Still a couple of weeks to the end of 2013 but nothing on tv has been drawing me in these days and between work and the social functions I have lined up, the only thing left on my drama plate is to work on finishing ‘On Call 2’. Yu Zai’s whole ‘losing her baby due to her cancer returning’ thing milked a few tears out of me but since she bounced back from that, ‘On Call 2’ has been muddling along, mildly entertaining but quite forgettable. Anyhoooow, I was supposed to talk about ‘Sai Roong (Rainbow)’, Ann’s old lakorn from way back in 1997 and likely my last lakorn for the year.
‘Sai Roong’ starts off like the usual revenge lakorn, where n’ek Maythinee crosses paths with a man who looks awfully like her first love Pak who died overseas in a car accident after May’s mother forces her to write him a breakup letter. We can all see where this is heading from a mile away right, that the guy’s not really dead and he’s back with a new name to make life hell for our poor misunderstood n’ek? Pak has indeed gotten himself a new name and even created a new family by adopting a pair of orphaned siblings but he would have lived his life out of May’s sight, hoping for his hurt and anger at May to dissipate some day, if
the scriptwriters fate hadn’t intervened. Pak’s adopted sister asked May, a successful model, to coach her group of friends for a charity fashion show at school and when their worlds intersect, Pak is unable to resist being drawn to May once again. Still gripped by his hurt at May’s apparent betrayal back then and her continued betrayal of her promise of faithfulness to Pak by being cosy with Songyode, a rich and very married man, Pak sets a trap to test May’s love for Pak. Pak claims to be Pong, a very good friend of Pak and uses his knowledge of May’s past with Pak to push her buttons and to test of how much of their love May still holds dear. May fails this ‘test’ in Pak’s eyes when she agrees to marry ‘Pong’ and Pak does a no-show on their wedding as payback. So there’s the revenge angle but really, that’s quite mild by lakorn standards and for me, ‘Sai Roong ‘ isn’t about Pak’s misguided entrapment of May, or even the OTP working out their misunderstandings to get a happily after.
‘Sai Roong’ is 100% May’s journey as she battled every step of the way to find peace at the end of the rainbow. It may seem odd saying this considering I’ve been raving about Ann’s acting for so long, but it’s the first time I’ve been this riveted by Ann on-screen. I still maintain that Alin in SSH is her best work (amongst those I’ve watched) by far since comedic roles are harder to perfect than dramatic ones but I was utterly captivated by May, just like how I couldn’t take my eyes off Ken’s Kawee in ‘Sawan Biang’. Stubborn May who couldn’t care less about explaining her friendship with Songyode or really, explaining anything at all to those want to gossip. Defiant May who refuses to pander to the rich and powerful who lust after her. Protective May who does her best to provide for her younger sister Jen and shield her from the evils of the world. This is May with her shield and sword on, in all her fiery beauty ready to take the world on if only to keep her semblance of a home going. But inside May is dead, haunted by memories of her lost love and tortured daily by her mother’s alcoholism and gambling habit which digs the family ever deeper into debt. Ann is so so so perfect as May, bringing out May’s strength and vulnerabilities and making me feel every hardened gaze, every anguished tear, every wistful smile. Even with late 90s clothes and make up, Ann is so gorgeous here she takes my breath away, no wonder every male character with a talking part trips over themselves to get May! Jen’s in the background. Can you tell which actress it is? :p
May’s stormy relationship her mom is not easy to watch but I love that it goes beyond the usual parent being nasty only to heap more misery on the lead character trope and I find that it gets better development than the love line. May’s mother Mahn does come off as a horrible parent at the beginning, so addicted to drinking and gambling that she is willing to sell May off to pay her debts. As more of Mahn’s past emerge though, we see that she has her own ghosts haunting her and her own demons to battle. Mother and daughter have the same fiery temperament and their scenes are always so intense, picking at old scars while inflicting fresh ones when deep down they yearn for love and understanding.
The only thing I couldn’t accept about May was her friendship with Songyode. Yes, she isn’t sleeping with him like everyone believes but going on dates with him, lunching in private at Songyode’s hotel, allowing him to ferry her around etc, all the while knowing that he is married and madly in love with her makes me shake my head in disapproval. Shouldn’t May at least consider the feelings of Songyode’s wife? May isn’t the direct cause of Songyode’s marital problems but by allowing Songyode to maintain this close relationship with her is definitely not helping. For most part of the lakorn I felt her friendship with Songyode was stuck in to make it easier for Pak to misunderstand May as an immoral gold digger. It was only towards the end when Songyode stuck by May through her mental melt down at Pak’s revelation of revenge that I come to be more understanding of her relationship with Songyode. May is many things, but – and I don’t mean this as a criticism – she’s is not noble. She has had to deal with too many things to afford to be noble. She doesn’t know her birth father, her doting stepfather is dead, her mother lost to alcohol, Pak ‘dead’ as well and with Jen so young, May forces herself to become the pillar of the family. It must have been emotionally draining for May and when Songyode comes along offering love, respect and support, I imagine I would have taken it if I were May. Other than her friend/manager Pa’Jaen, Songyode is the only person May could lean on and she knows he will not force her to give anything she is unwilling to. Selfish? Maybe, but May was only all too human.
There weren’t a lot of sweet scenes between the OTP and I didn’t feel very strongly about Pak/May as a couple. Pak goes through a lot of conflicting emotions, from wanting to punish May for her cruel letter which tore his world apart, to being jealous of Songyode, to wanting to protect May, to being suspicious of her motives and every other emotion in between so his attitude towards May flip flops a lot. I actually do understand where Pak is coming from but maybe Johnny Anfone’s portrayal of Pak is too reserved that I couldn’t connect much with his character and by extension his love for May. Off the top of my head I can think of a few strong scenes of the OTP, so it’s not like I didn’t care for them, just that you know, ultimately my eyes and heart followed where Maythinee went. One of the emotionally charged OTP scene where Pak finds out why May accepted Pong’s proposal.
So glad Anonyblue decided to sub this gem! There still so much on Maythinee to talk about but I’m running out of energy here. Shall end off with a funny observation: Ann has always been the ‘sadistic n’ek’ it seems! There was a scene where she slapped Johnny and golly, I actually saw his cheek muscles tremble from the force of the slap!