A Suitable Boy (2020) s01e01 Episode Script

Episode 1

1 Come on! Don't be shy! - Come on! Come on, quick Ah.
- See, there you are! Come on [SQUEAKING.]
- Do you want another one? - [SQUEAKING.]
This one? This one? Which one do you want? - Do you want this? - Lata! Lata! What are you doing? Come inside this minute, you have to get dressed for your sister's wedding! Coming, Ma! [SQUEAKING.]
Come on! Ha! Looking good, Varun Bhai! Your sister, my brother.
I know.
How can she be so happy? I know your brother better than Savita does.
He's my English lecturer.
And she's only met him once before today, for one hour, chaperoned.
Just look at my father, glaring at me.
I'm supposed to be next.
I'm engaged to a girl from Banaras but I try not to think about it.
- Congratulations.
- Daddy would be so proud! He's with us.
- Congratulations.
- Thank you, Mahesh-ji, for marrying my daughter - from your house.
- Thank you.
Ma, you mustn't cry on Savita's wedding day! Seeing her so happy, I think how happy your father would have been.
You too will marry a boy I choose.
- Hmm - I know what your "hmms" mean, young lady, and I won't stand for them in this matter.
Look at your brother, just standing there with that Meenakshi.
He should be seeing that the guests are having a gala time.
- Go and tell him now! - Ma! Look around you.
A sea of brown.
Just like us.
No-one from Shell, no-one from Caltex.
- No whisky.
- Aw! And the bridegroom's family.
Do you think that if Daddy had survived, we would have married into this small-town rabble from Brahmpur? They seem fine to me.
Pran's father is the Revenue Minister.
And you think your opinion is of interest, idle layabout like you? - Yes.
- Yes, what? Yes, Arun Bhai.
Don't forget it, then.
Hard to imagine big thrills on the wedding night! [SHE LAUGHS.]
- Huh? - Hmm.
Where is this Apu? I know I should have got the ayah.
I'm thankful you're with us today.
When your father and brother moved to Pakistan four years ago, I thought I was going to lose you as well.
Well, they made their choice.
I never saw sufficient reason to leave my own home.
I can't see my grandchildren playing cricket for Pakistan, can you? [HE CHUCKLES.]
It's good to see your son so well settled.
But, you see, Pran was never the problem.
Unfortunately, his younger brother is not so tractable.
Something is troubling you, my friend.
What is it? You know the Raja of Marh is building a temple to Shiva - right next to the mosque? - I do.
It's a deliberate provocation, but there's nothing we can do to stop it.
- But there are bound to be protests.
- Hmm.
So many Muslims have gone away.
Half my family among them.
We remaining few should at least have a place to pray in peace.
I'll try and speak to the Home Minister.
Thank you.
Where's Maan gone now? Well, Firoz seems to have disappeared too, so - Mystery solved.
To the law! Thank you.
- Mm - And to love! Since we must have it.
I've had plenty.
To friendship, then.
Much purer than love and less problematic.
Stand straight, Maan.
I don't think I ever want to get married.
What else are you going to do? Become a nun? [SHE GASPS.]
Ah! It's all right, Ma, I was only joking! Ha-ha! What's good enough for your mother, and your mother's mother, and your sister, is good enough for you! We can't both marry Pran! [SHE LAUGHS.]
Home to Calcutta! Why isn't Lata Bua coming with us? Lata Bua has to stay in Brahmpur to study.
Excuse me.
Excuse me, please.
Oh, my God! - Darling! - Sorry.
Sorry, Arun Bhai.
And you really think you're going to get into the Indian Administrative Service when all you read is the racing columns?! Huh? [LAUGHTER IN CARRIAGE.]
Ugh If your father was alive, he would have been Chairman of the Railway Board by now.
Private saloons all the way! Huh? [INSECT BUZZES.]
Well, I am very pleased to get Savita settled, and now I have another home to go to, besides your place in Calcutta.
