When two legendary personalities come together for a creative purpose, it’s sure to create artistic brilliance. Considering that those two personalities are Salman Rushdie and Deepa Mehta collaborating for the celluloid version of Midnight's Children, the expectations are for nothing short of a masterpiece.
For those of you who aren’t aware of the novel called Midnight’s Children, here is a bit of background on the book and the author Salman Rushdie:
Salman Rushdie is an Indian Born writer who is settled in the United Kingdom. Midnight’s Children is considered to be a masterpiece and won the Booker Prize in 1981, the “Booker of Bookers” in 1993, the all time best prize for Booker’s 25th anniversary and was listed as Time magazine’s all time best books. His novel Satanic Verses created quite a stir amongst the Muslim community around the world for an insolent portrayal of the Prophet Mohammed. Many countries banned the book, riots broke out in several countries burning book stores selling his book and the Iranian government issued a Fatwa against the author.
Midnight’s Children, meanwhile, follows the life of Saleem, the protagonist, who is blessed with certain magical powers after being born on the stroke of midnight on August 15th 1947, the day India became independent of British rule. Over the course of the story the extent to which Saleem's life is intertwined with the historical events that take place in independent India is revealed. The events in Saleems's life are not only mirrored but magnified by India’s national affairs.
Similar to Rushdie, Deepa Mehta has had her share of controversies herself. The first of her Elemental Trilogy, "Fire", caused an uprising from the Hindu community in India due to its portrayal of two women named after Hindu Goddesses being in an intimate relationship. She is an internationally renowned Indo-Canadian filmmaker and another film from her Elemental Trilogy, “Water”, even earned an Oscar Nomination for Best Foreign Film.
Midnight’s Children, the movie, promises to be nothing short of artistic excellence. The collaboration of a legendary filmmaker with a world renowned author is a testament to the possibilities on the silver screen. The film has been 4 years in the making and was filmed in Sri Lanka in secrecy due to the protests by Muslim groups in India. The British actor Satya Babha reprises the role of Saleem, while veteran actors Anupam Kher, Shabana Azmi and Seema Biswas along with our very own Siddharth Narayan and Shreya Saran are also part of the huge ensemble of cast.
Siddharth takes on the role of Shiva, Saleem’s archenemy, and Shreya is Parvati the Witch, both midnight children, born on India’s independence day. Midnight’s Children is one of the Toronto International Film Festival’s Gala presentations this year and promises to be a phenomenon just like the book. TIFF opens September 6th and runs through to the 16th. Don’t forget to grab your tickets before they are all gone!
Images courtesy of Midnight's Children.