Movie Review: Midnight’s Children

By  December 18, 2012

Salman Rushdie decided to take control of his award winning novel Midnight’s Children, and not only wrote the screenplay for, but also executive produced the film version of his 1981 Booker winner. Not content with just that, Rushdee is also the film’s narrator, a voice-over role that serves to hold Midnight’s Children together – and he is does a rather good job of it!

The story is told by its chief protagonist, Saleem Sinai (Satya Bhabha) and is set in the context of actual historical events. Saleem is born at the exact moment when India became an independent country – at midnight, August 15, 1947, and is, therefore, exactly as old as the independent republic of India. At the hospital he had been switched with Shiva (Siddhart) who went on to live with his poor street performing ‘father’, while Saleem gets taken home by a rich, successful family. As he grows up, he discovers that he has telepathic powers, and later learns that all children born in India between 12 a.m. and 1 a.m. on that date, are imbued with special powers. Of course, as the children grow up – their paths begin to cross…

Satya Bhabha and Shahana Goswami

Charles Dance

An ambitious film, director Deepa Mehta does well to bring the political history of India to the screen, mixed with whimsy and set against a variety of beautiful backdrops. It is certainly a unique and interesting mix! The main story of Saleem’s early life is very amusing, but I found that it went downhill from there. I found the magical realism scenes to be disappointing – although the acting was decent enough across the board, their powers were never particularly believable, and so those scenes felt a little weak.

Midnight’s Children is a spectacle, but it never evoked any emotion from me, and my interest was never fully held. Having been spoilt by the phenomenal Life of Pi, I would suggest giving it a miss and seeing Pi instead!

In cinemas Boxing Day 2012