I grew up in a household where choosing your partner yourself was highly encouraged, so when I saw A Suitable Boy, it gave me a glimpse of the flip side of the coin, and that too set in an era which I have only seen through films.
Based on popular author Vikram Seth's one of the bestsellers, A Suitable Boy, this 6-episodic series brings about the challenges faced by a young girl, Lata (Tanya Maniktala) with a mind of her own, when she is asked by her mother to marry a boy of her choice.
On a parallel plot, there is a story of a young man, Maan Kapoor (Ishaan Khatter), madly in love with a courtesan (Tabu aka Saeeda Bai) and how that changes things between him and his family, who don't approve of the relationship, especially his father, who is also the Revenue Minister (Ram Kapoor).
And amidst these two plots you will find another sub-plot. The series also takes the route of becoming a political satire, as it deals with the post-independence and post-partition land reform bills, Hindu-Muslim feud, abolishment of Zamindari system.
I haven't read the novel, so I cannot argue with those who feel that the book is better than the series. From what I saw, I feel Andrew Davies has adapted the film beautifully and Mira Nair has done a tremendous job in bringing Vikram Seth's characters to life. She blends the 3 plots seamlessly and you find yourself lost in the stories and struggles of Mira's characters. The old-school romance, the charm of the 50s era, the nuances- she nails it to a great extent.
Coming to the performances, my favourite has to be Ishaan Khatter. This boy will just blow your mind off with his sincerity. Maan Kapoor is a twisted character to play but Ishaan gives it all. The leading lady, Tanya Maniktala also gives a great performance. She is looking pretty and fits perfectly as Lata. Her 3 suitors- Kabir Durani, played by Danesh Razvi, Amit Chatterji played by Mikhail Sen and Haresh Khanna played by Namit Das- have given a 10 on 10 performance. All of them win your heart and give an edge to their characters. I can't blame Lata to be confused.
Tabu as Saeeda Bai once again proves that no matter what the character is, the actress will soak herself totally in it and that's what she did here as well. Other supporting cast like Ram Kapoor, Aamir Bashir, Mahira Kakkar, Vijay Verma, Vijay Raaz, Aahana Goswami, Rasika Duggal contribute brilliantly to the series. Though I felt Randeep Hooda was wasted as Billy Irani.
The look and feel of the series is just the way it should be. It will take you back to the era, where India was still under the influence of British Raj but yet it was finding its own identity. The clothes given to the characters totally look relatable.
In all, A Suitable Boy is a must-watch for those who romance such genres of cinema. You may feel its losing pace at some places but that doesn't hamper a lot. Kudos to Mira Nair and the entire team of the film. I will say it's absolutely binge-worthy and give it 3.5 stars.
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