A good lakorn has interesting plots and relatable characters. But a fantastic lakorn invokes profound emotions within the viewers, allowing the viewers to finish the lakorn with a deep meaning of life that stays with them. I was left learning and feeling more than when I started the lakorn, and Botan Gleep Sudtai(The Last Peony Petal) starring Aum Atichart and Aff Taksaorn did this very thing.
Set in the chaos of the world wars, two Chinese families immigrated to Thailand and settled in the Chinese neighborhood of Yaowaraj. Ah-Cheng’s family has three sons and theoretically should be very successful and lucky according to the Chinese way of thinking. However, Ah-Cheng is prejudiced against his youngest son Ah-Joo, because he was conceived during their tough period and proclaimed Ah-Joo his cursed son. In his minds eyes, everything Ah-Joo does is wrong. Ah-Cheng then openly favors his two oldest sons Ah-Jo and Ah-Jiw allowing them advantages and money over Ah-Joo. The family owned a “Khao Mun Gai” (Steamed chicken with rice) shop and because Ah-Cheng thinks that Ah-Joo is inferior in fortune and intelligence to his older brothers, Ah-Joo must do all of the work in the shop so he will have a way to earn his living. Fortunately, he finds an ally in a boy named Ah-Nai who came to live with them and they develop friendship and loyalty.
The secondary family is Ah-Chang’s family who has three daughters. He feels supremely unlucky and ill-fated to not be able to pass on his family name. He later adopted a boy named Ah-Long and the family opened a Chinese Opera House under the name of “Changsin” in which the entire family performs “ngiew.”
Despite his father’s cold and callous treatment, Ah-Joo loves and cares for his father to no end. The main conflict of the lakorn encompasses his relationship with his father. The premise of the story itself is around Ah-Joo who is passionate about the arts of language and writing. In order to pursue his dream of studying the faculty of arts, Ah-Nai encourages him to publish his written work so he can earn additional income. Ah-Joo soon secretly writes under the pen name “Sampao Thong” and slowly his short stories became a hit and he was requested to write a novel about “ngiew” which will be segmented chapter by chapter in a magazine. In order to learn the topic and find material for his novel, Ah-Joo seeks employment at the Changsin Opera House where he hides his identity and reason to work there. The dynamic lives of Ah-Chang’s family, his underappreciated daughters and the waning interest of ngiew inspired Ah-Joo to write a novel poetically entitled “Botan Gleep Sudtai” based on their lives. His desire to do his research and write his novel became a challenge when the youngest daughter Tanyong, whom he had a previous strife with, is determined to unveil his true purpose.
Ironically writing, the one thing that Ah-Cheng finds useless, becomes the one thing that enraptured him and connected him with Ah-Joo. As chapter by chapter progressed, Ah-Cheng and the audiences go on a journey with Ah-Joo in discovering themes and values that makes this drama oh so very fantastic:
- The effects of parents prejudice love for their children
- Karma and redemption; what goes around comes around.
- Good things happen to good people
- Accepting people for who they are, not what you want them to be.
- And what being dutiful means; when you love someone you won’t want to share the bad things to hurt them.
Watch the drama to see how these values develop throughout the lakorn.
Ah-Joo: The true black sheep of the family, Ah-Joo is a hard working, patient, kind, intelligent and handsome man. He has been through a lot, especially the treatment that he endured from his father. But he has a gift in writing and tenacity. His weakness is his father because he will do whatever it takes to not hurt him, even if it means giving his brother credit for what he did. He is a dutiful son and the largest pain in his life is the lack of love from his father. He is truly a good person. Perhaps this drama should be called “The Good Son,” because one of the standout performances is Aum’s portrayal of Ah-Joo. His acting abilities have been showcased at its finest. His chemistry with his father, mother, brothers, Ah-Chang’s family was amazing- and especially with Tanyong.
This is one of the best Lakorns that I’ve seen mainly due to the script, characters, storyline and the casts chemistry. I have many favorite quotes but these stayed with me (these are all paraphrased from memory.)
Tanyong talking to Ah-Joo’s dad (Ah-Cheng): a parent may favor a particular child among the children that they have, but a child only has one mom and one dad thus love them more than anything in the world. And you should know that it breaks their heart when they hear that their parents love them less than their siblings.
Ah-Cheng: no parent loves their children evenly, they only say it.
..And the 2008 Star Entertainment Awards for Best Actor, Director, Script and lakorn of the year goes to….. Botan Gleep Sudtai!
Released in 2008
Duration: 13 Episodes
Aum Atichart as Ah-Joo/ Ah-Thee / Theeradej
Aff Taksaorn as Tanyong/ Ah-Yong
Kiatkamol Lata as Ah Long
Ploy Chermarn Boonyasak as Panan / Ah-Nan
Tah Warit Tipgomut as Ponglert / Ah-Peng
Petchlada Tiampetch as Dala / Ah-La
Setha Sirachaya as Ah-Chang
Tarika Tidatid as Ah-Sin
Ning Panita Pattanahirun as Young Ah-Sin
Nirut Sirijanya (Ning) as Ah-Cheng
Duangjai Hataikarn as Meiling
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