By Kitchana Lersakvanitchakul
Thailand’s Northeast returns to the spotlight today with the nationwide release of romantic comedy “Seen Sam Ton”. The latest offering from M Pictures Group, the film is expected to do as well, if not better than 2017’s Isaan movie “Som Pak Sian”, which grossed a very respectable Bt200 million.
“The film’s title means ‘three pieces of meat’ in the Isaan dialect and while the plot involves three people, it isn’t so much about a love triangle but a love game, where two men have to achieve separate missions to win a woman’s love,” says Pornchai Wongsriudomporn, chief operation officer of M Pictures Group, during the recent press conference for the movie held at Ton Tann Green Market in Khon Kaen.
Seeho (Tao) and Chilor (Ritz) are close friends fighting to win the heart of the same girl.
“In fact, the name came after the story had been written. As I said, it’s about two men competing to win a girl’s heart. But what I think viewers will find most entertaining are the steps they each take to try and solve the game,” he adds.
“Seen Sam Ton” features new faces in the film industry, all of them natives of Isaan. Sattaphong “Tao” Phiangphor, a contestant of “True Academy Fantasia Season 8”, was born in Kalasin, while Ruangrit “Ritz” Siripanich from “The Star Season 6”, and Chonnipa Poppy Wisetsud hail from Roi Et.
Seeho is dating Peepuan, played by Poppy.
Tao admits that at first he had problems speaking in the Isaan dialect.
“I don’t use it in my daily life,” he explains with a grin. “When I was picked to star in the film, I wasn’t worried about learning the script or acting with emotion but that I wouldn’t get the dialect right.”
Chilor approaches Peepuan, a nurse at the hospital.
But Pornchai wouldn’t have had it any other way. “While they were all born in Isaan, they each speak the dialect that is common to their hometowns. The second reason for picking them is that Tao and Ritz are very popular and have their own fan bases and, more importantly, are suited to the characters they portray in the movie. They can play jokes on each other quite naturally. The story focuses on the lives of young working individuals who want nothing more than to settle down and have a family. This movie shows that if we are sincere in love, then nothing can undermine that love. Both boys have good intentions towards the girl,” he says.
Seeho makes a gesture of love to Peepuan.
In the film, Peepuan, played by Poppy, is a nurse at the Traumatic Brain Injury Rehabilitation Centre of Srinagarind Hospital in Khon Kaen and is getting over a broken heart. Seeho (Tao) is an engineer and a close friend of Chilor (Ritz), whose parents own a local restaurant. Both Seeho and Chilor like Peepuan and are looking for ways to conquer her affections. But soon they are forced to decide whether it’s more important for them to be with the one they love or if they want the one they love to be happy with the man she loves.
“Have you heard of the name Seeho?” asks Tao. “Seeho is actually an auspicious creature in the Isaan folk tale ‘Sangsinchai’, with the head of an elephant symbolising abundance and body of lion depicting elegance. Seeho is rich. He owns a construction company, and is behind the construction of several buildings in Khon Kaen. He also drives a luxury car. But while he can manage his working life and his money, he has no room for love until he meets Peepuan.”
"The success of 'Som Pak Sian' proves that an Isaan soundtrack isn't an obstacle for audiences." - Pornchai Wongsriudomporn, of M Pictures Group
Ritz explains that Chilor in an Isaan word for a type of brown cricket. “The character of Chilor comes from my real life – handsome with a good line in chat – but with poor parents who sell food in their small restaurant. I ride a motorcycle to deliver food to customers’ homes. It is the first movie I have appeared in and I worked hard to learn my lines and act but Phi Mum [producer Petchthai “Mum Jokmok” Wongkhamlao] told me to forget it and improvise instead. He wanted us to speak naturally.”
“Peepuan is a kind of fruit. I’m a nurse at Srinagarind Hospital and a cheeky and friendly sort. Before Seeho and Chilor came into my life, my heart had just been broken into a million pieces by my ex boyfriend,” says Poppy.
“Seen Sam Ton” was shot all around Khon Kaen – in the city as well as at the University, the Dinosaur Museum, and Phra Mahathat Kaen Nakhon at Wat Nong Waeng.
Chilor delivers food to customers at home.
“Khon Kaen has a beautiful landscape, tourist destinations and landmarks. Khon Kaen is also a major city that is famous for education and is Thailand’s third most prosperous city after Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Peepuan is caring for a patient – the mother of a monk at Wat Nong Waeng and the monk offers all three of them advice on how they should live their lives,” says Pornchai.
“I think this movie is for all members of the family. They will enjoy and laugh at the story. The success of ‘Som Pak Sian’ has clearly shown that using the Isaan dialect in the soundtrack didn’t put audiences off.
“Besides, presenting a story that takes place in other provinces proves that Bangkok is not Thailand’s only prosperous city. Khon Kaen is prosperous too and we are delighted to show off its diverse culture and lifestyles. And I think the movie might also encourage viewers to fight for the boy or girl of their dreams.”