What a wonderful gem to be discovered in this spill over miniseries from last year. Based on the best selling 1993 novel by Vikram Seth, this BBC series is directed by the BAFTA award winning Indian American film maker Mira Nair and adapted by Andrew Davies (best known for House of Cards, Pride and Prejudice and Bridget Jones Diary). The cast is made up almost entirely of Indians and filmed on location in North India. However, most of the dialouge is in English mixed with Urdu.
The story is set in post independent North India and has as its forefront the plot of a typical Indian family trying to get a suitable husband for their youngest daughter Lata even while she is being wooed by various eligible bachelors. Arranged marriages are very common in India, even till today. In the background we have the undercurrents of inter religion clashes between Hindus and Muslims, as well as the clash between the way of thinking between the old and the young, the have’s and the have-not’s, and so on. This multi layered story is cleverly and colourfully woven into a mesmerising and captivating tale of romance, fidelity, friendship and tolerance.
Watching A Suitable Boy, it becomes clear to the viewer that this was produced as a labour of love by the film makers. So much beauty and details in every frame, in every word uttered by the characters, in the songs, and music. Everything about this elevates the series to a level that transcends just a simple love story. The side stories involving religious and political clashes, forbidden love, and family values blends in naturally to the main story. All the supporting characters are wonderfully portrayed but for me, the stand out performances comes from our main girl Tanya Maniktala as the dazzling Lata (with her infectious smile) and Ishaan Khattar as the rebellious Mann Kapoor who falls for a songstress with dubious backgrounds and reputations. Lots of raw emotions, and splendidly performed.
Apart from the story and top notched performances, we are also treated to an audio and visual fest of Indian culture. From the hauntingly beautiful melodies and music, to the colourful sets and costumes. Every frame becomes a beautiful image to behold. The film’s ending as to how and who Lata eventually choose as her husband is truly fitting and offers a most satisfying closure. Good choice made Lata! We approve!
There is nothing disagreeable about A Suitable Boy and this is as good as it gets when it comes to TV mini series. I just wish the team would have enough material to continue with its hinted follow-up .. A Suitable Girl. Unfortunately it appears novelist Vikram Seth has not set about writting such a sequel but that shouldn’t stop the film makers from coming up with their own interpretation on what happens next to the lives of Lata and her friends and family.