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'Sunshine' puts a serious spin on the romcom

News Desk

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Fri, June 22, 2018  /  08:27 am

Over-the-top streaming service Viu has premiered its latest Indonesian romance-drama series Sunshine. Alyandra Pandjipoera directed its 13 episodes, which star Dion Wiyoko, Laura Basuki and Rianti Cartwright.

Sunshine joins several Viu Indonesia originals, including Switch, The Publicist and Kenapa Harus Bule? (Why does it have to be a foreigner?). The series is exclusively available for Viu subscribers, with new episodes released every Wednesday and Thursday.

The drama series, which debuted on May 31, tells the story of Langit (Dion Wiyoko), an advertising executive whose marriage is on the brink of collapse. Langit’s pre-teen son Reno cannot comprehend the complexities of divorce, and constantly bombards his father with questions about why his mother is not living with them anymore. 

The situation is exacerbated when Reno stumbles four photographs, each depicting his father with four different women during his days as a university student. Langit retells the story of meeting the women, changing the names as a sort of puzzle so that Reno can figure out for himself which one is his mother.

Matahari (Laura Basuki), an independent woman and Langit’s confidante; Bumi (Sheila Dara), a kindly woman who is Langit’s first love; Bintang (Rianti Cartwright), the ambitious yet lonely celebrity; and Bulan (Jill Gladys), a hardworking woman from a modest family.

Langit is connected to the four women at different stages in his life.

“Bumi was his first love in his university days, while it’s a different story altogether with Bintang because she is a celebrity. Matahari is the most intense character because she is the tomboy who butts heads a lot with Langit, but they end up closer,” Dion said.

Meanwhile, Laura, who plays Matahari, said that even though most of her scenes were with Langit, she also enjoyed her scenes with Langit’s best friend Komet (Junior Liem).

“There are many humorous scenes of Matahari and Komet. One of the most memorable scenes is when they disagree over whether or not to tell Langit news that would shock him.”

Jill said the character of Bulan shared some similarities with herself in terms of personality, especially at the beginning of her character arc.

“Bulan’s personality when meeting Langit for the first time is a bit like myself: rather cold, not too sentimental. As time goes on, she warms up to Langit and falls for him,” Jill said, noting that the gradual changes in personality is very apparent, culminating in a notable moment for the character.

Sheila describes Bumi as a reserved young woman who does everything her parents tell her to, as seen from the choices she took in life.

“She also has some similarities to myself, as I respect my parents’ wishes. However, Bumi’s love life is dictated by her parents, whereas I have my own say in mine.”

The story is described in flashbacks, like the hit sitcom How I Met Your Mother, substituting the canned laughter track with an emphasis on drama surrounding the intricacies of love.

Alyandra, who also directed other series for Viu such as 24 Karat, YOLOand Call Me Ai, said the series was produced with techniques used in feature-length films from pre-production to post-production.

“The challenge is in setting the flow of the story; how it can look like a movie while being able to be enjoyed on a mobile phone as well,” Alyandra said, adding that he believed the story could relate to male audiences as well.

With a love story geared toward millennial viewers, Viu’s Sunshine would certainly attract drama lovers with the usual romance tropes such as unrequited love and heartbreak. However, the exploration of divorce and past flames should set it apart from other cliché-filled movies. (jlm)

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