Review: Midnight's Children
The Indian Express rating: **1/5
At the stroke of the midnight hour, a nation was born. So was Saleem Sinai, a midnightís child whose destiny was yoked to the other children who were born at that precise witching hour, and to a newly-formed country that struggled with big ticket issues like identity, nationhood, and an ancient history that butted its old powerful head against the feebly kicking thing of modernity and selfhood. Salman Rushdieís 'Midnight's Children' is an astonishing piece of work in the way it yokes the personal and the public together in a madly inventive, riotous style that became, thenceforth, the benchmark for magical realism.
The film , whose screenplay has been written by Booker-winner author Rushdie himself, is not half as magical as the novel. Itís hard enough to pull off the real-yet-not-real style that the best magical realists can manage, seemingly effortlessly, for copycat wordsmiths. Itís infinitely more difficult to translate that elusive quality on screen. Deepa Mehtaís film is only intermittently engaging : it is limited in scope and imagination, and in parts it becomes plodding and stagey.
The narratorís voiceover ( done with brisk authority by Rushdie himself is good to hear, but it is a mismatch with the screen Saleemís wispy personality ) takes us through the early history of India. Pre-Independence, we are in Kashmir and Agra and Bombay, and then we swing both
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