Showbiz love, Thai-style

Pablo A. Tariman - The Philippine Star
Showbiz love, Thai-style
A scene from Waves of Life: Looks like replay of tempest in local showbiz tea pot.

Where does restlessness bring you in this uncertain time of the pandemic?

You turn to Netflix because you want to avoid the regular health situationer which is all about the number of infected and the dead and how the government is responding.

When one runs out of Korean dramas to watch, one accidentally discovers a Thai drama called Kluen Cheewit (The Waves of Life) on Channel 7’s Heart of Asia platform.

The regular plug on the teleserye contains information that in Thailand, popular TV dramas are called lakorn.

It only took a few episodes to hook me on my first share of lakorn. The first few episodes are pretty much like Manila’s showbiz landscape complete with a popular star and her band of fans ready to kill for their idol.

The star’s manager looks and sounds like local star builders always on the lookout for possible scandals that will hurt their protégés. The damage control scenes are so real they remind you of Manila’s showbiz scandals in the ‘80s and ‘90s.

Initially, the showbiz scenes remind you of Lino Brocka’s Stardoom where a potential star is haunted by his lowly background. Managers manage to make it appear that their stars come from so-called buena familias. Trouble is, nosy reporters will always find a way to discover their real class origins.

Even the drama’s lead star Jeerawat (Urassaya Sperbund) looks like a Filipino movie star, a cross between the once young Hilda Koronel and the once younger Gina Pareño.

Her love interest is a young man Sathit (Prin Suparat) whose fiancée she accidentally hit in a car accident.

The first few episodes magnify his hatred for the driver who happens to be a star. There is no way he can avoid her because she is in all the commercials and movie magazines. But he is keen on finding justice for his fiancée, he gets to know the star’s complicated private life.

Being a lawyer, Sathit has a solid legal stature; it is nearly impossible to cast him as part of a love team. But teleseryes being what they are, the impossible happens. That hatred for his fiancée’s killer turns into curiosity and later, into an indomitable love.

This lakorn has many things Filipino teleseryes have.

They have female villains who scorn and release wicked laughters like the unsinkable kontrabidas from Kadenang Ginto. Moreover, the male villains look like Mafia characters from Godfathers 1 and 2.

It features successful stars living in virtual palaces with alalays at their beck and call.

The male lead Prin Suparat (as Sathit) has matinee idol looks that will keep hearts (female and male) beating. And to complete the showbiz deja vu, the gay characters (mostly star managers and music coaches) are very Filipino.

Tales of jealousy often hit absurd proportions that some scenes look like rehashed sequences from Bituing Walang Ningning.

It turns out that Kluen Cheewit (The Waves of Life) is originally a novel that has enjoyed two remakes in Thai television. The one we saw is the latest version now enjoying a good following in the Heart of Asia platform of Channel 7.

Directed by Aew Ampaiporn (Game Rai Game Rak, Sood Saneha, Sawan Biang, Rak Nee Hua Jai Rao Jong), Waves of Life managed to tug at the heartstrings of Filipino televiewers for a lot of reasons.

For one, it looks like the typical travails of their favorite stars. And for another, tales of revenge abound thus finding endless reasons to watch for the next episodes.

But as teleseryes go, the subplots sometimes reach silly proportions. The characters never really achieve cinema levels of acting.

But for all its faults, Waves of Life is endearing. For Filipino viewers, it is the story that secretly they yearn to live in real life.

But that is another story.

Waves of Life airs on Channel 7, from Mondays to Fridays at 8:30 a.m., with replays in the afternoon and evening.

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