Both characters and country come-of-age in A Suitable Boy, the new six-part drama based on Vikram Seth’s classic Indian novel of the same name.
In 1951, while India gears up for its first national election since winning independence from Britain, the stories of four families interweave as the sons and daughters look for love and attempt to harness their own independent spirit to break free from tradition.
Adapted by Andrew Davies (Les Misérables) and directed by Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding), A Suitable Boy tells an intimate tale of a clash between tradition and modernity, and romance and responsibility.
Here's everything you need to know about the characters:
Lata Mehra (Tanya Maniktala)
19 year-old Lata refuses to conform. Guided by the literature she studies at university, she resists her mother’s matchmaking by choosing to follow her heart.
As she is unwilling to turn her back completely on her familial duties, she must navigate a complex internal conflict.
Maniktala added: “Lata’s beauty lies in her simplicity; I would say that she is very relatable, very grounded and humble.”
“She is taking the world as it is and has no illusions about how it's going to be. However, we see her bubble break when she actually enters into the real world.”
Maan Kapoor (Ishaan Khatter)
Maan’s impulsiveness, innate charm and potentially reckless lust for life leads to a romance with the glamorous courtesan Saeeda Bai - and his father’s perpetual disapproval.
Maan is connected to Lata through their siblings’ marriage.
Khatter said: “He doesn't care much for convention or the correct way of doing things. Maan is understanding, very empathic and sees a lot of merit in enjoying life to the full.”
“However, he doesn't understand the ways of the world. He has a rocky journey through the show.”
Mrs Rupa Mehra (Mahira Kakkar)
Mrs Rupa is desperate to find a worthy partner of her choosing for her daughter Lata, but she is proving to be a lot less cooperative than her elder sister Savita.
Kabir Durrani (Danesh Razvi)
Student and star cricket player of Brahmpur University, Kabir, meets Lata in a local bookshop. The two begin a romance in the face of serious religious repercussions.
Amit Chatterji (Mikhail Sen)
Amit is the eldest sibling in the Chatterji family who, having found his calling to write, has abandoned his legal career.
Amit and Lata meet and bond well at a family party, but he fails to act before other suitors enter the scene.
Another obstacle is Lata’s mother, as she is steadfast in her disapproval of the match.
Haresh Khanna (Namit Das)
The ambitious Haresh studied shoe manufacture in England before returning to reach for the top of the footwear industry and for Lata’s hand in marriage.
He is both bold in manner and his fashion choices but there are those in the family who aren’t convinced of his abilities.
Mahesh Kapoor (Ram Kapoor)
Maresh was imprisoned during British colonial rule and has re-emerged at the heights of Indian politics.
But his rebellious younger son Maan threatens to derail his career at a watershed moment for the country.
Saeeda Bai (Tabu)
The beautiful courtesan Saeeda Bai has entertained wealthy men for years, but she is left disoriented when she makes a much deeper connection with Maan.
Tabu said: “She's an emotionally rich person because of the life she has led, and because she has allowed herself to experience a gamut of emotions.
“She's carrying forward the lineage of her mother and her grandmother to her great grandmother, who lived in this world with music, beauty, love and romance. She is broken but also very strong and resilient - trying to lead her life in the best way possible.”
A Suitable Boy will start on 26 July at 9pm on BBC One and will be available on BBC iPlayer.