a suitable boy
BBC Radio, Channel 4
Vikram Seth's epic novel, A Suitable Boy, is BBC Radio's latest project in the field of radio drama. Directed and produced by John Dryden (Goldhawk Universal Productions, London), A Suitable Boy was recorded entirely in India in October 2001 with local Indian actors. the industrial theatre co. was chosen as the local production house for the project.
the industrial theatre co. was responsible for the entire production while it was in India. This includes the findings of suitable locations, the rental of the house, the logistics of transporting actors and crew back and forth from different cities to Pune for the recording, sourcing and supplying the infrastructure required by such a recording, among other things.
For those who have read A Suitable Boy, and are wondering how such a vast work could be condensed to five hours, the truth is of course that it can't. I started work on the script in early 2001 whilst travelling around Uttar Pradesh, in northern India, where the story is largely set - in the (fictional) town of Brahmpur. I found myself amazed that such a compelling universe, so vast and so amiably peopled, could have emerged from a single mind. I quickly realised that the adaptation would be a small part of the novel's sum, the epic themes of politics, race and religion becoming a backdrop to Lata's (and several others') experiences of relationships and love.
The decision to record the production on location in Pune and Mumbai, and to use an Indian based cast and production team, was made right at the beginning. It seemed the only appropriate way of bringing the story alive and remaining true to it. Although the action is set in a different part of India, Mumbai - with its television and film industry and concentration of actors - seemed the natural home for the production.
The management and logistics, of a production recorded entirely outside of the studio, was another daunting prospect due to the number of people involved and the need to transport different members of the cast, on different days, backwards and forwards by train between Mumbai and Pune (a four hour journey) and to feed and accommodate everybody. Handling this side of things with unerring good humour and efficiency were Nadir Khan and Pushan Kripalani of the industrial theatre co.
[...] The recordings were made as the actors physically acted out the story in its rooms and courtyards. The sound is not only their movement and voices, therefore, but also the fabric and contents of the house, its garden, surrounding inhabitants and countryside, all brilliantly captured by the sound designer Nick Russell-Pavier.
There are far more people to thank than space allows, not least of all the cast. This production is their work.
John Dryden, February 2002
dramatised, produced and directed - John Dryden
cast - Mahabanoo Mody-Kotwal, Ayesha Dharker, Farid Currim, Ayeesha Menon, Kunaal Roy Kapoor, Noshirwad Jehangir, MeherJehangir , Joy Sengupta, Pushan Kripalani, Rajit Kapoor, Radhika Da Cunha, Devika Shahane, Ila Arun, Lovleen Mishra, Purab Kohli, Noel Godin, Firdausi Jussawalla, Molina Singh, Quasar Thakore Padamsee, Arghya Lahiri, Sanjeev Vatsa, Gerson da Cunha, Howard Rosemeyer, Ella Atai, Shyamolie Verma, Darshan Jariwalla, Sagar Arya, Nadir Khan, Antony Zaki, Shiv Grewal, Sophie Doherty, Roshan Seth, Somishala Remedios, Devika Shahane, Rahul Bose, Conrad Hughes, Boman Irani, Nadir Khan, Smita Malhotra
music composed by - Raiomond Mirza, Sacha Puttnam and Nick Russell-Pavier
musicians - Ila Arun (singer), Maqdool Hussain (harmonium), Tahia Hussain Khan (tabla), Iqbal Warsi (swarlee)
casting - Uma da Cunha and Noel Godin
production manager - Nadir Khan location manager - Pushan Kripalani sound assistant - Siddharth Siva
assistant director - Toral Shah script editor - Mike Walker sound designer - Nick Russell-Pavier
A Goldhawk Universal production for BBC Radio 4. Recorded in Pune and Mumbai, India, and mastered at Essential Music, London W1
Made with the assistance of the British Council, India and the industrial theatre co., Mumbai. First broadcast in five episodes on BBC Radio 4, 10 March to 7 April 2002