Smash-hit historical TV drama enthralls the whole country

WHAT’S the most “in trend topic” talked about by Thais at the moment be it on social media, on the street, over lunch? It is not the 30 million baht lottery scam, their friends’ watches or the panther killing but the recently launched Thai period drama called BuppeSanNivas or Love Destiny.

BuppeSanNivas has been put on air on digital TV Channel 33 twice a week on Wednesday and Thursday night since February 21 this year and its popularity has surged ever since like a wildfire after only a few episodes. And “Au Jao” has become a new buzz word.

BuppeSanNivas is now popular not only in Thailand but also being watched in Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Korea, China and Russia with their own subtitles because of its lovely and funny dialogs between leading character Mae Karaked, whose soul came from the present era using today’s language and slangs, while others using Ayutthaya language as well as beautiful settings and landscape of those old days.

Love Destiny TV drama

It’s a fiction based largely on a Thai historical story from the reign of King Narai the Great (1633-1688) in the Ayutthaya era, when dressing in traditional Thai costume, using hands instead of fork and spoon during meals, taking a bath in the canals, traveling by boats and there being lots of slaves was the norm.  Love Destiny has helped people to learn more about the Thai culture, lifestyle and history during the Ayutthaya period.

History has it that King Narai was the king of Ayutthaya from 1656 to 1688 and arguably the most famous Ayutthayan king. His reign was the most prosperous during the Ayutthaya period and saw great commercial and diplomatic activities with foreign nations including the Persians and the West.

During the later years of his reign, King Narai gave his favorite – the Greek adventurer Constantine Phaulkon – so much power that Phaulkon technically became the chancellor of the state.

Through the arrangements of Phaulkon, the Siamese kingdom came into close diplomatic relations with the court of Louis XIV  (to counter the influence of the Dutch or Hollanda at that time).

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But the dominance of French officials led to frictions between them and the native mandarins and led to the turbulent revolution of 1688 towards the end of his reign. King Narai’s reign was also known for the Siam–England war (1687), according to Wikipedia.

The presence of numerous foreigners from the French Jesuits to the Persian delegates has left historians with rich sources of material on the city of Ayutthaya and its conflicts and courtly life in the seventeenth century that otherwise would not have survived the complete destruction of the capital in 1767.

Love Destiny involved Constantine Phaulkon, who, in the episode on air last week, got married to Maria Guiomar de Guimar, daughter of Indian cloth trader Fanik Guyomar.

According to the history Maria Guiomar eventually became a dessert expert inventing menu like Thongyhip, Thongyohd and Foythong, the sweets which are still popular until these days.

The popularity of the series has now gone up from three something to 22.8 last week for Bangkok and 15.5 countrywide meaning, according to ACNielsen, which monitors Thai TV ratings, there were around 13.6 million people watching the episode last week in Bangkok and another 9.3 million countrywide.

The surge in rating for Love Destiny has helped BEC World Plc, which owns and operates Channel 33, to see its share price on the Thai Stock market rebounded from its low of 9.85 baht on February 27 to 13.9 baht on March 14.  The price came down from 76.5 baht per share in late 2012 a year before the auction of the digital TV licenses which BEC got three only to find out that it’s their big burden ever since causing the profit to drop every year.

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With the popularity of BuppeSanNivas, more people are interested in visiting historical sites in Ayutthaya especially at Wat Chaiwatthanaram, where weekend visitors surged to nearly 20,000.

The Transport Company therefore has decided to serve the higher demand for Bangkokians by organizing a Holiday Trip No. 1 (first class air-con bus) to four wats in Ayutthaya on Saturday March 24 leaving Bangkok’s Morchit terminal at 7.00 am and back to Bangkok 6 pm at the price of 339 baht (excluding wat’s entrance fee and food). The trip has already been overbooked and the company is considering organizing more such trips.

By Kowit Sanandang