the young man’s fervour as the impractical nonsense of the young.

Kim San though resilient in his pursuits meets Pak Doochill ( Song Kang Ho) a fixer and a sort of social chameleon, who is nicknamed Uncle Samsik/ Uncle Three Meals, since his team even in impoverished times manages its three meals.

Uncle Samsik wants to align with Kim San, whose optimism intrigued him. He tells him they both share a similar vision, which is to help their country stand up on its feet. However, Pak Doochill is a ruthless charmer and can go to any lengths to achieve his goals. He has a caveat if Uncle Samsik does anything for anyone ( gangs, politicians or people at large) you need to return the favour. After all, there are no free lunches. While the idealistic Kim  San whose ideas and his relationship with a communist leader’s daughter has made him a target of the ruling party.

The two form an uneasy alliance, since at the end of the day whatever their means, their end goal is the same, to change the fortunes of their country.

Uncle Samsik starts slow, but draws you in with its story, as these two unlikely men form an alliance and try to navigate the politics of their time.

Does Doochill see the fragments of his youth in Kim San? Though the show wastes no time in diving into the politics of the time, it can be a bit confusing to those not familiar with S Korean politics. But it is the dynamics between these two men, Uncle Samsik and Kim San which form the core of the plot.

Uncle Samsik is Song Kang Ho’s first TV show in his career spanning 35 years. He plays Uncle Samsik to perfection, a mysterious man with twinkling eyes, who can be a formidable foe if provoked. Byun Yo Han matches up holds his own, and gives a brilliant performance.

The onscreen dynamics between Song Kang   Ho and Byun Yo Han are further accentuated by the actors, who get the beats of their characters. 

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