The trailer for BBC’s upcoming series A Suitable Boy is out now. The show is a six-part miniseries based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Vikram Seth. Written by Andrew Davies, who is best known for the original British drama House of Cards, the series is directed by Mira Nair. It stars Tabu, Ishaan Khatter, Tanya Maniktala, Rasika Dugal, Ram Kapoor among many others. The series will premier on BBC One and BBC iPlayer on July 26.

The Trailer

The plot of A Suitable Boy is set in the newly independent India and follows four families. The trailer presents Tanya Maniktala as Lata, who is in the middle of making up her mind about marriage. Coming from a typical North-Indian family from 1950s, she is forced to choose between several suitors put forward by her mother. In fact, the title of the series itself refers to this desperate persistence of the mother, Mrs Rupa Mehra, searching for a ‘suitable boy’ for Lata. Despite her mother’s insistence, we see Lata’s character in the trailer falling in love with a Muslim man.

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On the other hand, there is Mann, played by Ishaan Khatter, who is smitten by a courtesan Saeeda Bai, portrayed by Tabu. The one-minute-twelve-seconds trailer features several romantic scenes involving Ishaan and Tabu’s characters. This love story doesn’t go down well with Mann’s politician father, played by Ram Kapoor, who wants his son to follow his footsteps in politics. And all of this is happening in the backdrop of escalating tensions and bloody riots: the recently-partitioned and newly-independent India is, after all, preparing to hold its first-ever general election.

High Expectations

Vikram Seth’s 1993 novel, on which the series is based, sprawls across 1300 pages (and more). It is considered one of the longest novels ever published in the English language. Seth’s timeless story touches upon innumerable themes, some including generational conflict, religious prejudices, familial values and oppression, the war between modernity and traditions, among others. This six-episode miniseries has already set for itself a gigantic task of adapting such a huge novel.  No doubt, the trailer raises many familiar (to those who know the original story) thematic beats from Seth’s work. The cinematography looks magnificent (the panoramic shots of the ghats are breath-taking!) as are the production values of the series.

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Being an ardent fan of Seth’s writing, there remains an ingrained fear of whether the adaptation will be able to do justice to the novel. Although, I must admit that the expectations are high, given the stellar cast and Mira Nair’s previous nuanced adaptations of complex novels like Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake and Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist. And as far as the trailer is concerned, it feels like the creators are doing their best to remain true to the spirit of Seth’s magnum opus.


Picture Credits: BBC

Dyuti Gupta is an intern with SheThePeople.TV. The views expressed are the author’s own.

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