Wanida (2010) accomplished what many remakes have failed to accomplish in the past; staying true to the original storyline, featuring A list actors and actresses that has amazing chemistry and wrapping up a long awaited remake to viewers’ satisfaction. What made it more amazing was the fact that this was Tik Jedsadapon Pondee’s first lakorn after a three year hiatus. As if that wasn’t reason enough to tune in, the sizzling way that Tik Jedsapon gazes at Aff Taksaorn Paksukcharoen can make your toes curl. It was a match made in lakorn heaven if I do say so myself.
The vintage, retro costumes that were displayed gives off a feeling of the 50’s, where frivolous designs and dresses that ended right below the knees and puffed at the waist took front and center. The social and familial values were also different in this era, it was a time in which people conform to society’s standards; for example daughters are taught to abide by their fathers’ and husbands’ wishes. In the lakorn, Prajak pretty much summed it up nicely to Wanida, “You are a woman; you should not be driving or riding a horse.”
The lakorn was easy to follow however possessed a few typical clichés and ideology; good wins over evil and true love conquers all. It goes without saying that it is still very rare to find a Thai lakorn that does not have typical clichés. Nonetheless, Wanida projects an array of values and emotions from each character’s point of view. These values are severely tested by the many conflicts portrayed in this lakorn and we faithfully watch how family values, a son’s dutifulness, true love and integrity intertwine to develop the story. It successfully compels the viewers to feel frustrated, confused, angry, touched and satisfied, which makes for a great sixteen episode series.
To begin with, the two main characters in this lakorn are Wanida Wongwiboon and Major Prajak Mahasak. Wanida is a naïve, independent, stubborn and beautiful individual. It appears that she struggles to be herself as well as fit in with society’s standards. Her beauty strikes a chord when she comes in contact with the male species. It seems that majority of the male species are very superficial, they see a pretty face and they fall in love, except for one particular male; Prajak Majasak who is the epitome of a gentlemen. He embraces justice (hence his occupation), old fashioned, overbearing, protective and drop dead gorgeous.
The antagonists in this story certainly produced many conflicts and pressures. They came in the form of girlfriend, mother and interested men.
The lakorn proceeds with Prajak and Wanida’s encounter. The scene offers a glimpse into their character. We get that Wanida is carefree, beautiful, rich and capable of standing up for herself. Prajak on the other hand is proper, competitive, and authoritative. He dislikes it immensely to be challenged, especially by the likes of an immature twenty-two year old. Prajak believed Wanida to be spoiled and un-ladylike. And Wanida perceived Prajak as an old fashioned, backward thinking man. Although the pair noticed the attraction, they find that they have nothing in common.
Wanida was raised by a single father, Dao Wongwiboon, who adores and cherishes her. She has been given free reign with her leisure activities, which explains her independence and forward thinking. Dao is known as the shark loaner in the community and apparently everyone owes him money. He believed that his reputation won’t fare well with his daughter because many reputable men in the community do not want to have a father in law like that. Therefore Dao schemes a plan that will find his daughter a husband.
Dao sets his sights on Prajuab Mahasak, solely because the young man has an honorable last name. He also owed Dao an insurmountable amount of money and will not be able to pay within three days. Deep down however, Dao has another motive. He believed in his daughter’s strengths and relentlessness and that she would be capable of clearing his aunt’s reputation with the Mahasak. Rumor has it that his aunt (Montha) was married to Chao Mahasak but committed adultery and was shunned, they also claimed that she gave the Mahasak’s fortune (in the form of gold and jewelry) to her lover. Madam Nom, Prajak’s mother, claimed that was why Dao was so wealthy, and why the Mahasak are old wealth- meaning that they used to be rich but don’t have any more money.
Prajak is a proud, honor bound man who is engaged to Pisamai, and they planned on getting married in the near future.
However, everyone’s plans and lives come to a screeching halt when Dao approached Prajuab with the debt. When faced with crisis and pressure the person’s true character is revealed. In this case, when Prajuab was approached by the likelihood of marrying someone he doesn’t love to pay off his debt and take responsibility for his own actions, he bolted. He ran away with a letter claiming he will return when he saved up enough money to pay off the debt. The person who stepped up to the plate and saved his family’s honor and integrity is his older brother, Prajak. When faced with difficulties, Prajak stood tall, which showed us a character worth loving. It also slowed a complex character, he is a responsible person, but duty bound to his family (mother) who projects her love for her younger son than her elder son. We gleaned that Prajak has his weaknesses and unpleasant qualities about him as well. For example, abiding by his mother and believing what people say too much, which makes him human I suppose, but irritating to a viewer nonetheless.
Prajak must marry Wanida to save his family from destitute and shame. Dao is convinced he must get his daughter to agree. Remember that this is in the fifties and Dao could have pretty much forced his daughter to marry a man of his choosing. But by now we know that Dao wants his daughter to be happy, so he told Wanida that the sap who proposed for her hand in marriage is in love with her. Although she questioned why a man who has seen her once can fall in love with her, it wasn’t a big enough concern NOT to marry the guy. At this point in time, Prajak and Wanida aren’t aware that they have met before.
The marriage negotiation were finagled to Prajak and Dao’s satisfaction which outlined that Wanida and Prajak would be married only in name and when Prajuab returns with the money to pay off the debt, then Wanida and Prajak would be free to divorce each other. Because Prajak is convinced that this is only temporary and that he has already found his true love in Pisamai, he promised her that he will only love her and will marry her once he is divorced from Wanida. Dao on the other and foretold that he believed Prajak would love Wanida with all of his heart and he will be her champion. Only his daughter can clear the misconception about his aunt’s honor.
Throughout the lakorn we see the conflict between Madam Nom, Pisamai and Wanida. They would do what they can to make her time at the Mahasak’s house miserable. However slowly we see Wanida, with her goodness, win her way into the servants heart. Will she win her way into Prajak’s heart?
The basis of the lakorn arrived from the old fashioned Thai arrange marriage concept; what happens when you put two people together, who not only don’t know each other, but has a previous strife? You also throw in the fact that they have different social status, unsettling family history, and the one who is marrying the other to pay off a debt apparently still has a girlfriend. It is only natural to raise these questions: Will Prajak save his family and risk his integrity? Can Prajak sustain his promise with Pisamai? Will he embrace true love when she’s in front of him? Can he still be a dutiful son and still be in his wife’s good graces? And in the end, will he do the right thing?
There is only one thing left to do, watch Wanida. Now.
I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed this lakorn! Needless to say, welcome back to both Prajak and Tik Jesadaporn!
Cast of characters:
Jesadaporn Pholdee (Tik) as Major Prajak Mahasak (Yai)
Taksaorn Paksukcharoen (Aff)as Wanida (Nid)
Rinlanee Sripen (Joy) as Pisamai
Pisanu Nimsakul (Boy) as Captain Montree
Primrata Dechudom (Jaja) as Ampai
Sorawit Suboon (Kong) as Prajuab
Passachon Supree as Chumsri
Duangta Tungkamanee as Madam Nom
Montree Jenaksorn as Dao
Ajcharapan Paiboonsuwan as Aunt Thong
Duration: 17 Episodes
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