A Suitable Boy is a drama mini-series directed by Mira Nair and starring Tabu, Ishaan Khatter, Tanya Maniktala, Rasika Dugal, and Ram Kapoor. The series is adapted from Vikram Seth’s 1300-page novel of the same name.
A Suitable Boy (Episode 1) Review:
“This is a stupid world we live in.”
The first episode of A Suitable Boy is mostly expositional which is expected when you have a 1300-page-long ambitious project. The story starts off with a big-fat Indian wedding where Savita is getting married to Pran Kapoor. Sure enough, you have your usual taste of Indian weddings, with judgemental uncles and aunties telling the next in line that their time is near, and the parents freaking out about it.
Savita’s sister, Lata, is a 19-year-old university student, and she dreams of enjoying freedom, and jokes to her mother, Rupa, that she doesn’t want to marry, much to her chagrin. However, Rupa is very serious about finding her daughter a match, and wastes no time in enlisting everyone in her family with the task.
There’s also Lata’s brother-in-law, Maan, whose fun, child-like attitude imbibes some peppiness in the show. That is, until both of these people fall in love. Lata falls for her fellow university-mate Kabir and Maan falls for sensuous (and much older) singer Saeeda Bai.
Lata and Kabir’s romance is pretty bland, and the poetry readings don’t help. However, Maan, on the other hand, has a much more interesting, and torrid, love affair (atleast for now).
All this takes place in the backdrop of the Hindu-Muslim tensions, and the politics that is shown here might just be holding a mirror to our country’s present political scenario. There’s some great portrayal of Hindu nationalism that you won’t be able to not notice and relate to.
Mira Nair also brings out some great acting from her artists. Ishaan Khatter, Tabu, Ram Kapoor and everyone else is pretty great to watch.
A Suitable Boy’s first episode also doesn’t forget to remind you that the show is, by no means, about “ordinary people.” These people stay in swanky house and their every need is served by a quiet servant. It’s a glamorous representation of post-colonial India, where Lata and her family are not at all concerned about money, or anything else. There’s one mention of someone in Maan’s family losing land due to the partition, but that’s about it.
But all that being said, the first episode is definitely an interesting watch. It’s bright and glamorous and touches on important topics when necessary. There’s also a Holi festival, for added Indian-ness. Since I am more used to binging entire seasons a day, I can’t, honestly, wait to watch the next episode, since post the end scene, we do get a glimpse of what to expect there – and it promises ample drama to look forward to.
A Suitable Boy is streaming on BBC One.
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