Has it been since The Rising Sun Series since we’ve seen Nadech and Yaya on screen together? That is too many years too long, if you ask me. But they’re back to win our hearts in Leh Lub Salub Rarng (which isn’t a hard feat if I’m being honest), it is a body swapping lakorn about alpha male Captain Ramin and beloved Pearl of Asia Petra Pawadee. It is action meets comedy meets gender reversal. When we first meet them, you’ll love to hate these two because of their spoiled brat, conceited and selfish tendencies. And at first you’ll wonder why our leads are unlikable, and yet despite how unlikeable their characters are, Nadech Yaya’s portrayal of them comes out hilarious because it’s so opposite to their own personalities in real life. This lakorn is a treat for NY fans, but to those reluctant viewers and those looking for a good story, this one is for you too.
The bodyswapping mechanism is built into this already understood universe. The heavens will punish people who have sinned for many lifetimes. Apparently Ramin and Petra are mates in many lifetimes but has failed to change their fates and they continue to be bratty in this lifetime, with the other (Ramin) a sexist. He believes that he is above all women and doesn’t bat an eye to sleep with one even while engaged to another. It’s because of his prejudice and over the top self-esteem, he thinks he can get away with it. They both think others will fall to their feet and do as they demand, or otherwise suffer their wrath. But what makes this funny, instead of infuriating, is that they truly believe (which they use to justify their actions) that one is the Pearl of Asia and beloved by the people, and the other is a national treasure that protects the people’s freedom. Yet the people closest to them and the industry for that matter, know better. The only way to show and teach these two the error of their ways is to literally force the other to walk in their shoes. Body swap, weapon of the divine intervention.
In our first two episodes, we get to know Captain Ramin and Petra as themselves before any bodyswapping occurs. We open with Captain Ramin and his squad doing a drug bust and can see that when it comes to work, Ramin is skilled and top notch. He even saves a reporter’s life, which skyrocketed his fame overnight. Talent Manager Aum sees this on the news and decides he’s the perfect fit for a lakorn role as Petra’s lover. She just has to convince Captain Ramin to entertain the role and sign on with her agency. It’s not a tough sell because Ramin, like the entire Asian community, is in love with Petra Pawadee, who is coined Pearl of Asia and won best actress recently. Because of her fame, Petra lets it go to her head, she thinks she’s the best, the most beautiful, and as such, deserves the best treatment. These two has to know that their behavior is bad though, because Petra fools the whole world that she’s a kind and gentle person, while treating those around her like peasants. Ramin thinks his unfaithful ways and chauvinism is the correct way, but his right hand man and subordinates do not agree, yet they condone. So in a way, even without the self awareness, they’re so used to getting things their way.
Ramin thinks he can still cheat as long as his fiancée Nok Yoong doesn’t find out, and there’s no way she will find out because she’s in Chiang Rai, never the wiser. There is also Lieutenant Arkom to help cover his mess because he loves both Ramin and Nok Yoong, one as a boss and the other as a love interest. Though he dare not show it for fear of being disloyal. Well there’s our nice guy. But Nok Yoong sense that Ramin has been distant and decides to bridge that gap by going to the city. But even being right under his nose, Ramin is blatant enough to sleep with another woman anyway. If there is an opportunity to be close to a beautiful woman, Ramin would jump at it. So when offered a role to be Petra’s lover on screen, Ramin signs up, overjoyed and anxious to hug and kiss his favorite star.
Much to his dismay, he soon realizes that Petra isn’t the sweet and perfect person that she put out to the universe. In actuality, she’s a bitch. It’s glorious when he finds out in his first filming scene who Petra really is. She won’t wear the costume unless it makes her look pretty, screw history inaccuracies or anything realistic for that matter. This scene is when Ramin’s character dies after a bomb and she reaches him and gives him a kiss to remember for eternity. Petra refuses to continue the scene because his hands are dirty. Then in the next take, she refuses to kiss him because he ate what she was allergic to. By the time everyone has showered and made up again, Ramin decides to punk her by kissing for real. Though he decides against it when the filming rolls. Inexplicably, time freezes and it is like only the two of them exist, their lips drawn together like an electric current. Wow, what a glorious kiss scene. By the time their lips part and everything goes back to normal, the entire crew reels at how natural it looks.
Petra, although a diva, is a professional and will do real kiss scenes. But never has any kiss scenes affect her this much. As she recovers in the dressing room, Ramin comes by to apologize, but mentions that he wasn’t in control of it, it was an out of body experience, a force that brings their lips together. Petra whirls around in surprise because that’s exactly how she felt. But to save face, she lies that all of the men who kiss her in lakorns feel an electric wave, some even worse. Pfft. Ramin leaves the room in a harrumph and mentions how conceited she is. Haha. Look who’s talking.
But Petra in all of her riches and fame, seem quite alone. Perhaps subconsciously she is this way to make up for the lack of people in her life. It is not surprising that in real life (Petra’s real life, not Yaya’s) there aren’t many who would befriend her or put up with her fake-ass, except for Talent Manager P’Aum. Sure, she gets her 3% cut, but she’s the only one who accepts Petra for her fake-ass self. P’Aum may seem self centered and money mongering, but deep down I think she worries for Petra being taken advantaged of, she just goes about it the wrong way. Especially when no one else seems to know Petra. Another Talent Manager, Tom (another gay person) wants to poach Petra since her contract is almost up, he gets backed by Richard Adisorn, who runs a large event planning company. Richard pursues Petra and showers her with expensive gifts (knowing that she loves brand names) and tries to win her over so that she could come work for him.
I love that this show is so funny and they’re not even trying to be funny. It’s not slapstick, but the puns and metas are laugh out loud funny. It’s the kind of funny I like. And the romance? Well let’s just say that the chemistry is as crackling hot as the electric current that draws the two to kiss each other. I feel like one of the crews in their show within a show, whose jaw drops every time the two lock lips. I am sold. I’ve been waiting for so long, and it’s definitely worth the wait.
At any rate, now that Ramin sees Petra’s true colors so to speak, he refuses to accept any more projects with her. But the call of money entices him when Richard invites him to walk the catwalk with Petra as well as play as her bodyguard since she’ll be wearing diamonds that are worth millions. It’s in this scene (perhaps in the next episode) where they almost die and the body swap happens as to give them another chance at changing their fates. Before the self awareness and realization occurs, we’ll be getting lots of hilarious hijinks as Yaya becomes Captain Ramin and Nadech becomes Petra Pawadee, Pearl of Asia. There will be lots more smooching, but only Captain Ramin is counting. Also, Ramin’s cheating ways will come to a head when Nok Yoong finds out, and I have a feeling Richard’s business is only a cover up for his drug smuggling ways. But I love that he’s the one who brings the two together.
These two are perfectly imperfect and there’s a rude awakening when they wake up as the opposite gender, challenging their ignorant beliefs and as a result, we’ll get our true hero and heroine. But I hope that along the way, they don’t lose their funny essence, because nice and straight laced hero and heroine has already been done. I’d rather be a bitch when it matters. You know, a nice bitch. Rather than a doormat, I’ll say. This show has me excited, laughing, shaking my head, and curling my toes. Maybe it’s the NY magic, but I am a goner. Give me MORE. Mondays and Tuesdays never got more exciting than this. I can’t imagine what it’ll be like when they kiss on their own volition, removing fate and divine intervention. It’s gonna be hot. It’s NY after all.