Coming Soon: A Suitable Boy

Andrew (Pride & Prejudice, Les Miserables) Davies’ latest period drama adaptation, A Suitable Boy, will stream next month on Netflix.

Director Mira Nair (The Namesake, Vanity Fair) has dubbed the six-part dramatisation of the Vikram Seth novel “The Crown made brown” and much has been made of this being the first BBC series to feature an all-brown cast. Said Screen Daily:

Set in 1951, A Suitable Boy is one of the longest novels ever published, travelling the breadth of India and chronicling four extended families over 18 months; political, religious and personal upheavals swirling around the search for a husband for the effervescent young college student Lata Mehra. The strain of condensing all this into six episodes shows, but perhaps the most surprising element is the occasional broadness of Nair’s approach, the lurches between a comedic style of acting and urgent political issues, all dressed in gorgeous visuals and adorned with exquisite music. A Suitable Boy eventually settles into its soapy beauty, but the viewer does need to keep the faith.

The Independent observed British creators of Indian period drama “struggle to get past all the tourist-board cliches and creaking colonial buildings. Channel 4’s Indian Summers in 2015 was glossy but slight. The less said about last year’s Beecham House on ITV, the better.

“On paper, A Suitable Boy is more promising. It was shot on location, so the buildings and landscapes at least look vaguely accurate. There’s dust in the air. English mingles with Urdu and Hindustani …

“For all its good intentions, this is still an orange-filtered fantasy version of India, where the characters speak English with the same mannered Indian accents and nobody can do anything without a sitar twanging.”

The Guardian concurred A Suitable Boy was “beautiful, expensive and groundbreaking in its casting, yet … still feels uncomfortably old-school”.

But Radio Times thought the premiere “a joy from start to finish … By the end of episode one, the seeds of violence and heartbreak have already been sewn, in addition to a scandalous secondary storyline involving adultery and melted-down family medals”.

Rotten Tomatoes’ critical consensus was: “A Suitable Boy‘s concise approach to its sprawling source material may leave fans wanting, but stunning set pieces and charming performances make for a suitable introduction.”

The series went to air in the UK in July; Netflix has yet to disclose when in October it will stream.

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