- Yes.
- And I am feeling much more comfortable about Lata, now that she's living with her sister.
I didn't like to think of her in that old university hostel.
You must help me to find a suitable boy for her.
Arun? Hmm? Do you hear me? All right, Ma.
Miss Mehra, one moment! With regret, I'm unable to give this a grade.
James Joyce is not a suitable subject for you.
He's not even on the syllabus for the Modern British paper.
Kapoor is very keen on him.
Kapoor! Your tutor, and now your brother-in-law! Apart from anything else, James Joyce is Irish.
Are we clear? - I suppose, but - But? TS Eliot is on the syllabus, and he's American, isn't he? TS Eliot is a very great writer indeed, and Joyce is not a writer that young ladies should be reading at all.
Choose another subject, Miss Mehra.
Choose another subject! Wasn't university supposed to be exploring everything? But really, they just want us to explore the little bits they've chosen for us.
Standing up to Professor Mishra! An obedient little girl like you?! Hello, Malati! Hello, Lata.
- It didn't do me any good, though, did it? - Ha-ha-ha! Malati I feel as if I'm going backwards! What do you mean? Last term, I was in University Hall with you, and everything felt modern and free, and we were 20th-century young women.
And now, I'm living with my sister and her husband, and my mother too.
I can see my mother eyeing me up next.
He wouldn't have to be Khatri.
- Is it really so urgent? - So long as he was from a good, respectable family, from our community.
Lata sometimes comes up with the idea that she will not get married.
Do you think we can cure her of these theories? I'll see what I can do, Ma.
Meenakshi, have you arranged to have Daddy's medals set yet? Bring them now, and I will show you my idea.
Yes, now, please! Top of the University in Physics and Engineering! And the medals in those days! 24 carats! [HE MOUTHS.]
Ah! You see, I was thinking of a neck pendant for this one, and the lid of a little box for that one.
Now, is that a lovely idea, or not? Yes, Dadi.
"We also recall that R, the modulus of Z, gives the distance of Z from O".
Oh! I see you're interested in mathematics and poetry.
- That's unusual.
- Hmm.
Is that so? That maths textbook, it's pretty advanced stuff.
My father's a maths professor at the university.
Actually, I'm not really interested in maths at all.
Wonderful! Nor am I.
I'm in the History Department.
I must go now.
My friend is waiting for me.
I suppose I've been disturbing you.
In that case, may I ask your name? Lata.
- Aren't you going to ask me mine? - No.
Come on, Malo, let's go.
- Who was he? - Come on, I want a coffee now.
What? You talk to him for 15 minutes and you don't know his name?! One minute, at the most! If you're so keen on him, why don't you go back and ask him? So, you don't like him? No.
I have no reason to like him.
You know, it's not easy for men to talk to us.
We shouldn't be so hard on them.
Nice hair.
- Nice eyes.
- Yes.
But so what? I have nice eyes too, and one pair is enough.
I rushed back as soon as I heard Savita's wonderful news.
Now, Lata, we must make sure you're next.
Arun promised to introduce us - to some very fine people in Calcutta, Lata.
- Hmm.
Covenanted boys.
Civil Service types, from good families.
Lata! Pay attention, this is your future! Pran, Lata might do very well with one of those, don't you think, Pran? - Pran? - Hmm? - Oh.
- Pran, we should visit your parents for Holi.
Erm, yes, of course.
You don't know what Maan and his friends can be like at Holi.
It's the first of our married life.
That would make my mother happy, I'm sure.
Of course, you're all invited to the concert later.
Saeeda Bai is going to sing.
- Saeeda Bai? - Mmm.
Your father invites such a person to the house? - Because she's a tawaif? - [GIGGLING.]
Should we count you out, Maji? No, I didn't say that! - Ha-ha! - I have nothing against entertainers, as such.
As such? I should like to hear her sing.
And besides, I need to be there - to keep an eye on Lata.
