Deepa Mehta’s adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s successful novel Midnight’s Children is rich and interesting. With Rushdie writing the screenplay, producing and narrating, the film certainly has the author’s seal of approval.
Saleem Sinai is born within moments of India’s independence in 1947. So is another child, Shiva. One of these children grows up in a family of wealth, the other of poverty. Both, however, grow up with the backdrop of independence, and the aftermath of this…
Midnight’s Children is a historical tale with strong elements of fantasy. Overall, the film gets the balance right between a story rooted in history and one with a undeniably mystic edge. Midnight’s Children functions as a lesson in history that informs the fictional tale and interacts with it. The story is an allegory, but one that is sufficiently engaging in its own right.
Rushdie’s screenplay works well, and exhibits the author’s flair for words. His narration acts as glue that binds the period of time which is covered. Spanning fifty years, Midnight’s Children depicts the tumultuous change in India from British rule to the separation of Pakistan and Bangladesh and beyond. At times this depiction appears too rose tinted, shying away from real violence for the most part. However, the story is fictional so an accurate portrayal is not essential.
Satya Bhaba is great as the grown up Saleem. Good support is provided by Seema Biswas as Mary. There is a vibrancy throughout the film, thanks to the use of strong colour and light.
For those that have not read Rushdie’s novel, the film adaptation of Midnight’s Children is an authentic enough substitute.
Midnight’s Children is being screened at the BFI London Film Festival in Ocotber 2012.