By Kanika Tandon
Film: Midnight’s Children
Director: Deepa Mehta
Cast: Seema Biswas, Shabana Azmi, Anupam Kher, Darsheel Safary, Satya Bhabha, Shriya Saran, Siddharth Narayan, Shahana Goswami, Soha Ali Khan, Rajat Kapoor, Rahul Bose, Sarita Choudhury
Rating: 4 stars
LONDON: Wrapping up a colossal work like Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children into a 150 minute movie isn’t an easy task. But Deepa Mehta takes the challenge head-on and delivers a truly interesting piece of cinema.
As the director, Mehta lets the story blossom on screen with utmost sincerity and must be applauded for that. However, while Deepa can be credited for creating a remarkable film, the real star of the film is the story itself.
Truth be told, the storyline of Midnight’s Children is so massive, and crowded with so many characters, that it doesn’t allow any scope for anyone else to take the limelight.
Midnight’s Children is the story of Saleem Sinai, born exactly at the stroke of midnight on India’s Independence Day on August 15, 1947. He later realises that all children born between midnight and 1am were endowed with some special power (magic realism). Saleem’s ultra sensitive nose allows him to assemble all these midnight’s children whenever he likes. So we have Parvati—the witch (played brilliantly by Shriya Saran), Shiva (played by Siddharth Narayan) and many more assembling for a meeting whenever Saleem calls them.
The story of Midnight’s Children covers more than five decades of India’s story, spanning from the pre-independence era to the time when Indira Gandhi-imposed state of Emergency was lifted from India. And, characters come and go (sometimes sooner than you’d want) as each chapter of the story unfolds.
The audience may sometimes find it difficult to follow what is happening, but Salman Rushdie’s narrative in the background helps steer clear of the confusion.
The casting of the movie is perfect and all the actors have essayed their respective characters to the tee. Special mention needs to be made of Shahana Goswami (who plays Saleem’s mother Amina), Shriya Saran and Sarita Choudhury (who plays Indira Gandhi).
If you enjoy Rushdie’s work, watching Midnight’s Children come alive on the screen will be a great way to celebrate the holiday season.