One of the most acclaimed novels of all times, Midnight’s Children, by the highly controversial author, Salman Rushdie , has been put on screen by another Indian, who lives in Canada now, Deepa Mehta. I have read the book a few times, it’s the best book ever written by Rushdie, and it’s also the most awarded of his entire creation. He is partly famous because of a major controversy, created by his fourth novel, The Satanic Verses, which provoked protests from Muslims in the whole world. Death threats were made against him, including a death warrant, a “prize for his head” issued by Ayatollah Khomeini, the Supreme Leader of Iran, on 14 February 1989.
[source for all pics: imdb.com]
Midnight’s Children won both the “Booker Prize” and the “James Tait Black Memorial Prize” in 1981. It was awarded the “Booker of Bookers” Prize and the best all-time prize winners in 1993 and 2008 to celebrate the Booker Prize 25th and 40th anniversary. In 2003, the novel was listed on the BBC’s survey The Big Read. It was also added to the list of Great Books of the 20th Century. -quote from Wikipedia
The script has been written by Deepa Mehta, together with Salman Rushdie. Being an allegory characteristic to Rushdie, the movie is a depiction of India a little before and after the independence and partition. It is a movie about love, war and magic. Around one thousand children were born on the stroke of midnight, on August 15, 1947, therefore, exactly as old as the independent republic of India. They were magical, and have powers which were increased by the closeness to midnight. Three children are the most important heroes here: “Saleem Sinai”, the narrator and the most important of them all, “Shiva”, and “Parvati”.
Saleem is the most important because his power makes him a telepathic conduit, bringing hundreds of geographically disparate children into contact while also attempting to discover the meaning of their gifts. So, in a way, the history of Saleem, is metaphorically the history of India. There already is some revealing in the trailer, but I can say that a must is not only to watch the movie, but to read the book. Saleem and Shiva are connected in the most unfortunate way. They were the victims of a maternity “change”, Once Upon a Time in America style, their luck was changed as well, after that. Saleem’s mother died in childbirth, so the midwife changed his bracelet with the one of Shiva, the rich family boy, who came after that to be the son of “Wee Willy Winkie”, a beggar singing falsely to an accordion.
Saleem, after growing as the spoiled son of his business man father, discovers his “power” and that he can control the “broadcasting” of his “Midnight’s Children Conference” through his nose. I invite you to see for yourself from now on. It is only a 6.1 rated out of ten on imdb, after less than 2k votes. Almost unbelievable, because the film is highly artistic and is also very smoothly going. The thing is that Rushdie still has a lot of enemies, Muslims and Gandhi supporters, since he criticize more or less overtly in this book, Indira Gandhi’s lust for power instead of the country’s best. Indira Gandhi is the daughter of Mahatma Gandhi, the most venerated Indian especially after independence. Besides, it’s a British-Canadian co-production, not a recipe for success either.
Deepa Mehta offers the same authenticity in this fantastic movie, as Mira Nair did in her Monsoon Wedding. We can find here two of Mira Nair’s actors, Rajat Kapoor (as Saleem’s presumably Grandfather) , and Sarita Choudhury (as Indira Gandhi, the Prime Minister). May be a coincidence, of course. We meet here Satya Bhabha as Saleem, Siddharth as “Shiva”, Shriya Saran as “Parvati”.
Have a nice evening watching this movie, released in 2013, during all its 146 minutes of magic.
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