Andrew Davies is a name familiar to many of us from Sunday night TV. He is the BBC’s veteran adaptor of classic novels – he wrote the scripts for the Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice, Middlemarch, House of Cards, Vanity Fair, War and Peace, Wives and Daughters, Bleak House and many more. He has recently been tackling a vast tome of a novel – A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth which is 1,394 pages. The BBC has just announced the cast for the new 6-part TV series and it will make history as the first South-Asian epic on mainstream British TV and the first to be made without a single British actor.
The coming series is being referred to as ‘the Crown in Brown’. Andrew Davies has loved working on the script (he describes the novel as ‘Austenesque’) and filming will begin in India soon. It will be directed by Mira Nair who directed Monsoon Wedding.
The novel was published in 1993 and it tells the stories of four families in post-partition India. It also discusses political issues, the question of caste, the decline of feudal families, reforms, and of course love. Vikram Seth did talk of a sequel called ‘A Suitable Girl’, due in 2017, but there has been no recent word of that.
I loved the novel and found it very hard to put down (I also loved Seth’s An Equal Music, which would make a good film too). It had humour, pathos, the turbulence of political change, and some memorable characters. Surely Mrs Rupa Mehra, the mother seeking a suitor for her daughter, is the modern Indian version of Mrs Bennet?
Have you read A Suitable Boy? Did you enjoy it? Please leave a comment to tell me.