If you’re a fan of Pride and Prejudice, War and Peace, or Sanditon, we’ve got good news for you: Andrew Davies, the man behind all those TV adaptations, has condensed A Suitable Boy — one of the longest novels in the English language — into six episodes for a brand new BBC One period drama.
Seth’s bestseller is an epic family saga set in the 1950s, as post-partition India grapples with its newfound independence.
The BBC One adaptation (starring Bollywood legend Tabu) was filmed entirely on location in India, and features a star-studded cast.
For our verdict on the series, you can read our A Suitable Boy review. But what exactly is the story about? And who is in the cast? Here’s everything you need to know about A Suitable Boy.
When is A Suitable Boy’s air date?
A Suitable Boy starts Sunday 26th July at 9pm on BBC One. The series will run for six episodes.
This is slightly earlier than expected: as the series only started filming in summer 2019, many predicted a late 2020 premiere. (Follow the link for insights into A Suitable Boy filming locations).
Netflix also has secured the rights to the BBC drama, meaning it will be available on the platform abroad, including in India.
What is A Suitable Boy about?
Based on Vikram Seth’s classic novel, master-adaptor Andrew Davies (Pride and Prejudice, Sanditon) has penned the six-part series, which follows the fortunes of four large families in North India in 1951, just as the nation is acquainting itself with its newfound independence and preparations are being made for the first election.
Andrew Davies, who is adapting A Suitable Boy for television (Getty)Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
University student Lata is determined to carve her own path to independence, rejecting her mother’s attempts to find her “a suitable boy” to marry. Meanwhile wayward young man Maan — connected to Lata through their siblings’ marriage — is an embarrassment to his politician father, and becomes obsessed with the beautiful courtesan Saaeda Bai.
Speaking about the new project, Davies said “I am truly thrilled to be chosen by Vikram Seth to adapt his masterpiece A Suitable Boy for the screen. It’s a charming, almost Austenesque story, with a delightfully relatable heroine, set against the turbulent background of India in the years following Partition.
“It has been a total joy to work on, and I hope that audiences will love it as much as I do.”
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Oscar and BAFTA-nominated director Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding, The Namesake) is helming the project, and said: “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.”
Newcomer Tanya Maniktala leads the A Suitable Boy cast, playing Lata, while Bollywood leading man Ishaan Khatter (best known for his roles in Bollywood films Beyond the Clouds and Dhadak) plays the hedonistic Maan.
Also joining the cast is legendary Indian film actress Tabu (Life of Pi).
Author Seth said of the casting: “We all passionately believed that the series should be filmed in India with an Indian cast, and we have got great locations and wonderful actors. I am confident they will bring my characters brilliantly to life – and I hope they have a really good time doing so.”
Is there a trailer for A Suitable Boy?
Yes! On 11th July 2020, the BBC dropped a beautifully atmospheric trailer for the latest series. It not only shows the main cast in action, but also the stunning settings of the six-part drama.