Wednesday, September 7, 2005

Mum Jokmok: Thailand's hardest working man in showbusiness

Petchtai Wongkamlao, aka Mum Jokmok, follows up his co-starring role in Tom Yum Goong with Hello Yasothon (Yam Yasothon) a romantic comedy that harks back to the Thai musical comedies of the 1960s and 1970s that starred Mitr Chaibuncha and Petchara Chaowarat (and later Sombat Methinee in place of Mitr).

So beehive hairdos and a curly-queue wisp of hair around the ears for the ladies. Bright colors -- pastels of yellow, blue, pink and lime green.

Set in 1967, in rural northeastern Thailand, the story concerns Yam (Mum) and his younger nephew, Thong. Both have their ladies. Thong, the handsome one, has an attractive girlfriend named Soy that he spends his spare time kissing. Yam, however, keeps his lady, Juei, at arm's length and is reluctant to let her get too close. Juei, portrayed by an uglied-up Janet Keaw, has a big birthmark above her lip as a prominent feature and she has freckled, splotchy skin. In other words, she's ugly, and Yam doesn't really want anything to do with her.

I'm missing a bunch of names of characters and actors here, but a mean aunt (Mum's sister, Waew) is involved. She wants her niece Soy to stay away from the farmers, marry a local rich boy and get some education. And she wants her niece's maid and nanny, Juei, to stay at home as well. So the girls disappear from the picture, and that's when Yam starts to think they maybe he really loves Juei after all.

It's the second film that Mum has directed, following up his action comedy, The Bodyguard. So he's learning as goes along. Next up is a sequel to that, Bodyguard 2.

Long term, Mum told the new English-language daily ThaiDay recently, he'd like to do a historical battle epic set in Thailand thousands of years ago. "It can be like Troy -- the Thai Troy, but still a comedy of course."

Yam Yasothon is the third film Mum has starred in this year. Aside from Tom Yum Goong, he was in the romance Cherm (Midnight My Love). He also had guest appearances in the comedies, Holy Man and Dumber Heroes, roles he did for a case of beer.

(Cross-published at Rotten Tomatoes)

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