BBC to make series of Indian epic 'A Suitable Boy'

Cannes (France) (AFP) –


Indian director Mira Nair is to shoot a television version of Vikram Seth's epic bestselling novel, "A Suitable Boy", she told reporters at the Cannes film festival.

The series for the BBC has been scripted by Andrew Davies, the doyen of literary adaptations for the small screen, who has turned books like "The House of Cards", "Pride and Prejudice" and "War and Peace" into TV classics.

Nair said shooting will start in September on the story of post-independence India, one of the longest -- and most loved -- novels ever published in the English language.

The director of "Monsoon Wedding" and "Salaam Bombay!" said she has already cast all of the 110 characters she is taking from the book, which runs to nearly 1,500 pages in paperback.

The big-budget $20-million production will star "Life of Pi" actress Tabu as well as Nair stalwart Naseeruddin Shah.

"I love this book so much," the director told Screen Daily on Friday. "Andrew Davies has delivered a wonderful script. We have been working on this for a year and we got the green light yesterday."

Nair claimed the six-part series, which she has long dreamt of making, "is the first South Asian epic on mainstream BBC TV... It has not been easy.

"I like to say, 'It's crown and brown'."