I found a parallel between the search for A Suitable Boy for Lata and the search for India: Mira Nair
During one of the conversations series organized by the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), Geoff Macnaughton, Senior Director, Industry & Theatrical/Lead Programmer, Primetime at TIFF, catches up with Mira Nair, director of ‘A Suitable Boy,’ a primetime presentation recipient of the Jeff Skoll Award in Impact Media. Nair’s six-part drama series is an adaptation of Vikram Seth’s novel about a young Indian woman’s struggle to create a balance between family duty and personal independence in post-partition India.
Asha Bajaj brings you the excerpts:
Geoff to Mira: Tell us about the first time when you discovered Vikram Seth’s novel.
Mira: Vikram Seth is one of our classics and extraordinary writers. I have loved all his works. But I know him as a friend and visited him while he was writing ‘A Suitable Boy’ which took him ten years and I was just waiting for it. I read it in 1993 months after it was published. And probably one of the few people that read it back to back twice. It’s a novel that encapsulates free India moments set in 1951 right after independence. It was the time when we as a country and as a people, really struggled to find out how to shake off this extraordinary English influence that we all lived with and to make efforts to find our authentic voices. Seth’s use of humanity, humor, drama, and extraordinary truth actually captured me. But at that time (more than 20–30 years back), it was too large for me to consider it as a series. I actually made my smaller version of it in ‘Monsoon Wedding’. But after so many years Seth decided to do a series, and I was very happy to be asked to direct it.
How did you and Andrew Davis get to a point in which you were happy with the narrative especially knowing that you are only working with six episodes, versus the wealth of the story that you were pulling from?