A Suitable Boy – The DVDfever Review – Vikram Seth, Tabu

A Suitable Boy
A Suitable Boy is set in Bramhpur, 1951, four years after the time when India became independent and was partitioned into two countries. We’re reminded early on that India was free, but the land and the people were divided forever.

As the first episode begins, Lata Mehra (Tanya Maniktala) observes that her sister is about to get married to a man who she only met once before, and even then it was only for an hour. However, that means her mother insists she marries… yes, you’re ahead of me – a suitable boy, and as soon as possible.

So, she goes to University, chances across fellow student Kabir Durrani (Danesh Razvi) in the library, plays all coy, making me wonder if women in India in the ’50s were really exactly the same as TV execs thought American students were in the ’90s in Beverly Hills 90210.

However, she’s a Hindu and he’s a Muslim, so how can they be together? Oh, the plot thinnens(!)

It’s also odd that conversations – which would all take place in their original spoken language of Hindi – are mostly carried out in English, but with occasional Hindi dropped in, mid-conversation. No-one would do that in real life, chopping and changing between the two, but in TV land, it happens all the time.

The godawful cringey dialogue doesn’t help, either. For example, after Saeeda (Tabu) sings a song to an expectant crowd including the lovesick Maan (Ishaan Khatter), who she dubs Dagh Sahib:

Maan (in a stained outfit): “When you sang Dagh’s poem, it pierced my heart.”
Saeeda: “Those stains will fade with time.”
Maan: “The stains on my clothes might, Saeeda Begum… but what of the stain on my heart?”

Oh, pass the sick bag!

A Suitable Boy begins on BBC1 tomorrow night at 9pm. The series is available to pre-order on Blu-ray and DVD, ahead of its release date on October 6th.

You can also buy the Paperback and Hardback.

After broadcast, you can also watch it on the BBC iPlayer.

A Suitable Boy – Series Trailer – BBC

Episode 1 Score: 0/10

Director: Mira Nair
Producers: Lydia Dean Pilcher, Aradhana Seth
Novel: Vikram Seth
Screenplay: Andrew Davies

Lata Mehra: Tanya Maniktala
Rupa Mehra: Mahira Kakkar
Savita Kapoor: Rasika Dugal
Pran Kapoor: Gagan Dev Riar
Kabir Durrani: Danesh Razvi
Maan Kapoor: Ishaan Khatter
Saeeda Bai: Tabu
Mahesh Kapoor: Ram Kapoor

A Suitable Boy is a forthcoming six-part BBC drama telling a vast, panoramic tale, which charts the fortunes of four large families and exploring India and its rich and varied culture at a crucial point in its history.

The series begins on Sunday July 26th on BBC1 at 9pm, and we’ll be bringing you a review of this soon.

Director: Mira Nair
Screenplay: Andrew Davies
Novel: Vikram Seth
Stars: Tanya Maniktala, Mikhail Sen, Danesh Razvi, Mahira Kakkar, Rasika Dugal, Gagan Riar, Ishaan Khattar, Tabu, Ram Kapoor, Shubham Saraf, Sharvari Deshpande

Check out the trailer below:

A Suitable Boy – Official Trailer