Actors Rasika Dugal, Namit Das, Gagan Dev Riar, Danesh Razvi, Mikhail Sen and Mahira Kakkar have joined the star cast of filmmaker Mira Nairs upcoming A Suitable Boy.
They have joined the previous-announced cast members – Tabu, Ishaan Khatter and newcomer Tanya Maniktala.
A Lookout Point production for BBC One, A Suitable Boy will be the first screen adaptation of Vikram Seth’s international bestseller of the same name. It has been penned by screenwriter Andrew Davies.
A Suitable Boy tells the story of spirited university student Lata (Tanya) 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 tale charting the fortunes of four large families and exploring India and its rich and varied culture at a crucial point in its history.
Rasika will be seen as Lata’s sister Savita, who is married to Mumbai-based theatre actor and director Pran (Gagan).
“I have always been mesmerised by Mira Nair’s films. The attention to every person in her frame, the sensitivity, gentleness and fun in her work had always driven me to watch her films again and again… She is such a kind and vibrant person. Working with her has been on my bucketlist. And there couldn’t be more joy than to do so with a book like ‘A Suitable Boy’,” Rasika said.
Gagan said: “I am so exhilarated that my first major screen role is with Mira Nair and I really hope I am able to fulfill her vision of Pran Kapoor. He’s one of my favourite characters from the novel. He is easy to underestimate, but in fact is a very kind, funny and intelligent man, who comes to be loved by all.”
Danesh will be seen as a star cricketer Kabir, while Mikhail will take on the role of eccentric poet Amit. Namit essays role of ambitious shoemaker Haresh. Mahira will be seen as Lata’s mother.
Talking about his role, Namit said: “Haresh has a lot of ambition, depth and layers to him, so he is very interesting to portray. My association with Mira continues from the musical ‘Monsoon Wedding’, which I have been working on for four years now. I am really grateful to her, the crew and everyone associated with the project and I feel truly blessed to be doing this alongside such wonderful co-stars.”
Danesh says “working with Mira Nair and such a committed cast and crew has been exhilarating. This is my first big project, and has been a great learning process for me”.
To this, Mikhail added: “Mira was very much one of my heroes growing up and I feel very blessed to be working with her on A Suitable Boy. The cast and crew are amazing! It’s all been very serendipitous and part of me still can’t believe it’s happening.”
Talking about her character of Rupa Mehra, Mahira said: “Getting to inhabit her is a gift and feels like an homage to women who could so easily be dismissed, because their concerns were their families’ welfare.
“I first saw some of Miraji’s films when I was a kid and was blown away by her visual storytelling, and attention to emotional detail. I had the great fortune to work with her on ‘Monsoon Wedding’ the musical in its first US incarnation.
“She is unapologetically brave, ambitious, loving and joyous — it is an infectious energy that all artists crave to be around. I am deeply grateful for this opportunity to work with her again.”
Ishaan plays Maan Kapoor who is connected to Lata through their siblings’ marriage. Tabu plays the beautiful courtesan Saaeda Bai whom Maan becomes dangerously infatuated with.
The six-part series, which will be distributed by BBC Studios, is being filmed at a number of locations across India, including Lucknow and Maheshwar.