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After more than three years of waiting, A Suitable Boy is coming to UK screens this Sunday (July 26) on BBC One. Screenwriter Andrew Davies, director Mira Nair and cast members Ishaan Khatter, Tabu and Tanya Maniktal spoke to press including Express.co.uk about the story behind A Suitable Boy.
Is A Suitable Boy based on a true story?
A Suitable Boy tells the story of university student, Lata Mehra (played by Tanya Maniktala) growing up in North India.
The series follows the story of Mrs Rupa Mehra’s efforts to arrange her daughter’s marriage in a newly independent India and her daughter’s resistance and search for personal independence.
The series takes place in 1951 when India was a newly independent state, post-Partition and post the independence movement.
The Partition of India of 1947 was the division of British India into two semi-independent states, India and Pakistan, outlined in the Indian Independence Act 1947.
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Partition saw the dissolution of Crown rule in India after 200 years of British rule.
As a result of Partition, two provinces were established Bengal and Punjab, based on district-wide non-Muslim or Muslim majorities.
The partition also saw the division of the British Indian Army, the Royal Indian Navy, the Indian Civil Service, the railways, and the central treasury.
However, as a result of Partition, approximately 11 million people were displaced, leading to an enormous refugee crisis.
In 1952, India went to the polls for its first-ever democratic national general election since Indian independence in August 1947.
India’s newfound independence serves as the backdrop to the series.
The series is an adaption of Vikram Seth’s best-selling 1993 novel of the same name.
The original novel was published in 1993 and at 1,349 pages long, the book is one of the longest novels ever published in a single volume in the English language.
While the story of Lata and the three other families in the book are not based on a single true story, the backdrop against which the show is set is very real.
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The show itself is set in the fictional own of Brahmpur, located along the Ganges between Banares and Patna.
Not only is India’s politics explored in the series, the Hindu and Muslim conflict, poverty and land reforms.
Speaking to press, including Express.co.uk, Director Mira Nair, said: “It is a great modern classic that really is about us.
“Is about a nation and about a people just coming into freedom.
“The story is set in 1951 and it’s about a time when India was discovering in the burning embers of freedom because our country had been divided by the Partition.
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“And there was a cauldron really of this kind of politics at that time, and what Vikram [Seth] does so brilliantly and captured the pulse so well is about a country finding itself and about a donation of characters finding themselves. “
Discussing filming the show, Nair added: “Our world is an Anglicised one, but it’s also another one. It’s also rural India, it’s also the politics of what’s happening when you have the first national election.
“We are people speaking Urdu and in Hindustani because of the place we are set. And, and you know restored, in part, that language, our languages, to create a much more realistic authentic truthful universe.
“We are people speaking Urdu and in Hindustani because of the place we are set.
“And, and you know restored, in part, that language, our languages, to create a much more realistic authentic truthful universe.
“In fact, Vikram thanked me for translating it back to that, and that kind of mixing is exactly what we are like, and then and now and for me, it was very important to, show how we are today, because of what we were then.
“It’s a mirror, A Suitable Boy is a mirror of our society, and it was important to be truthful, to be authentic, to be colourful, mischievous all of those things, and I had such great talent really a lot around me who could take each one of these ideas further.”
A Suitable Boy starts Sunday, July 26 at 9pm on BBC One
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