- Who knows? I might run away with a married man! [GIGGLING.]
Ha-ha! Look here! The Raja of Marh.
We are witnessing the erection of the Raja's lingam! He can't build there.
That's blasphemy.
Right next to the mosque?! Unbelievable! Come on, since when have you become such a mullah? You think everything's a joke.
Yes, I think it's a hoot, look at it! Our mosques have been here for centuries.
I apologise, Agarwal.
I did ask my wife for quiet, but you know how No need to apologise.
Holi is Holi.
- A Hindu holiday for a Hindu nation.
- Please I'm concerned about possible unrest - around the new temple site.
- Ah.
It's so close to the mosque.
I think we need a substantial police presence there, to act as a deterrent.
There are 12 men stationed outside.
That will be quite enough.
With respect, 12 men will not be able to contain even a peaceful protest without drawing their weapons.
Kapoor sahib you are the Revenue Minister, I am the Home Minister.
May I remind you, policing is none of your concern? Can't he take one single day off, Ma? It's Holi! - Put him down.
Put him down.
- Holi.
Holi hai, Holi hai, Holi hai! Aha! Holi hai! Holi Ah! Aha! - Where's my bhabhi?! - You'd better get inside quickly.
Where's my bhabhi?! - Here she comes.
- Maan, be careful.
Maan, be careful! - She's expecting.
Oh, my God! - Agh! Just a smidgen, Maan, no more! Cross my heart and hope to die! Ayee! No.
There's enough on me already! No! Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh! Where do you think you're going? [SHE PROTESTS.]
Just a little bit here and a little bit there.
- You ruffian! - So, I'm a ruffian, am I? I didn't mean it! Maan! Take - this, Lata! - Maan! [SHE SCREAMS.]
Get ready for the revenge of Maan! - Bhaskar.
- Ah.
This is my grandson, Bhaskar.
He's staying with us.
My daughter, Veena, and her husband lost all their property in Pakistan.
It's only now that they can go back to Rawalpindi to try and retrieve something.
All this suffering, leaving scars on either side.
Agarwal-ji, is it not in our hands to try and heal them? Agarwal-ji! Agarwal-ji! Minister Sahib! - Is it really you? - Ha-ha! You've come to play Holi with us? Er, no, no, no.
I've come to discuss - government business with your father - Come, I'll show you! I'll show you something, come! - Control your son! Maan! Maan! - Maan! [ALL GASP.]
- Ha-ha-ha-ha! - Maan You idiot! - Happy Holi! - Stop it! Stop it.
Agarwal, are you all right? This is civil disobedience! [MAAN SNIGGERS.]
Shut up, Maan! How can you be so childish, Maan, when there's so much at stake?! Bye! [THEY LAUGH.]
Welcome, Saeeda Begum.
- Adab.
- Adab.
- Honourable Ministers.
- Ji, adab.
Look at all those politicians, swarming around her like flies.
They talk about simplicity and plain living, and then fawn and slaver over this sort of person.
- Ha-ha-ha! - Look! Look! Every time she turns her head, that diamond in the nose-pin flashes - like the headlights of a car! Ha-ha-ha! - Ha-ha! A car that's seen many passengers in its time! Ha-ha-ha! [SHE STARTS SINGING.]
Enough for one night.
May I walk with you? [SHE HUMS.]
Question three.
"Answer, with reference to at least two plays.
Do Shakespeare's tragic heroes deserve their fates?" - Half an hour to go.
- Ooh! [SHE SIGHS.]
Exam didn't go well? Don't worry.
Five years from now, you'll have forgotten all about it.
So, you've done badly too? Yes.
But I tell myself it's one paper in six.
May I sit down with you? You have.
Anyway, there are more important things than exams.
- Like what? - Like friendship.
- Really? - Yes.
Talking to you has cheered me up, anyway.
I hope you've done better than you think.
May I walk along with you? I can't very well stop you.
