Now that Midnight’s Children is out, it’s easy to understand why there aren’t more Salman Rushdie novels gracing the multiplexes. It’s not that they’re all going to be bad—Rushdie’s memoir, Joseph Anton, might make a fine film—but if any of them are half as bad as Midnight’s Children, it’s best not to make them at all.
The story is uninvolving, with a passive main character, Saleem Sinai (Satya Bhabha), who exists solely so that things may happen to him. He and his antagonist, Shiva (Siddarth), are born at midnight on the day of India’s independence from Great Britain.
For reasons that don’t make sense—other than, perhaps, an attempt at narrative flow—they’re switched. Saleem is taken home by a rich family, Shiva by a poor family. There are other children born at midnight, and because Saleem has an enormous nose (really), he can summon them and talk to them all. Shiva uses the group meetings of midnight’s children as an opportunity to harass and bully the other kids.
Pakistan and India go to war. Saleem and Shiva cross paths. Saleem falls in love with Parvati (Shriya Saran). Rushdie, who wrote the screenplay, narrates. Why? A better question: Why would anyone want to see this convoluted, nonsensical tale, which lasts 140 minutes?
Directed by Deepa Mehta
With Satya Bhabha, Siddarth and Shriya Saran