BBC has commissioned an adaptation of the epic novel A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth, with Andrew Davies (War & Peace) adapting the novel and Mira Nair (Queen of Katwe) directing.
The six-part drama is the first screen adaptation of the novel and will be shot entirely on location in palaces, villages and streets in Northern India.
The story follows Lata, played by rising star Tanya Maniktala, a spirited university student, coming of age in North India in 1951.
At the same time the country is going through significant change, getting ready for its first democratic general election and adjusting to life as an independent nation.
Torn between her family duty and the excitement of romance, Lata finds herself at odds with her mother, who is determined to find her a suitable boy to become her husband.
But Lata resists, setting out on her own journey of love and self-discovery.
Maniktala is joined by Bollywood leading man Ishaan Khatter (Beyond the Clouds) and Indian screen legend Tabu (The Life of Pi).
Khatter plays the wayward Maan, connected to Lata through their siblings’ marriage.
He is determined to live life to the full and do whatever makes him happy no matter what the consequences, a trait which worries his politician father.
However, the stakes are raised when he becomes infatuated with beautiful courtesan Saaeda Bai (Tabu), which could lead him to take things one step too far.
The drama charts the fortunes of four large families, as their stories unfold during a tumultuous time in India.
The story shifts between intimate personal stories and the conflict between tradition and modernity, while exploring the rich and varied culture of India at a crucial point in history.
Andrew Davies described how thrilled he was to be adapting Seth’s novel.
He said: “It’s a charming, almost Austenesque story, with a delightfully relatable heroine, set against the turbulent background of India in the years following Partition.”
Mira Nair praised Seth for a story filled with “wit, clarity and love”, she added: “I am deeply honoured to be the one bringing this intimate, epic tale of an unseen India to the world.
“Today, A Suitable Boy is timelier than ever… we will keep the history and dream of an alternate India alive.”
Despite some anxiety about giving over his novel for adaptation, Seth feels his story is in “safe yet inspiring hands”.
He said: “We all passionately believed that the series should be filmed in India with an Indian cast, and we have got great locations and wonderful actors. I am confident they will bring my characters brilliantly to life - and I hope they have a really good time doing so.”
The series will soon begin filming in India and will air on BBC One at a later date.