India's a free country now.
Look, there's a poetry reading next Friday, at the Brahmpur Literary Society.
You like poetry, don't you? - Yes.
But - Six o'clock.
I'll see you there.
I haven't said I'll come yet.
I hope you will.
I go this way.
All right, 256 times 512? That's too easy! 131,072.
All right.
789 times [SHE SINGS.]
I'll take your word for it, little frog! [SHE HUMS.]
If you're a good boy, she will love you.
I love him already.
You give away your favours so easily, Tasneem.
How did you come? My feet just carried me to you.
These are fine clothes to risk in the dust.
- - Ji.
I see you're wearing your own style of Gandhi Cap.
Er Maybe I'll wear one of another colour, the next time I come.
- Next time? - Assuming that I'm invited again.
Why would I invite you again? I don't know! Because I long for it.
What is it you want from me, Dagh Sahib? Everything.
But just to be near you is enough.
This evening, I'm expecting someone, and I can't entertain you.
But you may come another time.
Ma? What are you doing up so early? I couldn't sleep.
What were you reading? The Gita.
I am determined to read two verses a day, and to practise detachment and wisdom.
- Detachment? - Mmm.
What does that mean? Never to feel anything passionately? Can that be right? - Are you mocking me? - No.
I'm just asking you.
- Mmm.
- Ha-ha! - Malati? - Hmm? Can you help me find out who he is? I need to know everything about him.
Oh! - WHISPERS: Stop it! - It was a good shot [HE SINGS ALONG TO RECORD.]
Turn it down! Turn down that infernal racket! - Hello, Minxy! - Darling.
- So, what's the programme for this evening? - Oh, you know, dinner and dancing with Billy and Shireen.
Ah, yes.
Look - Why don't we call it off - Ha! and, er, spend the night by ourselves?! Ah, you'll revive, after a drink or two.
I suppose.
And a dance or two with Shireen.
Oh! Darling? Lipstick! Ha I discovered today that we're being overcharged on the new paper project.
One of these local fellows.
No sense of business ethics, - or personal ethics, come to that.
- Oh.
I love Shireen's new earrings.
Like golden teardrops.
I'll buy you a pair.
But how could I explain them? When can we be together again? We are together now.
Don't tease me! [SHE GIGGLES.]
Soon! You know, Shireen, I discovered today that we were being overcharged by one of our local businessmen, Saha [SHE LAUGHS.]
Beautiful medals, madam.
Why not order the earrings and pay for them separately? There's really no need to melt down these medals.
Jauhri, I'm here to get a job done.
I could have gone to my regular jewellers.
Could I ask, Madam, why you did not? You may not.
The address for delivery? You don't need that.
I'm Mrs.
Arun Mehra, of Bentsen & Pryce.
I'll call back in when they're ready.
- If you should change your mind - I shan't.
- Who are you going with? - Malati, of course.
How pretty you look! I don't know about all this poetry, though.
Poetry never leads to anything good.
What a thing to say, Ma! - Well, I am more for practical things, Lata.
- Mm-hm.
I am haunted by a tender passion.
The ghost of which will never die.
The leaves of autumn have grown ashen.
I am haunted by a tender passion.
And springtime too.
In its own fashion.
Burns me with love's sweet song.
I am haunted by a tender passion - You came.
- Hello.
The ghost of which will never die.
Fellow members of the Brahmpur Literary Society and friends - Do you know Professor Mishra? - He's the English professor.
My brother-in-law calls him the Great White Whale.
That's brilliant! Next week, I will give a talk, Eliot Whither? Bon appetit! Dr.
Vikas Makhijani, the floor is yours, sir.
How to describe bondage of Mother pure by pervert punies chained by law? Dadabhai Naoroji entered Parliament, but he forgot not Mother's plumpy breasts [LAUGHTER.]
How about a coffee? We could go to the Blue Danube? No, I really can't.
Next week, then? Eliot Whither? I really must go now.
