True Corporation releases its most lavish TV series to date and celebrates it with speciality coffees that represent the characters
I’ve always been fond of Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, the former capital of Siam, but I had never fully appreciated its charms until earlier this month when an invitation from cable and satellite TV provider True Corporation to view the filming locations of its new series, “Sri Ayodhaya” coincided with the chance to attend the “Yor Yos Ying Fah: Ayutthaya World Heritage Fair 2017”.
The fair, which includes a magnificent nightly light & sound show at Wat Maha That in honour of five kings of the Ayutthaya Kingdom and a retro market in Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Historical Park, doesn’t wrap until tomorrow night so there’s still time to make the easy journey from Bangkok and drink in the atmosphere of Old Siam. This year, the fair is even more special because it also celebrates the 16th anniversary of Unesco’s declaration of the park as a World Heritage Site.
The series, directed by ML Pundhevanop “Mom Noi” Dhewakul, has been largely filmed at three main locations in the town, namely Wat Phra Khao, Sala Ayutthaya Hotel, and Chantharakasem National Museum. Other locations for the lavish production include Mueang Boran in Samut Prakan, King Naresuan Movie Studio at Surasi Military Camp in Kanchanaburi, and the Victory Gate in Nakhon Pathom.
Set during the reign of King Phrachaoyuhua Borommakot in the second quarter of the eighteenth century when art, literature, and learning flourished, it takes viewers through the fall of Ayutthaya nine years after his death to the liberation of Siam from Burmese occupation during the reign of Taksin the Great, who established the city of Thonburi as the new capital in 1767. The aim of the series, True says, is to instil a passion and love among Thais for their country and appreciation for their ancestors who sacrificed their lives to protect this country.
The story is told through the attitudes of four present day characters, among them Ananda Everingham who portrays a lecturer in archaeology Dr Pimarn Katiyamongkol and his former incarnation Phra Pimarn Sathan Mongkol. Jiravich Pongpaijit doubles as singer Wayu Kriengkrairit and Chao Fah Suthat Khattiyarajakumarn; Rudklao Amratisha is history lecturer Asst Prof ML Puangkaew Uthaiwong and Krom Muen Pimolsak, and Arnuttaphol Sirichomsaeng plays archaeologist Dr Arkom Pongayuth and Luang Krai Chanrit.
“It is the biggest project we have done to date in terms of production and cinematography and it brings together a leading director and well-known performers. A lot of work has gone into each of the 20 episodes,” Birathon Kasemsri na Ayudhaya, executive assistant to the chief executive and chief content & media officer of True Corporation.
“The investment has also been considerable given the production’s size and standard, which is on par with any European or American historical series. Our aim is to show it to a wider market and we are planning to sell our series to several countries, not only in Asia.”
This mega project was in fact launched two years ago as an intended tribute to His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej on his 90th birthday. But following the King’s death in October 2016, it was remodelled as a commemoration of the late monarch and to honour his successor, His Majesty Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun, King Rama X.
“We have so much video footage of this series that we are able to to edit several versions, such as the director’s cut, which will bring the viewers the behind-the-scene stories of the series. It now runs for 90 minutes but the director’s cut would extend it to two hours. We would make an international version with a one-hour format. The American version would be different from the version destined for Europe because of the differences in taste and culture. In addition to an English-language version, we are planning to sell the series dubbed in Chinese, Korean and Japanese. Some themes would be created to match foreigners’ tastes, such as crossovers from another dimensions,” Birathon adds.
True Corporation is also marketing the series through eight premium royal blend coffees each based on eight of the characters in the series.
“The Noble” representing Phra Pimarn Sathan Mongkol is mixed with cinnamon stick and honey, “The Prince” (Chao Fah Suthat Khattiyarajakumarn) is made with milky coconut and bee pollen, while “The Knight” (Luang Krai Chanrit) boasts aloe vera and lemon honey, and “The King” (Phra Chao Ekathat, played by Nopachai Chaiyanam) has bael fruit.
Also on offer are “The Empress” (Phra Pan Wassa Noi, portrayed by Sinjai Plengpanich), which is blended with jasmine, “The Queen” (Krom Muen Pimolsak) with chrysanthemum, “The Princess” (Somdej Chao Fah Rujja Thewi played by Pimdao Panichsamai) with rose petals, and “The Angel” (Busababan, played by Khemanit Jamikorn) with lotus and fragrant candle.
“This premium royal blend coffee is centred on the leading characters of ‘Sri Ayodhaya’. We have blended beans from Brazil and Ethiopia with locally grown coffee and added other ingredients that we feel best relate to the personalities of the characters. Phra Pimarn is proficient at war and singing sepha so his coffee drink is mixed with honey to depict his smooth vocals and a cinnamon stick that represents a sword. Chao Fah Suthat is an innocent and that is portrayed through milky coconut and bee pollen, while Busababan, who works hard to maintain Thai tradition, has a coffee mixed with lotus and fragrant candle,” explains Nathathai Chumkuntod, chief operating officer of Class Coffee.
Tune in and enjoy
- “Ayodhaya a Film Series” airs on True 4U Channel 24 every Monday and Tuesday from 8pm to 9.30pm as well as True Asian Series HD, True Thai Film, True Film Asia, TNN2 HD, SD Channel 75, and True Plook Panya.