Director: Deepa Mehta
Cast: Satya Bhabha, shriya Saran, Shabana Azmi, Anupam Kher, Siddharth Narayan, Shahana Goswami, Samrat Chakrabarti, Rahul Bose, Seema Biswar and Darsheel Safary
b! Says: **
‘Midnight’s Children’ is a test of patience that only die-hard Salman Rushdie fans may be able to pass. Deepa Mehta presents a pretty enough picture, but it’s the sort of painting you’d cock your head at, pass by and forget about soon after.
The film tells the story of Saleem Sinai (Satya Bhabha) and his forefathers, spanning over 60 years from 1917 to 1977. Saleem is blessed with the power to communicate with all children (like himself) who were born at the stroke of midnight on August 14, 1947 while Jawaharlal Nehru delivered his famous ‘Tryst With Destiny’ speech. He begins to hold telepathic conferences with them, finding an arch enemy in Shiva (Siddharth) and an ally in Parvati (Shriya Saran). He soon finds himself in the thick of things, when Emergency is declared and the midnight’s children are deemed dangerous by the government.
While the leads are just about okay, Mehta manages to extract the best performances from the supporting actors. Shahana Goswami (Saleem’s mother), Ronit Roy (Saleem’s father), Kulbhushan Kharbanda (Picture Singh) and Rajat Kapoor (Saleem’s grandfather) stand out from among the large ensemble cast. The real disappointment is Rushdie, who is the film’s narrator. Every line read was delivered in the same droning tone and this reviewer was reminded of Eric Morley, who took to the stage every year to announce the winners of the Miss World pageant in EXACTLY the same manner he had the year before. As mentioned above, the film is pretty enough, but it’s not a visually arresting affair like ‘Life Of Pi’ nor does it leave you with something to ponder about like ‘Cloud Atlas’ did. Shame. The Booker of Bookers deserved much more.
‘Midnight’s Children’ is a pleasant-looking though long-drawn-out affair. You might do better reading the book instead of watching the film.