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I have not read the book, so to what extent this series served its source I can't say. It would seem that the author of the book endorsed this adaptation, but it is hard to see how a TV miniseries can properly do justice to one of the longest single-volume novels ever written. And that was how this series constantly struck me; everything seemed to be compressed or hurried. There seemed to be potential for atmosphere and character development but this was never fully realised, and the concluding episode was particularly rushed. On the plus side, it was very colourful, seemed to capture the period adequately - and it is good to Classic TV drama getting away from the usual over-worked diet of Austen, Dickens etc. However, whilst I wouldn't describe this as a bad production, nor do I think it can be judged a great success.
The effort was valiant, the task undertaken tremendous. I did not expect it could possibly do justice to the book, and it did not. It develops fast, so it practically misses all of the emotions conveyed in the book, which I had found deeply moving and realistic. Just some rendition of the storyline - and that with an altered very, very happy ending- missing again deep emotions and sorrows. It does not even touch but the very surface of the very deeply involving relationship between Maan and Firoz, the sorrows of Maan's mother due to neglect, the trials of his father, etc. The role of Firoz's father and a lot of other things. Also, too much folklore for my taste. Still, it is much better than other stuff on DVD, and if Vikram Seth was quite happy to let it go like that (I suppose the royalties played a role there), who am I to complain?
The quality of the production and acting is extremely high, and the critic quoted as saying the series was "a joy from start to finish" was almost right - it was very good up until the last furlong; but we found the ending as depicted in the film unconvincing in terms of the characters involved. Perhaps the film-makers might say that they were reflecting the book. But its unbelievability undermined enjoyment of the series for us, and meant that an absolute certainty of an award five stars instead became just four by the end
Having loved the book, I was apprehensive about watching the BBC's adaptation on this DVD, but I need not have been. It was superb and did not disappoint. As far as was possible, it stuck closely to the original and the casting of characters was just as I had imagined them all. How the producers of this drama managed to condense over 1500 pages into 6 hours of viewing is remarkable.
I had not read the book but was completely enchanted by the series on tv. It captured perfectly the atmosphere of the time and characters were all delightful in their own way. I gave the dvd to my daughter for Xmas and I’m sure she can’t fail to enjoy it. It takes you away to another place which is exactly what we need during these strange times.