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The First Episode Of A Suitable Boy Is Out: Here’s What Critics Have To Say

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The first episode of the BBC series A Suitable Boy has been released. The show is a six-part miniseries based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Vikram Seth. Set in the 1950s India, it tells the story of four families whose lives are all interconnected with each other at some point. The series is written by Andrew Davies, who has earlier adapted works of fiction like Pride and Prejudice and War & Peace for the BBC. A Suitable Boy is directed by Mira Nair, who is well-know for her adaptations of complex novels like Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake and Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist. The episode can be viewed on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. Netflix has also announced that it’ll air the show on its platform soon.

Twitterati Give Their Verdict

Many have praised the show’s production values, and of course, there is the fact that this is the first period drama in the history of the BBC to feature a cast entirely consisting of people of colour — Tanya Maniktala, Mahira Kakkar, Tabu, Shahana Goswami, Ishaan Khatter, Rasika Dugal, Ram Kapoor, to name a few. Although twitterati have not responded as expected for such a star-studded show.

One user wrote, “Ten minutes into #ASuitableBoy and it is painfully clear that this series was written for a predominantly white audience. And as much as I want to give it a chance, I’m too aware of its colonial/Western stereotypes. The makers could have had a lot more faith in their audience.”

Another person subtly snubbed it by saying,” I really want #ASuitableBoy to be good but here I am on my phone.”

One user plaunly called episode one a bad start for what was to come,  writing, “It was great BBC wanted to invest in a production like #ASuitableBoy but it has got off to a poor start. I am predicting largely negative reviews and a ratings decline. On positive side #IshaanKhatter is outstanding and injects energy into a painfully slow drama.”

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What Critics Have To Say

Raja Sen, a critic for Mint Lounge wrote in his review, “Here we have a cast of mostly talented Indian actors trying, bafflingly, to sound browner. The cadences are unforgivable as characters try to add weird Hindi-esque lilts to English sentences.” Although praising some of the actors who featured in the first episode, he called the show a “feeble adaptation” that was “soap-operatic” and “tedious”.

Chitra Ramaswamy of The Guardian both praised and critiqued the show by saying, “The production values are high, the performances poised and the locations stunning, from the dusty markets of Calcutta to the fictional university town of Brahmpur. But The Crown is permitted to move at a stately pace. A Suitable Boy has to run to keep up. It deserved at least 12 episodes. After all, Seth’s sprawling and deeply humane novel is one of the longest books in English.”

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On other hand, Anita Singh, the Entertainment Editor for the Telegraphwrote, “Andrew Davies has stripped away all the fat from Vikram Seth’s enormous novel and left us with a gorgeous TV drama.” Ed Cumming minced no words while writing for The Independent, For all its good intentions, this is still an orange-filtered fantasy version of India, where the characters speak English with the same mannered Indian accents and nobody can do anything without a sitar twanging.

Image Credit: BBC

Dyuti Gupta is an intern with SheThePeople.TV.