Television

A Suitable Boy Comes To Acorn TV

One of the BBC’s most ambitious and cinematic TV series ever makes its highly-anticipated Stateside debut on Acorn TV this December: A Suitable Boy, an epic tale of life and love set in vibrant 1950s India in the first screen adaptation of the classic, bestselling, 1,349-page novel of the same name by Vikram Seth. With a dynamic cast of India’s most well-known actors alongside rising stars, this six-part, six-hour drama tells the story of spirited university student Lata Mehra as she comes of age in North India at the same time as the country is carving out its own identity as an independent nation and is about to go to the polls for its first democratic general election. A Suitable Boy will premiere exclusively on Acorn TV in the U.S. and Canada with two episodes on Monday, December 7, 2020, and weekly episodes every Monday through January 4, 2021. This series premiered on BBC One on July 26, 2020, as one of its highest-rated launches this year.

Recently the first series ever to close the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival, this sweeping period drama is directed by Oscar-nominated film director Mira Nair in her television series debut and adapted by Andrew Davies. Shot in stunning locations exclusively in India last year, this drama features BBC’s first-ever all-Indian lead cast including Indian screen legend Tabu and Bollywood leading man Ishaan Khatter. Vikram Seth is one of the series’ executive producers.

A Suitable Boy is a vast, panoramic tale charting the fortunes of four interwoven families across northern India in 1951 – four years after India declared independence from the British. Their stories play out during this most tumultuous period and reflect the wider conflict between tradition and modernity at the time, as the series explores the country and its rich and varied culture at a crucial point in its history – through eye-popping, colorful scenes of ornate wedding and funeral ceremonies, religious festivals and rituals, passionate riots and political fights, and haunting musical performances.

The series’ central female character is 19-year-old literature student Lata Mehra (portrayed by rising star Tanya Maniktala), who seems to have her life already mapped out, thanks to old traditions – and her meddling yet well-intentioned mother, Rupa, who wants to find her a suitable husband. Torn between family duty and the excitement of romance and inspired by rebellious Western writers and daring new ideas, Lata is determined to embark on her own journey of love and self-discovery as she decides her own future against the turbulent backdrop of post-Partition India. Over the course of the series, three very different men try to win Lata’s heart: the dashing, yet mysterious university student and star cricket player Kabir Durrani, self-made shoe salesman Haresh Khanna, and lawyer-turned-writer Amit Chatterji.

Connected to Lata through their siblings’ marriage, the charming and passionate but directionless Maan Kapoor is determined to enjoy life to the fullest. His behavior has been hugely disappointing for his father, the progressive Revenue Minister Mahesh Kapoor, who can’t let anything unbalance his political career at a crucial moment.  However, when Raam becomes infatuated with the glamorous yet much older singer and courtesan Saaeda Bai, the consequences could be catastrophic. His best friend is lawyer Firoz Ali Khan, son of the wealthy Nawab Sahib of Baktar.

Says Mira Nair about the series: “A Suitable Boy has been one of my favorite novels since the day it was written. I read it repeatedly and felt as if it was my best friend. I felt a sense of great companionship and understanding and a sense of evoking a time in India in which I longed to have lived…It’s an extraordinary tale of love and friendship across class and certainly across religion. Vikram Seth is able to reach the depths of human relationships – the heart, the mind, and love in all its peculiarities. It’s universal and affects and relates to everyone…[The series] gives me this vast canvas as I have 113 actors in the show and six hours to let the story unfold…It’s so full of surprises and rhythms, where things need their time and their pace.”

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