Monday, 28 September 2015

Midnight's Children

I watched the TV premiere of the film Midnight's Children on BBC2 this weekend.

Salman Rushdie's 1981 Booker Prize winner, which I first read as a teenager, is still one of my favourite novels. Reviewing it when it was published, the Sunday Telegraph said that "India has found its G√ľnter Grass" and Midnight's Children does have some similarities with Grass's best known work, The Tin Drum: the "magic realism"; a country divided into three with the main character, Saleem, forced to cross and recross its new borders; taste and smell as metaphors for political history.

Although the film skips over some parts of the plot (communalism in Bombay, conflicts between pro-Moscow and pro-Peking Communists, Saleem's experiences as a soldier in the 1971 war in East Pakistan/Bangladesh), it's generally faithful to the novel (unlike the film version of The Tin Drum which ends halfway through the book) and benefits from Rushdie's collaboration with director Deepa Mehta and a voice-over of him reading from his novel.

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