Based on Vikram Seth’s 1300-page book following the fortunes of four large families, the six-part series is directed by Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding) and adapted for screen by Andrew Davies (War and Peace, Pride and Prejudice). The series was created by an almost exclusively all Indian cast and crew and main roles featured Tanya Maniktala (Lata), Ishaan Khattar (Maan), Mahira Kakkar (Mrs Mehra), Danesh Razvi (Kabir), Namit Das (Haresh).
A Suitable Boy is currently available to watch on BBC iPlayer, and will be released on Netflix on October 23 in all global territories, except Canada, the U.S. and China. The DVD will be available from 26th October.
The score was composed by Alex Heffes with Anoushka Shankar, world renowned sitar player. Previously paired on Mira Nair’s 2016 Disney Film Queen Of Katwe, Alex knew how important the music score is to her. Says Alex of his work with Mira “music flows throughout Vikram Seth’s book so we discussed very early on how to tie the original score into the very authentic music world of India that had been captured on screen and how to create a musical language for the score that weaves between the world of Classical Indian music and the world of film music… careful consideration was given to how to integrate orchestra into the Indian musical world, often having to learn to follow the phrasing and bending of the sitar.”
In search of character’s music themes, Alex arranged experimental sessions with some of the UK’s best classical Indian performers, combining tabla, mridangam, kanjeera, ghatam and many other percussion instruments with bansuri (Classical Indian flute), tanbura and the sitar. Early on, the decision was made that the sitar would be Lata’s ‘voice’. For Kabir they used the bansuri, played by acclaimed indian performer Ashwin Srinivasan and for the character of Amit, the solo violinist Philippe Honoré provided the musical voice. For suitor number three, Haresh, a variety of pitched Indian classical percussion such as clay pots, mangeera (hand cymbals), ghungroos and morsing (jaw harp) was employed, played by percussionist Sanket Naik.
Says Mira Nair “The three of us (Mira, Anoushka and Alex) approached several Indian artistes. Ashwin Srinivasan, the great flutist, plays throughout the soundtrack. Namit Das, who also acts as Haresh Khanna in A Suitable Boy, is an extraordinary singer who composed the boatman’s song as the lovers crossed the Ganges. Gagan Dev Riar, who also acts in A Suitable Boy, made a beautiful song of longing for the widow in the village scenes.
We were lucky to get the great maestro, Ustad Shujaat Husain Khan, the son of the legendary Ustad Vilayat Khan, to perform ‘Jhinjhoti’ and ‘Khamaj’ on screen in two concerts. The syncretic nature between traditional Indian sound and the Islamic influences that had arrived through Iran, Turkey, and Pakistan, which was then called India; all of this confluence can be experienced in the music of A Suitable Boy.”
A Suitable Boy soundtrack is digitally released by Silva Screen Records on October 23rd. [http://www.silvascreenusa.com]
Jeremy [Six Strings]