Midnight's Children (film)

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Midnight's Children is a 2012 British-Canadian film adaptation of Salman Rushdie's 1981 novel of the same name. The film features an ensemble cast of Satya Bhabha, Shriya Saran, Siddharth Narayan, Ronit Roy, Anupam Kher, Shabana Azmi, Seema Biswas, Shahana Goswami, Samrat Chakrabarti, Rahul Bose, Soha Ali Khan, Anita Majumdar and Darsheel Safary. With a screenplay by Rushdie and directed by Deepa Mehta,[1] the film began principal photography in Colombo, Sri Lanka in February 2011 and wrapped in May 2011. Shooting was kept a secret as Mehta feared protests by Islamic fundamentalist groups.[2]

The film was shown at the Toronto International Film Festival, the Vancouver International Film Festival, and the BFI London Film Festival. The film was also a nominee for Best Picture and seven other categories at the 1st Canadian Screen Awards, winning two awards.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

In 2008, Mehta and Salman Rushdie decided to collaborate on a film together. At first Mehta wanted to adapt his novel Shalimar the Clown, but she eventually decided on Midnight's Children instead. Rushdie spent the next two years paring down the 600-page book into a 130-page script.[10] Rushdie told the BBC in an interview that he sold the rights to the film for $1.[11]

The casting process began in early 2010. For the role of the protagonist Saleem Sinai, Mehta wanted Imran Khan, but his salary was outside of the film's budget. She decided to cast British actor Satya Bhabha instead after seeing video of him performing in a play.[10] Kangna Ranaut and Rani Mukerji were originally cast as Emerald and Amina, but both had to be replaced due to scheduling conflicts.[12] Irrfan Khan was also forced to pull out due to conflicts with Life of Pi[13] and Nandita Das opted out of the film after she had her first child.[14] Rahul Bose (who had earlier been slated to play Saleem in the BBC's aborted version of the novel) was selected for the role of Emerald's husband Zulfikar and Shabana Azmi was cast as Saleem's grandmother Naseem.[15]

Principal shooting began in February 2011 in Colombo, Sri Lanka as Mehta feared protests by Muslim fundamentalists if the film was shot in Pakistan and by Hindu fundamentalists if it was made in Mumbai.[10] Cast members had secrecy clauses added to their contracts to help keep the production quiet. Production design was handled by Mehta's brother Dilip Mehta. Under his direction, authentic Delhi-style furniture, props and costumes were shipped in from India. Shooting was briefly interrupted when Iran complained to the Sri Lanka government about the film and the crew was ordered to halt production. Mehta appealed to President Mahinda Rajapaksa who agreed to let filming continue. Winds of Change was the working title of the film during the shooting. Filming lasted a total of 69 days from February to May 2011. In all, 800 extras were used.[10]

Release[edit]

The film premiered on September 9, 2012 at the Toronto International Film Festival with repeat screenings on the 10th and 27th.[16][17][18] The film had its Indian premiere on 10 December 2012 at the 17th International Film Festival of Kerala.[19][20] After the premiere show, Indian National Congress leaders came against the movie alleging that the film portrays former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and some other leaders in a negative manner.[21] Following the allegations, any further screening of the film in the festival was stopped, an act which drew heavy criticism.

After initial fears that the movie would not find a distributor in India, the distribution rights were acquired by the Mumbai-based company PVR Pictures. In India, the film was released on February 1, 2013.[22][23]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional reviews
Review scores
Source Rating
Rediff.com 3/5 starsScript error: The module returned a value. It is supposed to return an export table.Script error: The module returned a value. It is supposed to return an export table.
Script error: The module returned a  value. It is supposed to return an export table. indicates that the given rating is an average rating of all reviews provided by the source

Nishi Tiwari for Rediff.com gave 3/5 stars and said: "Midnight’s Children is a must watch for people who’ve yearned to experience Salman Rushdie iconic storytelling in a more accessible format."[24] Rotten Tomatoes provides a summary of the major reviews, which are less than gushing. The critical consensus states that "Though Midnight's Children is beautiful to look at and poignant in spots, its script is too indulgent and Deepa Mehta's direction, though ambitious, fails to bring the story together cohesively." It holds a 42% rating on the Tomatometer based on 53 reviews.[25] Reviews include: "There are some beautiful moments and some decent performances, but it's also something of a slog and ultimately fails to engage on an emotional level", "There's humour and heart here, but it's an overlong tale as meandering as the Ganges." and "Watchable without ever feeling essential."

References[edit]

  1. ^ Script error: The module returned a value. It is supposed to return an export table.
  2. ^ Script error: The module returned a value. It is supposed to return an export table.
  3. ^ Script error: The module returned a value. It is supposed to return an export table.
  4. ^ Script error: The module returned a value. It is supposed to return an export table.
  5. ^ Script error: The module returned a value. It is supposed to return an export table.
  6. ^ Script error: The module returned a value. It is supposed to return an export table.
  7. ^ Script error: The module returned a value. It is supposed to return an export table.
  8. ^ Script error: The module returned a value. It is supposed to return an export table.
  9. ^ Script error: The module returned a value. It is supposed to return an export table.
  10. ^ a b c d Script error: The module returned a value. It is supposed to return an export table.
  11. ^ Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children is adapted for film
  12. ^ Script error: The module returned a value. It is supposed to return an export table.
  13. ^ Script error: The module returned a value. It is supposed to return an export table.
  14. ^ Script error: The module returned a value. It is supposed to return an export table.
  15. ^ Script error: The module returned a value. It is supposed to return an export table.
  16. ^ Script error: The module returned a value. It is supposed to return an export table.
  17. ^ Script error: The module returned a value. It is supposed to return an export table.
  18. ^ Script error: The module returned a value. It is supposed to return an export table.
  19. ^ Script error: The module returned a value. It is supposed to return an export table.
  20. ^ Script error: The module returned a value. It is supposed to return an export table.
  21. ^ Script error: The module returned a value. It is supposed to return an export table.
  22. ^ Script error: The module returned a value. It is supposed to return an export table.
  23. ^ Script error: The module returned a value. It is supposed to return an export table.
  24. ^ Script error: The module returned a value. It is supposed to return an export table.3/5 starsScript error: The module returned a value. It is supposed to return an export table.Script error: The module returned a value. It is supposed to return an export table.
  25. ^ Script error: The module returned a value. It is supposed to return an export table.

External links[edit]

Script error: The module returned a value. It is supposed to return an export table.