Midnight's Children (film)

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Midnight's Children
Midnight's Children Poster.jpg
Film poster
Directed byDeepa Mehta
Screenplay bySalman Rushdie
Based onMidnight's Children
by Salman Rushdie
Produced byDavid Hamilton
Doug Mankoff
Steven Silver
Neil Tabatznik
Andrew Spaulding
StarringSatya Bhabha
Shriya Saran
Shabana Azmi
Anupam Kher
Ronit Roy
Siddharth Narayan
Shahana Goswami
Samrat Chakrabarti
Rahul Bose
Seema Biswas
Darsheel Safary
CinematographyGiles Nuttgens
Edited byColin Monie
Distributed byMongrel Media (Canada)
E1 Entertainment (United Kingdom)[1]
Release date
Running time
148 minutes
United Kingdom
United States
Box office$884,100[2][3]

Midnight's Children is a 2012 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, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, 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,[4] 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.[5]

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.


The film begins with the narrator .i.e. Saleem Sinai describing his much anticipated birth at the moment of Indian independence. The narrative jumps back to 1917 Kashmir. Saleem's grandfather, Dr. Aadam Aziz went to the Ghani mansion to have a look at the landlord's sick daughter, Nasim, without realising that she was going to be his future wife. The narrative jumps to Agra of 1942. Saleem tells his grandfather had contracted an optimism disease of those times and had become an ardent supporter of Mian Abdullah. But Abdullah while returning from a party with his secretary Nadir, gets assassinated by a group of his opposers. Nadir flees away to Dr. Aziz's house where Aadam shelters him in his cellar despite opposition from his wife Nasim. Saleem introduces Aadam's 3 daughters, Alia, Mumtaz and Emerald. During Nadir's stay, Mumtaz developed a bond with him which resulted in a marriage. Soon the marriage was broken when general Zulfikar and his team got to know about his presence in the cellar. Devastated by the unexpected divorce Mumtaz finds solace in the arms of the wealthy entrepreneur Ahmed Sinai.

The two married and moved from Calcutta to Bombay, where they bought a villa from a wealthy Englishman Methwold. Mumtaz takes up a new name, Amina Sinai. In the villa an accordionist, Wee Willie Winkie and his wife, used to come to sing and entertain and a matter of the fact was this that the wife was carrying Methwold's child with her. Amina too was carrying a child then. Both went into labour on 14th Aug, and gave birth at the moment India got independence. However a nurse, Mary, driven by love for her revolutionary partner, decided to swap the name tags of the rich and the poor kid thus, altering their fates. Mary realised the extent of her mistake and requests to make amends by deciding to become Saleem's ayah. One meant for poverty, led a life of privilege, and Shiva, the one destined for fortune led an unfornate, impoverished life on the streets. For Saleem, things worsen, as his family pressurises him to be different and special, while his father becomes became an alcoholic. He soon started hearing voices which he realised could be controlled by him, soon realising that these were the voices of the other midnight's children born in the initial hours of the independence all of whom had special powers. The most prominent of them however were, Shiva the warlord and Parvati the witch, who was his only blind supporter, and Saleem himself with telepathetic capabalities.

Wanting to make good use of his power, he formed the midnight's Children's conference destined to serve the nation. But things go against him as an accident reveals that Saleem's blood group doesn't match with his parents revealing that he's not his parents' true child. In shock his parents send him away to his aunt Emerald who lived in Pakistan, now the wife of Major Zulfikar. In his exile Saleem learns about Power, Politics and struggle. Saleem grows much distraught by the division caused in the MCC, due to the loss of innocence and the seeping of language and class differences amongst the members, he disbands the conference. Saleem finally is recalled back to his family which had now moved to Karachi. He returns only to find that his father had still not accepted him. Mary realised that the only way to make amends was by disclosing the events of that night, which led to the revelation.

The war of '65 starts in which owing to bombings Saleem loses his family. Having been present at the time of the accident, he suffers a memory loss and wakes up in '71. He is enrolled in the army for his sniffing skills and becomes part of crew which went to fight in the East Pakistan which with the help of India became Bangladesh. Still in his amnesia, he joins a large celebrating crowd including the victorious Indian soldiers, Whose head was Shiva, now a war-hero owing to his powers, and also a few magicians from India, which included Parvati the witch. Having identified Saleem she calls him, thus breaking his spell of amnesia. Having heard his tough journey, she takes him back to India in Delhi to her ghetto of magicians. They fall in love but, Saleem ambitious to do something big leaves Parvati giving her the excuse that he couldn't marry her because he was impotent. Realising the futility of his ambitions he returns to find carrying the child of Shiva. Aadam, one of the many other illicit children, a result of Shiva's numerous liaisons, formed the next generation of magical children, was born at the moment of the declaration of emergency by the PM Indira Gandhi.

The PM, an ardent believer of horoscopes, started to see Midnight's children as a threat to her supremacy, so in the name of a sterilization programme she started to incarcerate midnight's children and drain their powers. Shiva leading the project, in search of Saleem reached the slum and got hold of Saleem. In captivity he gave the information of the other children, who were incarcerated too. The sterilization programme started through which powers of the children were drained. The children, drained of their powers forcefully were let out, while Shiva died in an accident. The emergency was suspended simultaneously. He finds his son. Joyed by the event Saleem has lunch at a restaurant only to realise a similarity between the chutney he ate and the one he used to have during his childhood which his loving ayah used to prepare for him. He gets the address of the chutney company which was in Bombay and sets out to find it. He finds that he was right at last. Mary and Saleem were over joyed to see each other. The film concludes as Saleem's son, Aadam, utters his first ever word.

