A Suitable Boy, story of search by a woman as well as the country’s future: Mira Nair

Image: A Suitable Boy. Image credit: TIFF


Toronto, Sep 23 (Canadian-Media): Directed by Mira Nair, the recipient of the Jeff Skoll Award in Impact Media for her Vikram Seth’s six-part drama series adaptation, ‘A Suitable Boy’, presents an adaptation of a young Indian woman Lata Mehra (Tanya Maniktala) struggles to create a balance between family duty and personal independence in post-partition India.

In her award acceptance speech during the 2020 TIFF Tribute Award ceremony, Nair, who is credited as a master of story-telling at its global reach, said, “I have often said that if we don’t tell our own stories, no one else will.”

Nair’s six-part drama series is an adaptation from Vikram Seth’s novel about a young Indin woman’s struggle to create a balance between family duty and personal independence in post-partition India.

Vikram Seth’s 1993 novel ‘A Suitable Boy’ inspired by a conversation he overheard on a city bus, between a mother and daughter who were debating arranged marriages, formed the basis for Nair and screenwriter Andrew Davies to begin their episodic adaptation of his novel with a wedding. 

Nair and Davies’ main focus was on two of the novel’s central characters: sister- and brother-in-law Lata Mehra (Tanya Maniktala) and Maan Kapoor (Ishaan Khatter).

Lata’s love life is being dictated by her mother (Mahira Kakkar), while Maan’s father (Ram Kapoor) attempts to make him more politically engaged. Both young people burdened with their parents’ expectations try to find their independence in India in 1951, is a post-partition era while the country is approaching its first general election. The political landscape of a country in transition is reflected by the rebellious energy of Lata and Maan.

Produced by Lydia Dean Pilcher, Aradhana Seth and executive produced by Mira Nair, Andrew Davies, Vikram Seth, Faith Penhale, Laura Lankester, Will Johnston, Lydia Dean Pilcher, and Aradhana Seth, filmed in India, the casts of the film ‘A Suitable Boy’ are Tabu, Ishaan Khatter, Tanya Maniktala, and Mahira Kakkar 

Born in Rourkela, India,  now living in New York, Nair studied at Delhi University and Harvard University. Her feature films include the Academy Award-nominated Salaam Bombay!, Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love, the Venice Golden Lion winner Monsoon Wedding, The Namesake, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, and Queen of Katwe. A Suitable Boy is her latest work for television. 

(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)