‘Mr Selfridge’ creator’s new 1950s India drama ‘A Suitable Boy’ is filming now

The BBC’s upcoming adaptation of Vikram Seth’s bestseller A Suitable Boy has begun filming.

First published in 1993, Seth’s modern classic tells the story of a young woman’s search for love and identity in India during the 1950s.

The novel is being adapted for the first time on screen by award-winning screenwriter Andrew Davies, whose past hits include BBC’s War & Peace, Les Miserables and Pride & Prejudice.

Davies also created Mr Selfridge and wrote ITV’s recent series based on Jane Austen’s Sanditon.

Described as “romantic, funny, moving and relatable”, the six-part drama is currently filming in India, with locations including Lucknow and Maheshwar.

Author Vikram Seth commented: “It was with some anxiety that I agreed to my book being put on the screen, but I’m glad I did. With Andrew adapting and Mira [Nair] directing, I feel that my story is in safe yet inspiring hands.

“We all passionately believed that the series should be filmed in India with an Indian cast, and we have got great locations and wonderful actors. I am confident they will bring my characters brilliantly to life – and I hope they have a really good time doing so.”

Screenwriter Andrew Davies added: “I am truly thrilled to be chosen by Vikram Seth to adapt his masterpiece A Suitable Boy for the screen.

“It’s a charming, almost Austenesque story, with a delightfully relatable heroine, set against the turbulent background of India in the years following Partition. It has been a total joy to work on, and I hope that audiences will love it as much as I do.”

The cast will be led by Bollywood star Ishaan Khatter (Beyond the Clouds, Dhadak) and Indian film actress Tabu (Life of Pi, Andhadhun), alongside newcomer Tanya Maniktala.

The official synopsis reads: “A Suitable Boy tells the story of spirited university student Lata (Tanya Maniktala); coming of age in North India in 1951 at the same time as the country is carving out its own identity as an independent nation and is about to go to the polls for its first democratic general election. It is a vast, panoramic tale charting the fortunes of four large families and exploring India and its rich and varied culture at a crucial point in its history.

“Lata’s mother is determined to find her a husband – a suitable boy – but Lata, torn between family duty and the excitement of romance, embarks on her own, epic journey of love and self-discovery.

“Connected to Lata through their siblings’ marriage, the wayward Maan (Ishaan Khatter) is determined to enjoy life to the full whatever the consequences, much to the concern of his politician father. But could his infatuation with beautiful courtesan Saaeda Bai (Tabu) be one step too far?

“Their stories play out during a tumultuous period for India and reflect the wider conflict between tradition and modernity at the time, as the election looms and the country decides its destiny.”

A Suitable Boy will air in the UK on BBC One in 2020.

Vikram Seth’s novel A Suitable Boy is available on Amazon.