BBC adapting Vikram Seth’s bestselling 1950s India novel ‘A Suitable Boy’

Vikram Seth’s international bestseller A Suitable Boy is coming to television as a new BBC One drama series.

Award-winning Welsh screenwriter Andrew Davies, who adapted the BBC’s epic War & Peace last year, will adapt the novel for screen for the first time “with his signature blend of warmth, wit and humanity.”

Published in 1993, Seth’s modern classic tells the story of a young woman’s search for love and identity in a newly independent, post-Partition India defining its own future.

The Indian novelist and poet says: “It is a great pleasure to collaborate with the BBC and Andrew Davies on an adaptation of A Suitable Boy. I have carried with me for a long time the stories of Lata, her family and the many people they encounter. With Andrew and his team I feel they are in good hands, and I greatly look forward to seeing them brought to life for television.”

Screenwriter Andrew Davies adds: “Lata’s trials of the heart speak as loudly to me now as when I first read Vikram’s epic novel two decades ago. She is a great literary heroine in the tradition of Jane Austen and George Eliot. But behind her stands a massive supporting cast of striking, funny, irrepressible characters and a vision of India in the 1950s that no reader can ever forget. It will make a wonderful series and I can’t wait to bring the magic of the book to life on screen.”

The official synopsis reads: “A Suitable Boy is the story of Lata, a young woman coming of age in northern India in 1951. Lata’s mother Mrs Rupa Mehra is determined to find her a husband, but after her sister’s conventional arranged marriage Lata is not convinced she wants the same path through life.

“Torn between duty to her family and the excitement of romance, Lata embarks on an epic journey of love, desire and heartache as three very different suitors vie for her hand. Her choice will play out against the tumultuous political backdrop of India at a crossroads, looking towards its first independent general election and carving out its own destiny.”

Filming of the eight 60-minute episodes will take place on location in India and A Suitable Boy is expected to air in 2018.