Vikram Seth's epic novel 'A Suitable Boy' is being turned into a six-part BBC 1 drama
By Barfi Culture Team
13th August 2019

The BBC is adapting Indian writer Vikram Seth's epic novel, A Suitable Boy, for TV screens for the first time. Filming is due to begin soon in India.

The cast is being led by Indian actors Tanya Maniktala, who will play the central role of Lata, Tabu (The Namesake, Life of Pi, Andhadhun) and Ishaan Khatter (Beyond the Clouds, Dhadak). Ms Maniktala is a new actor, best known for a teenage romance web-series last year called Flames.

A Suitable Boy tells the story of university student Lata coming of age in North India in 1951 at the same time as the country is carving out its own identity as an independent nation and is about to go to the polls for its first democratic general election.

The vast tale charts the stories of four large families and explores Indian culture and heritage at a crucial point in its history.

'Lata’s mother is determined to find her a husband - a suitable boy - but Lata, torn between family duty and the excitement of romance, embarks on her own, epic journey of love and self-discovery,' says the BBC's blurb.

The six-part series is being directed by the internationally-acclaimed director Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding, The Namesake, Queen of Katwe). It is being adapted for TV by Andrew Davies (Pride and Prejudice, War & Peace, Les Misérables).

Mira Nair says: "Vikram tells the story of a free India and our people with wit, clarity and love - I am deeply honoured to be the one bringing this intimate, epic tale of an unseen India to the world. Today, A Suitable Boy is timelier than ever. With a mix of legendary and cutting-edge actors from the subcontinent, shooting entirely on location in palaces, villages and streets across northern India, we will keep the history and dream of an alternate India alive."

Mona Qureshi, Executive Producer for the BBC said in a statement: "We are truly honoured that the first ever screen adaptation of Vikram’s iconic novel will be on BBC One. To have such remarkable talent involved in the show - an incredible all-Asian cast, the esteemed Andrew Davies and the wonderful Mira Nair - makes it very special. Production in India is about to start and we couldn’t be more excited."

Given the size of the novel however, it may have been better to turn it into a 600-part series.

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