TIFF 2020 film, A Suitable Boy is a struggle to balance family duty with personal choice

Asha Bajaj
3 min readSep 25, 2020

#TIFF2020; #45thTorontoInternationalFilmFestival; #TIFF, #MiraNair; #ASuitableBoy

Toronto, Sep 23 (Canadian-Media): Directed by Mira Nair, the recipient of the Jeff Skoll Award in Impact Media for her Vikram Seth’s six-part drama series adaptation, ‘A Suitable Boy’, presents an adaptation of a young Indian woman Lata Mehra (Tanya Maniktala) struggles to create a balance between family duty and personal independence in post-partition India.

Image: A Suitable Boy. Image credit: TIFF

19-year-old, Lata is under pressure by her parents to get married but while at school, she comes across a Muslim boy Kabir (Danesh Razvi), and falls in love with him.

But Lata’s love life is being dictated by her mother (Mahira Kakkar), while Maan’s father (Ram Kapoor) attempts to make him more politically engaged. Both young people burdened with their parents’ expectations try to find their independence. The political landscape of a country in transition is reflected by the rebellious energy of Lata and Maan as well as by the escalation of tensions shown in the background between Hindus and Muslims due to the construction of a mosque right next to a temple.

It is through the eyes and experiences of Indian characters, and not through colonial perspective, that Mira tells the story of people’s search in a newly partitioned nation,

Mira, an absolute master of story-telling at its global reach, in her award acceptance speech during the 2020 TIFF Tribute Award ceremony said, “I have often said that if we don’t tell our own stories, no one else will.”

Nair and Davies’ main focus was on two of the novel’s central characters, Lata and Maan Kapoor (Ishaan Khatter).

Seth’s novel is in English, and although many of the characters speak it fluently, Nair realized that the English language would be a problem for rural India, was in search of characters defined by other languages.

It was then that Nair introduced Saeeda Bai (played by Indian performer Tabu), a musician and courtesan, whose entire life is dedicated to singing and poetry in Urdu.

Captivated by Saeeda Bai’s performance Kapoor family’s youngest son, Maan falls…

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Asha Bajaj

I write on national and international Health, Politics, Business, Education, Environment, Biodiversity, Science, First Nations, Humanitarian, gender, women