A Suitable Boy, a BBC television production directed by Mira Nair that is based on a novel written by Vikram Seth. The series is setup in the 50s, and in an era where people valued family bonds and relationships. The mini series explores the struggles we face to this day between Hindu/Muslim relationships and the hardships that come along with it. The story follows Lata Mehra who is a young beautiful and vibrant woman and is in love with Kabir who is Muslim. On the other side of the love triangle, Amit is a writer and a poet who is a flirt and is in a battle to win Lata’s heart too. Amongst this love triangle, there is another entry who is a shoe maker who is hated by everyone in the family except for the mother.
The story’s revolves around the subject of the parental control over a girl’s future and her arranged marriage, taken to a another whole level by the single minded determination of an indulgent mother. In the case of our heroine Lata, her choice of the suitable boy during the modern day “swayamvar” is deemed legitimate so long as she will toe the line drawn by her guardian, and although all is well that ends well, the question about the uncertainty of the future remains. However, the central theme apart, A Suitable Boy also has a meaningful coverage of several other social issues like politics, power, competition, interfaith relationships, the rich and poor divide, rebellious youth and its potential effects, deep family bonding, feudal issues and communal harmony. Mira Nair’s ability to intertwine these issues with the central theme keeps the narrative breezy, interesting, diverse even when it plunges from being lighthearted to parlous.
Mira Nair’s direction is superb and the cinematography in the series is brilliant and makes its a treat to watch. And credit needs to be given to the costume designers and the set designers who capture the era perfectly and make you feel like you are time travelling. The post-partition era depicted in the series shows rural India and the culture left behind by the British.
The casting is perfect for the series and rather larger than life. The show also features the classy Tabu in an enchanting role and she gave her role proper justice along with Ishaan who definitely has a promising future in Bollywood. Tanya Maniktala is charming and effervescent in the central role of Lata but some people may question if she was the right fit for this role, and Mahira Kakkar defines the role of her mother. The show also features Danesh Razvi, Shubham Saraf, Shahana Goswami, Vivaan Shah, Vijay Varma and young Yusuf Akhtar as the adorable Bhaskar Tandon. Be sure to watch ‘A Suitable Boy’, it definitely touches on subjects that will challenge the norms and some people may find them objectionable but raises the right questions for today’s time as well.
“A Suitable Boy” is exclusively available in North America on the Acorn TV streaming service with new episodes every Monday. Visit acorn.tv for more details.
Watch the trailer below:
Updates (Dec 14, 2020): Article has been updated with links to watching the show on Acorn TV for North American viewers along with the updated trailer.