Saleem is wanting to go to Places to make his country have joy. He first goes to London. He see the buildings. In London, he meets with British people and discuses about his country. He got some ideas.He also goes to Cambridge, Liverpool, and Manchester The he goes to American (Chicago, Portland, and Houston), then Canada (Toronto, Vancouver, Saint John. He also travels in other cities in USA, England, and Canada.



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.[13] Rushdie told the BBC in an interview that he sold the rights to the film for $1.[14]

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.[13] Kangana Ranaut and Rani Mukerji were originally cast as Emerald and Amina, but both had to be replaced due to scheduling conflicts.[15] Irrfan Khan was also forced to pull out due to conflicts with Life of Pi[16] and Nandita Das opted out of the film after she had her first child.[17] 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.[18]

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 Indian National Congress & Gandhi family loyalists[19] if it was made in Mumbai.[13] 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.[13]


The film premiered on 9 September 2012 at the Toronto International Film Festival with repeat screenings on the 10th and 27th.[20][21][22] The film had its Indian premiere on 10 December 2012 at the 17th International Film Festival of Kerala.[23][24] 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.[25] 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 1 February 2013 with minimal cuts owing to clever casting & script treatment by Mehta.[26][27] "Deepa Mehta didn't want to draw any attention to Sarita Chowdhary who plays Mrs Gandhi but looks nothing like her. The whole strategy was to not focus attention on the character and the actress playing the role."[28]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional reviews
Review scores
Source Rating
Rediff.com 3/5 stars
dagger 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."[29] On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 41% rating based on 59 reviews. The website's 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."[30] 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",[citation needed] "There's humour and heart here, but it's an overlong tale as meandering as the Ganges." and "Watchable without ever feeling essential."[citation needed]

For an academic overview of the adaptations of Midnight's Children, see Mendes and Kuortti (2016).[31]


  1. ^ "Midnight Children (2012)". BBFC. Retrieved 28 April 2021.
  2. ^ "Midnight's Children (2013) – Box Office Mojo". boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
  3. ^ "Midnight's Children (2013) – International Box Office Results – Box Office Mojo". boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
  4. ^ Smith, Ian Hayden (2012). International Film Guide 2012. p. 143. ISBN 978-1908215017.
  5. ^ "Deepa Mehta Plays With Fire Again". Mid-Day. 27 February 2011. Retrieved 9 April 2011.
  6. ^ "Deepa finds Midnight's Children lead". The Times of India. 21 August 2010. Archived from the original on 3 May 2012. Retrieved 9 April 2011.
  7. ^ Kamath, Sudish (4 February 2011). "The Saturday Interview – Here and there". The Hindu. Retrieved 9 April 2011.
  8. ^ "Soha Unplugged". The Indian Express. 25 February 2011. Retrieved 9 April 2011.
  9. ^ Talukdar, Taniya (21 March 2011). "Shahana Goswami wants to act in a comedy". Daily News and Analysis. Retrieved 9 April 2011.
  10. ^ Jha, Subhash (13 March 2011). "Sanyal to play ghost in Midnight's Children". Mid-Day. Retrieved 9 April 2011.
  11. ^ "Ronit, the bad dad". Hindustan Times. 27 April 2011. Archived from the original on 3 January 2013. Retrieved 9 April 2011.
  12. ^ "Salman Rushdie brings 'Midnight's Children' to big screen". CNN. 6 May 2013.
  13. ^ a b c d Nolen, Stephanie (15 May 2011). "Mehta at midnight". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 17 May 2011.
  14. ^ "Midnight's Children adapted for film". BBC News.
  15. ^ Lalwani, Vickey (3 September 2010). "Kangna quits Midnight's Children". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 3 May 2012. Retrieved 9 April 2011.
  16. ^ "No new films for Irrfan Khan!". Hindustan Times. Archived from the original on 5 April 2011. Retrieved 9 April 2011.
  17. ^ Jha, Subhash (23 February 2011). "Nandita opts out Midnight's Children". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 3 May 2012. Retrieved 9 April 2011.
  18. ^ Rushdie, Salman (2002). Step across this line: collected nonfiction 1992–2002. Random House. p. 77. ISBN 978-0-679-46334-4.
  19. ^ "Film adaptation of Midnight's Children may never be screened in India". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  20. ^ "Midnight's Children". Toronto International Film Festival. Archived from the original on 5 August 2012. Retrieved 1 November 2012.
  21. ^ "Midnight's Children (last screening at the TIFF)". Toronto International Film Festival.
  22. ^ Nolen, Stephanie (15 May 2011). "Mehta at midnight". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 17 May 2011.
  23. ^ "Midnight's Children to have Indian premier in IFFK". The Hindu. 2 December 2012. Retrieved 11 December 2012.
  24. ^ "Midnight's Children to be screened today". The Times of India. 10 December 2012. Archived from the original on 27 January 2013. Retrieved 11 December 2012.
  25. ^ "Ban to Deepa Mehta's 'Midnight Children'". Entecity.com. 11 December 2012. Retrieved 11 December 2012.
  26. ^ Ramnath, Nandini. "PVR to distribute 'Midnight's Children' in India". Mint. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
  27. ^ "Midnight's Children' to release Feb 1 in India". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 26 January 2013.
  28. ^ "CBFC asks to remove comment on Indira Gandhi from Midnight's Children". The Times of India. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  29. ^ Nishi Tiwari. "Review: Midnight's Children is magical, a must watch". Rediff.com. Retrieved 1 February 2013.3/5 stars
  30. ^ "Midnight's Children". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
  31. ^ Mendes, Ana Cristina; Kuortti, Joel (21 December 2016). "Padma or No Padma: Audience in the Adaptations of Midnight's Children". The Journal of Commonwealth Literature. 52 (3): 501–518. doi:10.1177/0021989416671171. hdl:10451/29281. ISSN 0021-9894.

External links[edit]