Acclaimed Indian writer Vikram Seth has been asked to return a $1.7-million advance he was paid by his publisher to write a sequel to his 1993 classic "A Suitable Boy", a report said.

The Mumbai Mirror, quoting Seth's agent, said the writer was negotiating with publisher Hamish Hamilton following delays in producing the manuscript.

"It would be unfair to say the deal has been called off," the agent, David Godwin, was quoted as saying.

"Vikram has been known to take his time with his books. Our aim is to settle this new date with Hamish," he said ahead of talks in London.

"A Suitable Boy" is considered a contemporary classic. It follows the life of Lata and her hunt for a husband in post-independence India over more than 1,300 pages.

"A Suitable Girl", initially expected later this year, was intended to be a sequel that placed Lata in contemporary India and described the country's wrenching changes over the last decades.

Hamish Hamilton is part of the newly formed publishing giant created by the merger of Penguin and Random House publishing groups at the beginning of the month.

The new group is expected to cut costs as it tries to compete better with new forms of publishing and competition from online rivals such as Amazon.

Penguin Random House and agent David Godwin were not immediately available for comment.