Midnight’s Children

MIDNIGHT’S CHILDREN directed by Deepa Mehta, written.

MIDNIGHT’S CHILDREN directed by Deepa Mehta, written by Salman Rushdie from his novel, with Satya Bhabha and Shahana Goswami. A Mongrel Media release. Some subtitles. Opens Friday (November 2). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NNNN

It takes a while to rev up, but this adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s novel turns into an absorbing story with a strong emotional core.

On the day of India’s independence from the British, two babies – one wealthy, one poor – are swapped at birth, but their lives remain inextricably bound.

The sweeping story is as much about India and Pakistan’s histories and their civil wars as it is about people yearning for political power, wealth and love. Satya Bhabha is excellent as Saleem, the man born poor but brought up rich, and Seema Biswas shines (as usual) as the woman responsible for switching the babies. Normally I’d complain about the extensive voice-over – delivered here by screenwriter Rushdie – but the writing’s so sharp that it actually works.

Yes, the movie’s long, but as he did with Deepa Mehta’s Water, cinematographer Giles Nuttgens ensures you’re always looking at something beautiful.

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