Before I begin, I must admit that I have not read the 1500 page Vikram Seth book. My opinions on this series are solely based on how entertaining it is and not on how well it has been adapted.
So think of the all the contemporary great character actors that we have in the mainstream and digital space today, combined. A suitable Boy brings the best of the best together weaved beautifully into a comprehensive art piece. But more on the cast later.
Set in the 1950’s, A suitable boy by Mira Nair transports you to the post- partition India. Opening to a beautiful wedding by the Ganges, it is the bride’s mother Rupa (Mahira Kakkar) who declares that now her soul purpose in life is to find a ‘suitable boy’ for her younger daughter Lata (Tanya Maniktala). As this 6 episode (1500 pages) long series progresses, we meet many prospects for Lata in the backdrop of a grappling newly independent nation.
The entire story mainly revolves around two families the Mehras and the Kapoors, but there are multitude of extensions and complexities within these families. Beside the central story of finding the groom, it jumps between many subplots, political, communal and emotional running parallel, keeping us thoroughly engaged despite the unhurried pace.
The hero of the Suitable boy lies in three things – the cast, the cinematography and the production. It is shot like a painting and narrated like a poem. Magnificent sets, the detailing in taking you from a courtesan’s haveli in UP to a plush party in Kolkotta, the contrast in the costumes, the subtlety in make up, everything is proficiently done. Visually every second feels authentic.
The cast as I said is a long line of great actors. Ram Kapoor and Amir Bashir are rock solid. Tabu weaving magic onscreen is no surprise, it almost feels like a scent of her performance stays along even after she has left the screen. Her camaraderie with Ishaan Khattar as Maan is a treat to watch, Ishaan brings alive the entire spectrum of Maan’s shades with such ease, it is impossible to imagine any two other actors doing what they did. Tanya Maniktala as Lata lights up the screen with the glint in her eyes, as talented as she is, her persistent smile can get mildly annoying by the end of it. Then there are actors like Manoj pahwa, Vijay raaz, Vinay pathak, Ranveer Shorey, Shahana Gohswami, Vivaan Shah and more…all so talented that they all leave a mark despite their limited appearances. The only disappointment is in Randeep Hooda who is wasted in a blink and miss appearance.
One might complain about the selective depiction of just the elite class, the pleasing to the white audience and of course the bookish English, but the bigger and neat picture that Mira Nair paints, makes up for much of its flaws. A suitable boy challenges the short attention span of today’s audiences but if you follow through it is a rare, complete and a fulfilling watch.
Cutting Rating – 3.5/5