There are very few shows that leave you with happy realizations, lessons that give valuable insights and actually help you recognize the importance of life and relationships.
A Tale of Thousand Stars ended on a high note and GMMTV certainly hit the jackpot with this one. This show must be appreciated for straying from the usual brand of Yaoi themed storylines which focus on high school romances. The local and international arena are now on the lookout for stories that step out of the box and focus more on the socio-economic issues affecting the LGBTQ community. ATOTS was able to toe the line and Director Backaof Noppharnach has created a masterpiece that is “Journey of a Lifetime”. The main actors and supporting cast must be applauded for their earnest efforts. Newcomer Mix Sahaphap’s interpretation of Tian will be forever etched in my mind, while Earth Pirapat portrays Phupha with an honesty that highlight the character’s strong convictions.
The adaptation is blessed with an intriguing storyline that captivates your attention from the pilot episode itself. Tian is suffering from a terminal heart disease and miraculously escapes death when he luckily gets a heart implant on time. However, he starts experiencing the lingering memories of his heart donor. His search for the donor leads him to discover the existence of volunteer teacher Torfun Chareonpon. Her diary chronicles her life history and desires. Assaulted by guilt, Tian sets out on a journey to fulfill her last wishes and ends up experiencing life shattering changes.
The strength of this script lies in the brilliant storytelling which is well executed. It is realistic and speaks volumes about the dedication that was rendered to seamlessly breathe life into this adaptation.
Set against the backdrop of a humble rural setting (where the villagers are faced with the shortage of essential facilities like electricity and water), the drama showcases a rich boy’s struggles as he attempts to adjust to his new abysmal conditions and seek redemption for his past mistakes. Tian is unlike most spoiled kids who are content living a rich lifestyle and won’t care about the common masses. Despite being born and bought up in an entirely different atmosphere, he tries hard to adapt himself to his new surroundings and is consistent. The important facet of Tian’s personality is his headstrong attitude and dedication. I truly appreciate this character’s zeal, because Tian never gives up on his convictions or slows down when backed into a corner. He doesn’t shy away from hard work and his ardent efforts draw Chief Phupha’s attention. Tian isn’t without flaws, after all his recklessness cost a life. But instead of hiding in the shadows, Tian chooses to redeem himself. His humane nature sets this character apart and makes him truly memorable!
The drama wouldn’t be phenomenal if we didn’t have a war veteran like Chief Phupha standing beside Tian, while he experiences his first tryst with reality. The uncanny contrast between these two characters is striking. Phupha is strict, disciplined and doesn’t appreciate Tian’s wayward behavior on his arrival. Slowly, Phupha begins to recognize Tian’s inner strength and as such, helps him to overcome his shortcomings. I always loved watching their honest conversations. Phupha doesn’t mince words and is a straightforward person. Despite his outspoken attitude, Phupha never thrusts his opinions on Tian. Instead, he chooses to motivate Tian to search for answers himself.
Phupha has truly played an important role in Tian’s character growth. Despite knowing Tian’s real identity, Phupha never lets Tian get away with his reckless behavior. Their romantic entanglements play an indiscriminate role in shaping Tian’s present and future decisions. Phupha becomes a part of his journey as he teaches him the importance of self- discipline and hard work. Tian on the other hand ends up melting the Green Giant’s heart and makes him sound more humane. Earth Pirapat must be applauded for portraying this character with an utter honesty that speaks to the masses and underlines Phupha’s mature choices. In the latter episodes, where he chooses to sacrifice his own love for Tian’s brighter future, you can see that Phupha is suffering and is in pain. Yet he decides to let go and wait for Tian, however long it might be!
I’m a huge fan of slow burn romances and ATOTS spoke to me in a manner unlike any other. I enjoyed watching Tian and Phupha bicker endlessly about inconsequential matters as well as relished the slow progression of their love story. Some people might be disappointed by the lack of passionate kissing scenes, but I wasn’t. Phupha and Tian are both mature characters set in their own ways and as such it takes time for them to adapt to each other’s habits. A healthy relationship is defined by also honest discussions and adjustments on both sides. Director Backaof Noppharnach has managed to highlight the social differences between the two main characters without making it glaringly obvious. Yes, both of them belong to different social structures but doesn’t stop them from falling in love or following their dreams. Phupha’s subtle staring and expressive eyes were enough to betray his true feelings and Tian obliged with his heartfelt smiles. Earth and Mix’s close friendship translates into excellent chemistry onscreen and their compatibility is truly a blessing!
MY CHERISHED MOMENTS FROM THE FINALE EPISODE
This show’s focal point is Tian’s character growth. As such this scene stuck a chord with the audiences. Tian is confused about his future choices and as such seeks advice from the foundation director. His answer really is exemplary because it’s simple and direct. I can reconcile with Tian’s question because I experienced the same confusion. Born and bought up in a metro city like Mumbai, I wasn’t excited when I had to shift to a small town for my Doctorate. And yet, that small town and the people there, taught me valuable life lessons. Happiness exists in simple ways of life and running after material things is useless. Earning true friends and being close to your family is more important than having millions in your bank account!
Their brief reunion will be forever etched in my memory. There are so many things to appreciate in this scene. Although I was miffed that Tian’s mother forced him to study abroad, the only silver lining was that it enabled their confession. Phupha isn’t an overtly emotional person. His decision to accept his feelings, before Tian leaves for his study abroad marks a significant moment in their relationship. Although he did take time to reconsider his choices, Phupha does confess his love for Tian and he does it without thinking about possible recurpurssions (in front of Tian’s parents). While Tian’s Mother is left stunned with the revelation, his Father and best friend Tul wholeheartedly support their reunion. The tears, the tight hugs and soulful separation just heightened the mood and set a precedent for their future reconciliation.
Two years later, Tian returns to the remote village setting as a volunteer teacher. This time he seems more mature and confident about his life choices. He is no longer guilty about Torfun’s death and has managed to get past those mental blocks. He has moved on in life and is ready to begin the second runnings of life with his Chief, Phupha. ATOTS is a journey of a lifetime, a beautiful love story that will leave with fond memories of the past and expectations for a vibrant future!
Of course, we need to talk about their intimate scene in the ending credits which was nothing short of a “Dream Come True”. Phupha and Tian are finally together and our Green Giant is making up for lost time. Because obviously watching a clingy Phupha is the best thing ever! The scene turned out really well, because Earth has lended his own personal touch to make it look more authentic.
Rating– 4 out of 5