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LEKHA SHANKAR


An exchange of Film News, from Thailand, India and other film-spaces across the world.

 


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Yet another Film on Thailand's best-known ghost tale

                                                         " Pee Mak Phra Khanong "

                                  The tragic ghost-tale has many comic twists, in this new version

                                                                                                        

                                                      

 

Thailand's best-known  ghostly love-story between 'Mak' and 'Nak' has been re-created on the screen so many times ( 30 films have been made, since the 1930's,including a very famous one by well-known indie director Nonzee Nimibutr, in 1999 ), that one wonders what could be  ‘new ', in yet another movie-version of  this beaten-to-death ghost tale.

Well, one must admit that  ‘ Pee Mak Phra Khanong’,  being released this week, has many surprising and daring  ‘new’ touches!

The most daring act is, that like the ghost's favourite stance, the story has been turned  upside-down ! The maudlin pathos and  sentiment of the sad, drippy  love-story of yore, have been replaced with humour, energy and many comic twists. This includes a whacky ending,  to a revered ghost-tale that even has a temple constructed in its honour,in Bangkok! The temple is dedicated to 'unrequited love', and is a favourite haunt for all those suffering from this malaise of love.

 But this film is the only version, where the love does not remain un-requited. That's why the hackneyed ghost-tale gets a fresh boost of life, and  hopefully, brings cheer to the  many romantics fixated with this sad tale.

Kudos to young director  Banjong  Pisanthanakun  (‘ 4 Bia, Hullo Stranger' )  for  revitalising the script, which took him more than a year to  put together.

 Its many contemporary references ( ' Cordon Bleu cooking, Ang Lee’s direction'--) provides many laughs,and makes connections with new audiences. And by casting young superstar Mario Mauer  as the hero ,the film is bound to resurrect the old tale for young audiences. TV Channel 7' actress Dawika Hoorne, making her film-debut,  also  creates an impact with her fresh but sinister portrayal of  the  famed,  mixed-up  ghost.

However, the show-stealers are the bunch of four friends, who accompany  Nak through thick and thin, and who  get  crazily embroiled  in  his  ghostly love-life. Their noisy , physical  adventures are funny and  spooky, and set the  fast pace for the eerie drama. They are the show-stealers in a story, which till now, has gone little beyond the spooky  misadventures of  the  love-pair.  

It’s not easy to bend/un-bend  Thailand’s most famous  ghost-horror tale  to a comic drama, but this movie manages to pull it off.

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About LEKHA SHANKAR

SHANKAR LEKHA

I'm an Indian film-writer, based in Bangkok, and write for publications in India & Thailand. I also coordinate and curate film programs in the two countries, at cultural centres/clubs, film festivals.


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