See you next Friday, then? Yes.
I spoke to Agarwal about the temple, as you'd asked, but then Maan ruined it.
I have always understood that a bit of lafangebazi is expected at Holi.
He went too far.
He always goes too far.
I'm afraid he was abetted by my own son.
But you can be proud of Firoz practising law.
Maan, it seems, can settle nothing, let alone himself.
Thank you.
Perhaps Agarwal will think again about the temple site.
- Not if the Raja has anything to do with it.
- Mm.
Glasses! Fine.
Good stuff.
Here now for the temple, you know? Right by the mosque, you know? Now when they look west to pray to Mecca, they will be bowing to Shiva's lingam first.
Bloody people! Not you, of course, darling.
Come on.
Drink up.
Cheers! Mm! [SHE SIGHS.]
- What is it? - It's just a book.
Who sent it? What's his name? No-one.
Look, isn't it beautiful? Damn your book! And damn you! Get over there! And you idiots, play! And you, sing! Well? Remember who reserved you for the evening! Go! [HE GRUNTS.]
All right! - - Enough! There is a whole mob of them, Sahib! Our instructions are to defend the temple.
Fire when I give the order.
One round over their heads, and then shoot to kill.
Shoot to kill? Are you sure, sir? The Home Minister has given me authority.
Follow me! Go! - Raja.
- Mm.
Over their heads! Fire! [CRYING.]
I am told 20 men were killed last night.
No, not that many.
And a little discipline never did any harm.
You had every chance to control this protest peacefully! I have this from a man who cannot even control his own family! [THEY LAUGH.]
I told you before we are a Hindu nation.
Muslims have their own country now.
And when the election comes, it is the Hindu majority we must carry with us.
Silence in the house! Silence in the house! It's the worst thing that could have happened.
And entirely preventable, my father says.
He's so upset.
It's exactly the opposite of his vision for India.
And mine, come to think of it.
I'll go.
Hello? It's me.
Are you alone? For the moment.
We're eating.
It's not good news.
You've got to drop him.
What do you mean? His surname is Durrani.
He's a Muslim, Lata.
I'd better go now.
We're in the middle of lunch.
You haven't a chance.
Your family will be dead set against him.
Besides, it's dangerous.
You saw what happened at the temple site.
This is a stupid world we live in.
I know.
I expect, in five years' time, I'll have forgotten all about him.
I'm sure you will.
But he'll be there on Friday, waiting for me and wondering why I'm not there.
Lata Saeeda? A book needs to be near to its truest admirer.
The Urdu is wasted on me.
Everyone gives me jewels, but nothing has touched my heart like your gift.
This is excellent whisky.
Will you help me to understand what the verses say? I can speak Urdu, but I can't read it.
Why can't I live my life - and see where it might take me? - You can't.
Let's just enjoy the music tonight.
You're always getting mixed up with unsuitable people! Why not me? Here in India, one might say that we have borne rather more reality than we might have cared to bear [GATE CLOSES.]
- Hello.
- Hello.
I knew you'd have to come out sometime.
We can't stay here.
Let's go, then.
I waited for you.
I went there early.
I stayed for an eternity.
I even chomped through Mrs.
Nowrojee's rock-hard cakes.
I'm sorry.
- Really.
- Come boating with me.
We'll go up the river to the Barsaat Mahal.
It's a wonderful sight by night.
I can't.
And you should know better than to ask me to come boating at midnight! You know I live from our one meeting to the next.
We don't have to go at midnight.
Dawn is just as good.
There is no harm in dawn.
Monday morning at six sharp.
Are you in love, Lata? Please look after your daughter.
Someone saw her with a boy.
"Daddy's medals melted down by Meenakshi".
That girl is a snake! [SHE LAUGHS.]
Nobody ever meant anything to me till I met you.
We are hearing a great deal about your son, and a certain lady of repute.
But I love her, Boji! This is your last night in my house!
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