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Taking Us Back to Post-Independence Era-A Suitable Boy Series BBC Series

lata from a suitable boy
Tanya Maniktala as Lata from A Suitable Boy

Set in the immediate post-independence era, the BBC TV series A Suitable Boy’s trailer was simply exciting. However the 6 episodes series adaptation of the famous best-selling novel A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth has left many questions un-answered.

Compressing one of the longest novels ever into a 6 episode series must involve eliminating a lot of context from the book. Well, I can’t comment more on it since I haven’t read Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy.

The first few episodes have nothing much to offer apart from introducing us to the characters. I somewhere felt like the makers stuffed the entire story in the last two episodes.

The story revolves around Lata, a young, confident college student whose mother is in search of a suitable boy for her. Lata is now to in a dilemma to choose from the three men in her life- Kabir Durani, her Muslim classmate;  Amit Chatterjee, a poet; Haresh Khanna, her mother’s choice.

Ishaan Khatter as Maan Kapoor
Ishaan Khatter as Maan Kapoor

Another leading character Maan (played by Ishaan Khatter) also has so many layers. We are introduced to him as an irresponsible rich brat but over the episodes we see him coming out as an influential person with a bright future. The series could have explored more of Maan Kapoor. The scenes where he is in jail had so much potential in bringing out Maan, his suffering and transformation, and much more. I ended up wanting more of Maan.

The characters that got a proper closure and overall completeness are Vijay Varma’s Rasheed and Namit Das’s Haresh Khanna. Rasheed was an intense and desperate character and Vijay Verma executed it to perfection. Haresh Khanna, as already mentioned, is a businessman, extremely hardworking. We see him as a dedicated and successful shoemaker who is so much in love with Lata. Namit Das was just perfect as Haresh.

The casting is one of the best things about a suitable boy. Tanya Maniktala was stunningly beautiful as Lata.  Ishaan Khatter as Maan Kapoor also did a splendid job. From Ram Kapoor to Tabu, everyone suited their respective roles so well.

The post-independence era in 1953 is beyond just an orange filtered fantasy version of India. The trains, the buildings, the dresses, everything comprehends the country in the 50s.

Some exciting moments of the series are its take on Hindu Nationalism and the rise of Indian politics. We witness an India preparing for its first democratic election. The Hindu-Muslim tension is another impactful subtext of the series.

Now going to some questions left unanswered in the series!

OK, Spoiler Alert!

Lata’s sister-in-law Meenakshy’s affair with Billy Irani (Randeep Hooda) is left incomplete. I was expecting an ending to it but looks like they carried on with their affair unaffected by anything.

Lata’s uncle attempts to molest her. She is shown affected by it with memories haunting her but the significance of the scene is not obvious. It had nothing to do afterward in the storyline.

Though Lata’s decision to reject Kabir didn’t seem convincing, her choice to marry Haresh was fair enough. Yes, Haresh was a good person but so was Kabir, but choosing Haresh was just once again reaffirming the patriarchal notions – The person chosen by your family is your “suitable boy” and that religion matters above everything. I felt really sorry for Kabir.

A Suitable Boy will release soon on Netflix.


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