Just the other day, one of my friends, fellow blogger Angie Chui, mentioned my name on Facebook when she found out that Pure Love—the Korean late night drama aired in ABS-CBN is SBS’s 49 Days. I’m not surprised though given the tendency of most Korean production units to change titles and oftentimes funny ones at that. Pure Love, I think, was the title chosen by ABS but I prefer to stick to the original title which gained more popularity among K-drama addicts.
The truth is I have finished watching the entire 20 episodes months before I learned ABS-CBN bought the rights to air the show to secure an upper hand against rival GMA-7 which started running Secret Garden (starring Ha Ji Won and Hyun Bin). I watched this show because of Lee Yo Won (Bad Love, Queen Seon Deok) whom I admired for her spectacular role in QSD which GMA-7 also previously aired. If you have watched this drama or still watching it, you’d find that the six leads in this drama—Lee Yo Won (the convenience store worker), Jung Il Woo (the handsome grim reaper, oh wait he prefers to be called the “Scheduler”), Nam Gyu Ri ( who played Ji Hyun the girl who was supposed to get married), Jo Hyun Jae (the boy who loved Ji Hyun secretly), Seo Ji Hye (the backstabbing BFF) and Bae Soo Bin (the two-timing boyfriend)—all made an outstanding portrayal of their roles. For one, I could tell, Lee Yo Won led this drama real time for playing two characters in one shot (really superb!). Honestly, this drama brought me to one hell of a roller-coaster emotional ride.
Forty-nine days is actually based on the Buddhist belief on death, 49 being the estimated time it takes a spirit to be reborn again into a new life after dying. I don’t know if you have heard of this, but there’s a story of a woman who asked Buddha in great anguish, pleading that her dead child be brought back to life. To fulfill her wish, the Buddha asked her to bring to him a mustard seed from any household where no one had ever died. The woman attempted to search for such seed from houses but in vain. Her futile attempt made her realize the universality of death.
Thus, the story goes…Ji Hyun (NGR) was at the prime of her life, living a princess life, an heiress adored by her wealthy parents. She prepares to get engaged to (BSB) a man, who outwardly is a cool, caring guy, but unknown to her and her family is setting them up to take over the family’s multi-billion hotel and resort business. Then one day, when she was gearing up for her wedding, she figured in a car accident and was declared brain dead. While her mom and dad, fiancée, and friends, including another female friend and JHJ were grief-stricken to watch her in a coma, Ji Hyun’s spirit is aware of all things going on. With the help of the ‘Scheduler’, she was put to task to collect tears from three people who would shed genuine tears for her so she could go back to life. To accomplish her mission, she borrows Yi Kyung’s body (LYW) who lives on the other side of the globe (well not exactly). She goes through the motions of living, acting like she’s the “living dead.” She lost a boyfriend to a road accident five years ago and still hasn’t moved on. It was quite clear from the start of the episodes she’s dealing with an unfinished business and one that has dragged her life down on the pit. Along the way, Ji Hyun realizes a lot of things and how to deal with the people she loved most and the people she thought she could trust. Incidentally, the ‘Scheduler’ turns out to be Yi Kyung’s dead boyfriend.
To say that this show is a tear-jerker is an understatement. I wept many times especially in the latter episodes when I realized how this show is going to end. I congratulate the writer of this drama, So Hyeon Kyeong (who also wrote Brilliant Legacy/Shining Legacy). The over-all plot was unpredictable, heartwarming, and cruelly realistic. But that’s life. This show reiterates the impermanence of life and that everything that we cherish and wish to hold on is ephemeral. But no matter how brief our life on earth may be, we are assured of a life on the other side—an eternal life that we ought to look forward to with much hope and peace.