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A Suitable Boy: The Costumes Of The Characters From The Series Decoded


A miniseries directed by Mira Nair and based on the novel by Vikram Seth, A Suitable Boy opened in India to mixed reviews. While some found the series bland and lacking depth, the others thought it was rich and fascinating with a whiff of Colonial backdrop. However, whether the series was intense and entertaining or not to the audience at large, A Suitable Boy definitely hit the right notes from a fashion perspective. It offered a wide array of wardrobe from vintage India and each character came alive because of their respective costumes. The costumes certainly enhanced the texture and mood, and the clothes also explained the characters to a large extent. Arjun Bhasin was the costume designer of the series produced by BBC, and his work was meticulous as each outfit seemed so detailed and well-researched. So, let's talk about the outfit picks of different characters from the series.

Lata Mehra's Floral Saree And Muted Sarees

A Suitable Boy boasts an ensemble cast but still the story revolves around Lata Mehra (Tanya Maniktala), whose mother wants to find a suitable boy for the marriage of her younger daughter, Lata. Lata Mehra's character is shown as a literature student, whose fashion sense is conservative and simple. She wears ordinary salwar suits and sarees in the series but on important occasions, she is also seen dressed in gorgeous pastel vintage sarees. Right from floral-adorned chiffon sarees to checkered and muted sarees, Lata Mehra's sarees in the series are impressive and classy.

Savita Mehra Kapoor's Red And Tie & Dye Sarees

Lata Mehra is not the only character, who flaunts sarees, Savita Mehra Kapoor (Rasika Dugal) is also quite a saree connoisseur. Savita Mehra Kapoor is the elder sister of Lata Mehra and in fact, she wears more sarees than Lata. The scene opens with Savita Mehra Kapoor getting married and she is dressed in a red brocade saree with a traditional red and gold-tone dupatta. However, even though the saree is rich in hue, we noticed how Savita kept it minimal, probably in tune with the sensibilities back then. Post-wedding, Savita Mehra Kapoor is mostly shown in the understated tie and dye sarees flaunting hues like indigo. She also made a strong case for colour-blocks with contrasting blouses.

Maan Kapoor's Kurta Pyjamas

Maan Kapoor (Ishaan Khatter) is one of the most intense characters of the series and he is among the characters, who will keep you gripped. No, he is not a suitable boy but a friend of Lata Mehra and lover of Saeeda Bai (Tabu). The younger son of the politician (Ram Kapoor), Maan Kapoor is mostly seen in kurta pyjamas. His kurta pyjama sets mostly range from all-white to interesting contrasts such as sky blue and white. However, unlike his father, his kurta pyjamas aren't stately and formal; Maan Kapoor keeps it informal and colourful just like his character.

Saeeda Bai's Traditional Outfits

Often soaked in vibrant hues, Saeeda Bai (Tabu) has all our attention with her clothes too. The seasoned actress is introduced to the audience as a singer and courtesan dressed in a bright red brocade saree and a matching blouse. Saeeda Bai is seen wearing emerald greens, mustard yellows, and intricately-done dupattas, which actually show us how vivid and enigmatic her character is. Her makeup is kept heavy with bold red lip shades and heavy kohl to enhance her look. But on rare occasions, Saeeda Bai too takes a minimal turn.

Tasneem's Pastel Outfits

Where the series is concerned, Tasneem's (Joyeeta Dutta) relation with Saeeda Bai holds ambiguity but she is a courtesan too, who religiously follows the orders of Saeeda Bai. Her character is intriguing as well, someone who is looking for escapism but at the same time, reluctant too. Tasneem's wardrobe is mostly splashed in soft pastel hue unlike Saeeda Bai, who wears bright outfits. The pastels add to Tasneem's sensitive and vulnerable side. Tasneem's makeup is kept light and fresh, which highlights her innocence but the curled locks give her character a bit of enticing touch.

Kabir Durrani's Scarves And High-Waist Pants

Kabir Durrani (Danesh Razvi) is a colleague of Lata Mehra and as inclined towards literature as Lata is. His relation with Lata is often tensed but poetic, something that first love is all about. Kabir is a modern thinker and progressive and his outfits are a blend of western and Indian sensibilities. Following the trends in early post-partition India, Kabir is seen wearing linen shirts with high-waist pants but with scarves and bags. He doesn't seem completely in awe with the Colonial sensibility; he wants his individuality too.

Meenakshi Chatterji Mehra's Glamorous Looks

Meenakshi Chatterji Mehra (Shahana Goswami) is the most vivacious character of A Suitable Boy and she is seen as an unapologetic woman, who doesn't follow the rules but is equally influenced by Colonial sensibilities. Her sarees and other outfits in the miniseries are in tune with her character and she is glamorous. Her sarees unlike others are embellished, she wears western outfits too, and her makeup is highlighted by lip shades like wine red. However, Meenakshi is a calculative character too, who keeps it balanced. She even opts for the traditional tant saree in one of the scenes.

Haresh Khanna's Classy Outfits

Haresh Khanna (Namit Das) is a shoe manufacturer, who is driven by his profession and is shown a practical and no-nonsense person. His outfits are classy and formal, often tan-hued and formal blacks. Haresh's outfits usually consist of a textured blazer, waistcoat, ties, and plain pants - the ensemble, which brings out his work ethnics and a formal code of conduct. Haresh is often shown carrying a briefcase, which adds to his character. Haresh's character is not a departure from western sensibilities at all.

Amit Chatterji's Muted Kurta Pyjamas

Amit Chatterji (Mikhail Sen) is a poet, writer, and associated with a literary background. He is Meenakshi's sibling and seen as a real charmer. Amit's character is confident and expressive and his outfits are both western and Indian. Like Kabir, Amit is also often seen in high-waist pants and shirts but he is also seen popularising kurta pyjamas. His kurta pyjamas show his poetic side and are often muted and understated.

So, whose outfits you loved the most in A Suitable Boy? Let us know that.

Courtesy: Stills From The Series/ BBC

Story first published: Saturday, October 24, 2020, 14:00 [IST]