Mira Nair's much-awaited series A Suitable Boy premiered on BBC on Sunday. Featuring Tanya Maniktala, Tabu and Ishaan Khatter in the lead, the six-part series is based on Vikram Seth’s novel that is considered to be one of the longest works. A Suitable Boy will be premiered in India soon and the audience can watch it on Netflix. But before that, the audience who watched the opening episode of the series based in the 1950s gave their verdict on social media.
Based on the novel A Suitable Boy which was published in 1993 and has over 1,300 pages, the six-part series revolves around Lata (Tanya), whose mother Rupa Mehra is looking for a suitable boy to get her married off early. As the story unfolds against The Partition and Independence, chapters of family, relationship, loss, love and ambition are unveiled. Vikram's novel has been adapted for virtual representation by Andrew Davies.
While the novel was highly acclaimed, the series featuring Ishaan, Tabu and Tanya opened to mixed reviews. While the the production value of A Suitable Boy was lauded it was criticised for being a slow-burn show. Some critics found the opening episode crunched.
Take a look at the reactions to the show:
"The production values are high, the performances poised and the locations stunning, from the dusty markets of Calcutta to the fictional university town of Brahmpur. But… It deserved at least 12 episodes. After all, Seth’s sprawling and deeply humane novel is one of the longest books in English" - Chitra Ramaswamy (The Guardian)
"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" - Ed Cumming (The Independent)
"The show feels like an amateurish stage play, a high school-quality musical minus the music. This is partly because of the expository and entirely functional nature of the dialogues—“You are the Revenue Minister, I am the Home Minister"- Raja Sen (Livemint)
"Nair has succeeded in creating a world with charm and drama. There are six episodes and I am looking forward to an Indian summer" - Susannah Butler (Evening Standard)
On the other hand, Twitter began buzzing with reviews of A Suitable Boy soon after the first episode premiered. Here's what the micro-blogging site users have to say:
I really want #ASuitableBoy to be good but here I am on my phone
— iCod (@icod) July 26, 2020
Ten minutes into #ASuitableBoy and it is painfully clear that this series was written for a predominantly white audience. And as much as I want to give it a chance, I’m too aware of its colonial/Western stereotypes. The makers could have had a lot more faith in their audience.
— Meera Navlakha (@meeranavlakha) July 26, 2020
Very, very, very good opening episode for #ASuitableBoy. Congratulations @MiraPagliNair- lots of brave decisions & pitch perfect in a million ways. I watched with a room of people, half of whom knew India well & half of whom did not. All loved it. Tabu especially magnetic. A hit!
— William Dalrymple (@DalrympleWill) July 26, 2020
Really struggling to make sense of #ASuitableBoy what is this crap about?
— Noor Fatima (@_Noor_Fatima_) July 26, 2020
#ASuitableBoy who does the BBC make these programs for?? Nobody likes it, no one understands it, everyone thinks it's dull and boring. Does anyone at the BBC actually watch these things before they're broadcast. What a waste of the license fee.
— David sills (@DavidSills44) July 26, 2020
Thought I’d like this but it’s a tad slow. I know it’s only been on for 20 minutes but I’m bored already #ASuitableBoy
— Joanne M (@joannem5569) July 26, 2020
Beautifully filmed, understood every minute, not dull, not boring and shock, horror I've also read the book. Reading broadens the mind.
— Raven Crime Reads #WearAMask (@ravencrime) July 26, 2020
#ASuitableBoy was good, but it’s important to note that the ongoing Hindu/Muslim/Sikh conflict in India was promoted by the British Empire as divide-and-conquer. Before them, different religious communities lived in relative harmony.
— Tom Patel (@TomPatel17) July 26, 2020
A Suitable Boy also features Shahana Goswami, Rasika Dugal and Ram Kapoor.
(Source: Twitter/ Hindustan Times)