Director: Deepa Mehta
Year : 2012
Official Website: www.midnightschildren.com
Verdict: Recommended but only if you do not want to read the book.
The movie is based upon the 1981 Booker Prize winning novel by Salman Rushdie by the same name. Rushdie has himself worked, for two years, on scripting the novel to a screenplay. Directed by one of the most acclaimed Indian-origin directors, Deepa Mehta, the movie is about the story is about India’s journey pre and post Independence, intertwined between the lives of two children born on the midnight of India’s independence, until their journey from children to men.
The movie is centered around Saleem(Satya Bhabha) and Shiva(Siddharth Narayan), two babies that were born on the stroke of midnight, when India declares Independence. Saleem is a bastard child of a beggar woman, while Shiva is the son of a wealthy couple. The two babies are swapped by the nurse Mary(Seema Biswas) at the hospital to now live the lives meant for each other.
What follows is the journey of these two characters for the next three decades. Their paths cross so very often and always on the opposite sides be it due to wealth, class, love, or power. All this in the back drop of the birth of a new independent country, wars between neighbors, and further divisions.
This movie is a baby on an island with only its parents – the director and the story-teller. That’s it. Nothing else in the movie is noteworthy. That is a big disappointment considering that some of the most talented and accomplished artists of the Indian film industry play a part. Shabana Azmi, Seema Biswas, Kulbushan Kharbanda, Anupam Kher, Rahul Bose are simply wasted. I might have missed some names, but that is just the point. Not one actor stands out.
I wish they had made this into a 2 part movie or maybe extended the movie by another hour. I think the result would be more telling and less hurried.
The Good: Crisp direction by Deepa Mehta. Narrative by Salman Rushdie!
The Not So Good: Deepa Mehta is the brilliant lady that gave us Earth, where Aamir Khan shone in his evil way. She gave us Water, where we could finally be convinced that models could act.
Salman Rushdie is a brilliant writer. Controversial but his literary prowess is beyond doubt.
The culmination of these two does not seem to work. We expected loud fireworks, but barely got a fizzle.
The Verdict: Recommended but only if you do not want to read the book.