The blockbuster film franchise, “Tai Baan: The Series”, has sprung up an unexpected sensation. The hit character, “Undertaker”, has captured Thailand’s fascination and sent the box office collections soaring to 300 million baht (US$8.2 million) in a mere fortnight.
However, the story behind this captivating character, embodied by the 30-year-old Yadphet Chaowat, lends a touch of reality to the silver screen. Once engrossed in the numerical world of accounting, Yadphet changed her career direction to keep her ailing father’s business afloat. The business was dedicated to hosting funerals.
As for replacing her father in the male-dominated role in the Thai society, Yadphet confesses that her previous professional stint did not quite prepare her for her new responsibilities. Yet, her father’s teachings served as a solid foundation by providing her the fundamental knowledge to preside over funerals and perform the necessary chants.
With her role fuelling supernatural speculations and curiosity, netizens were intrigued to learn whether she had come across any uncanny incidents as portrayed in the movie. Yadphet, however, categorically dismissed such rumors, assuring that she had witnessed nothing supernatural or ghostly so far.
Moreover, contrary to the societal norms in Thailand, Yadphet’s appointment as a female funeral director had not raised any eyebrows. She disclosed that there were no issues or hesitations, and, surprisingly, the funeral hosts had been incredibly welcoming and appreciative of her work and services.
Currently, Yadphet’s reach as a funeral director extends to six temples within Tha Mai district. She was hesitant when asked about her earnings, mentioning a figure “around 3,000 baht” without elaborating whether this was her charge per funeral service. However, Yadphet’s dedication to her role cannot be weighed solely in monetary terms. She portrays a sincere willingness to support people who cannot afford to shoulder the costs of a funeral, thus presenting a human face beyond the on-screen portrayal of the Undertaker.