An Exclusive First Look At ‘Midnight’s Children’

Salman Rushdie’s 1981 post-colonial epic Midnight’s Children may not have inspired a fatwa, but it did win him the Booker Prize, a slightly less dubious honor. So why has it taken so long for someone to adapt it for the screen? Let’s just say that melding magical realist myth with a historically accurate picture of a newly independent mid-century India is harder than it sounds. But with Rushdie penning (and narrating!) the film, and Oscar-nominated Deepa Mehta at the helm, we’re sure to get that balance of fact and fantasy that makes the novel so enduring.

The children of the title are a cadre all born between midnight and 1 a.m. on August 15, 1947, at the very moment of India’s release from British colonial rule. Over time their lives intertwine with each other’s, and that of the nation—even as their strange, telepathic powers emerge. Meanwhile, the transition to independence provides its own growing pains. Prior to this scene, Nadir, a witness to the political assassination of a political leader, has been hiding under the floorboards of a sympathetic family’s home, and married one of the daughters. But here Nadir’s location has been exposed by his sister-in-law. The military intrusion is all too realistic, but the hot light bathes everything—except Nadir’s unlikely escape—in a not-quite-earthly glow.

And, if that’s sufficiently whetted your appetite for drama, here’s the U.S. trailer, which gets at the pure grandeur and sweep of this intricate, moving story about promises both broken and upheld at all cost, along with a suspenseful first clip from Midnight’s Children.

 

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