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Vikram Seth’s classic novel A Suitable Boy has been turned into a six part drama series by Andrew Davies, and will be aired by the BBC from Sunday the 26th of July. But if you don’t live in the UK and don’t have access to the BBC then you are in luck as Netflix has bought the global streaming rights to upcoming BBC One adaptation.
Under the terms of the deal, the streaming giant will be the exclusive home of A Suitable Boy for all global territories, except Canada, the United States and China.
Seth published A Suitable Boy in 1993; deemed as one of the longest novels ever written in the English language at 1,349 pages (1,488 pages paperpack) and 591,552 words.
A Suitable Boy is set in a newly post-independence, post-partition India, that tells the story of Lata and the efforts of her family to find her a husband but the 19-year-old university student refuses to be influenced by her domineering mother or opinionated brother. On a broader scale it deals with the lead up to the first independent election in India after the end of British rule. Intertwined are the lives of four families. Spanning 18 months, the novel is divided into 19 sections each dealing with a different character than the previous section. The novel also offers a political perspective including land-rights, partition, the Hindu-Muslim struggle and the empowerment of women. Some of the 19 sections are set entirely in parliament sessions debating such issues.
The six-part drama series has an all-Indian line-up for including the director Mira Nair and starring Tanya Maniktala as the book’s protagonist, Lata, alongside Bollywood stars Ishaan Khatter (Beyond the Clouds, Dhadak) and Tabu (The Namesake, Life of Pi). The series was shot on location in India.
This is the first time that the BBC is producing a period drama with an all non white cast, though the story has been adapted by Welsh screenwriter Andrew Davies – a choice not without its controversy, with some critics arguing that the iconic work should have been adapted by an Indian screenwriter.