tisdag 27 mars 2012

A meeting with Yodchai Meksuwan

During my trip to Thailand I had the pleasure to meet a lot interesting people inside the business and those that left the movies a long time ago. One of the highlights was to meet Yodchai Meksuwan, one of the most popular leading mean during the late sixties and seventies. After the death of Mitr Chaibancha,  Yodchai (which literary means “Superman”) was hailed as the new star of cinema. Good-looking and with excellent physique he handled this part without any problems, but the former shoe salesman had other plans – to be an artist. Since his youth he had been a skilled carpenter, painter and sculptor and during the eighties she slowly stopped taking big parts and focused on his dreams of being an artist instead. He’s still acting, but mostly in TV and in supporting parts – instead he spends most of his money on building a huge museum.
Tong shows Yodchai some vintage magazines with him.
We, me and Tong, took a taxi to his museum and a tall man with a protective hat stepped out in the sun to greet us. He’s bald, but not because of age – he’s playing a monk in a TV-series and keeps his head shaved all the time. I recognized him already in the shadows and he later asked me if he looks the same – “Yes you do, just with more experience” I answered. A few moments later one in his staff comes with two chilled coconuts and I give him my DVD release of The Killer Elephants – he plays the second lead, together with Sombat Metanee. This is the first time he’s will get the chance to see the international version of the movie and when I’m mentioning that I’m trying to locate a lot of lost Thai movies that was released in Sweden he’s extra interested.
The museum is still under construction, but one fantastic statue in bronze is in place, rich of details and almost unreal in the perfection. I also get a chance to take a quick look into the Buddhist temple, I guess, that’s connected to the museum – everything build and created by Yodchai. So far he has spent 80 million bath on the museum and next year it will open to the public. I’ll be there.
The impressive museum.

The front has a statue created by Yodchai.

Another piece of art.

Very impressive wax statue!
“Are you hungry?” – and of course we are, we’re not gonna skip the chance to eat together with Yodchai and we follow his Mercedes to a simple street restaurant down the road – where we eat the most delicious noodles I’ve tasted in a long time. Yodchai has made 200 movies so far, but it’s easy to see where his passion is: in art, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he in the future will be more known as the artist Yodchai and not the actor.
Yodchai with the magazines again.

He invited us to a very good restaurant nearby.

After the dinner we say good bye and decides that we will keep contact, because maybe some of his lost movies can be found in my collection… and it will be a pleasure to dig up movies that he can add to his collection. Or not only a pleasure, an honor!
Me and Yodchai!