Detail: Drama / Documentary
Title: King Naresuan : Episode 2
Year : 2007
Starring : Wonchana Sawasdee, Chatchai Plengpanich, Jakkrit Amarat.
Director : Chatrichalerm Yukol
Sound : Thai
Release date : 20 June 2007
The film portrays King Naresuan's life, the great king who ruled Siam from 1590 until his death in 1605. He conquered the wars and declared the freedom to Ayudhya, the homeland that was invaded by Burma's troop. The film is directed by Chatrichalerm Yukol and is a followup to his 2003 film, The Legend of Suriyothai.
Naresuan, born in 1555, was the son of King Maha Thammaracha by his chief queen, who was the daughter of King Chakkraphat. He had been taken off to Burma as a hostage for his fatherΓ??s good behavior in 1564; he returned home in 1571 only when his sister was presented to King Bayinnaung.
Though Naresuan was then only 16 years old, his father sent him north to take charge of the Phitsanulok region, thereby maintaining the Sukhothai line's traditional claim on the manpower of that region. At the same time, Naresuan was officially designated uparat, heir-presumptive to the throne of Ayudhya. Over the next decade, he matured to power and demonstrated his great military capabilities in several actions against Cambodia. In the midst of Ayudhya's difficulties in 1581-82, the young prince was sent to Pegu to represent his father in paying homage to King Nandabayin, who had succeeded Bayinnaung at the end of 1581.
There he must have seen at first hand the factionalism and jockeying for power that soon threatened to shake the powerful Burmese Empire apart.
Legend has it that, in the course of that visit, Naresuan participated with his troops in a Burmese expedition against a Shan state and succeeded in taking a city after the Burmese crown prince and another prince had failed to do so. He thereby gained the jealous enmity of the crown prince, and the Ayudhya chronicle's accounts of the Thai-Burmese conflict that followed are enlivened by the personal rivalry and animosity between the two men.
Soon, relations between Pegu and Ayudhya worsened. In 1583, reports reached Naresuan that the Burmese were constructing a road toward Ayudhya; and in the following year, Naresuan was summoned to assist Nandabayin in a campaign against a rival prince in Ava. Naresuan complied and marched with his troops from Phitsanulok to the Mon region of the lower Salween River.
There he was informed that the Burmese planned to ambush and kill him. After rounding up captives in the region, he marched back to Phitsanulok and then moved down river to Ayudhya, bringing with him considerable numbers of men to bolster the defenses of the capital. Naresuan now clearly was in defiance of the Burmese court.
When a small force sent to punish him early in 1585 was easily repulsed, the Burmese sent vast expedition against Ayudhya in 1585-86 and 1586-87, but on both occasions Naresuan was able to withstand them. In the latter case, he also dealt successfully with a small Cambodian attack. Following the death of King Maha Thammaracha in June 1590, Naresuan formally became king of Ayudhya, perhaps appointing his younger brother Ekathotsarot as his junior co-ruler; soon thereafter the Burmese resumed their attacks.
Annual expeditions culminated in a major Burmese offensive at the end of 1592. Led by the crown prince, Naresuan's old rival, Burmese troops marched over the Three Pagodas Pass to Kanchanaburi and from there northward toward Suphanburi, aiming to approach Ayudhya from the west. Informed of their approach, Naresuan led a force from the city and encountered the Burmese at Nong Sarai, twenty-three kilometers northwest of present-day Suphanburi. A massive battle between the two forces ensued on January 18, 1593. The Burmese won the initial skirmishes and pressed down hard on Naresuan's main force. Rather than reinforced his vanguard, Naresuan stood his ground while the Burmese rushed forward, breading ranks in pursuit of the crumbling vanguard. Naresuan and his brother, Ekathotsarot, then plunged into the fray mounted atop war elephants and, on seeing the elephant of the Burmese crown prince, advanced toward it. To the crown prince, Naresuan shouted out, Γ??Come forth and let us fight an elephant duel for the honor of our kingdoms.Γ?? In a few moments it was all over. As the two elephants closed, the crown prince slashed a glancing blow at Naresuan with his war scythe, whereupon his body lay exposed to a sudden slash of Naresuan's sword. The crown prince was slain, and the Burmese army fell into disarray and retreated toward Kanchanaburi. The Ayudhya army followed, inflicting heavy casualties upon them. Ayudhya's independence now was secured, and for the next generation, the Burmese kings would be on the defensive against Ayudhya, the tables of war thus turning for the first time in 30 years.