Ashdoc's movie review---Midnight's children

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Ashdoc's movie review---Midnight's children

Post by ashdoc on Sun Feb 03, 2013 2:55 pm

I haven't read Salman Rushdie's much acclaimed novel . And after seeing
the movie , I dont feel much like wanting to read it either .

No , dont misunderstand me---the novel is probably as great as people
say it is , but the movie does not make you feel like reading it if you
have not read it earlier .

But there is a juicy part to it , and that lies in the uncensored
depiction of the emergency foisted upon the nation by Prime minister
Indira Gandhi . Its all there shown in its ugly reality---the mass
sterlizations , the destruction of peoples' lives by destroying their
One wonders how come the censors allowed it to be shown without cuts in a
Congress ruled India . Or maybe the emergency has now become a story of
the distant past and can be shown comfortably to people without making a
dent in the ruling party's vote bank....

The movie itself is long and tedious---it tells the incredibly
convoluted story of the birth and the life of Saleem Shinai . Apart from
the hugely complicated story of how he came into being , what is
important is that he is a midnight's child---that is , a child born on
the exact moment when India achieved its independence at the stroke of
the midnight hour on 15 August 1947.....and in Rushdie's novel and the
movie too , midnight's children are shown to have special powers . Even
though they are away from each other , they can communicate with each
other . And some of them are capable of magic....

Naturally , great things are expected from them . But as the movie
progresses , we see that they are not capable of doing much . And their
lives themselves undergo tragedies and misfortunes.....

It is in the end that you realise it---that the midnight's children
represent India itself , or maybe the whole subcontinent , since part of
the movie is situated in Pakistan and Bangladesh . And the failure of
the expectations that they raised by being born on independence midnight
and having magical powers is the failure of the expectations raised by
the independence of the nations born in august 1947.....

But things are not so bad.....
The very fact that some of them , especially Saleem Shinai have survived
inspite of all the misfortunes which litter their lives ( and the
misfortunes which have littered the history of the subcontinent ) shows
their capacity for survival....
And above all , there is hope for the future !! For their children have
inherited their powers and if they learn from the mistakes of their
parents , then their futures could be brighter.....meaning of course ,
that the author hopes that next generation of Indians and Pakistanis and
Bangladeshis learn from past mistakes of their forefathers and build a
better tommorrow.....

If you are an Indian , there's something that may warm the cockles of
your heart---for Saleem Shinai is not shown to be happy in Pakistan and
his face glows up only when he reaches India.....
.....And your heart may grow warmer if you are a Mumbaikar ( like I am ) for ultimately Saleem wants to live in Bombay.....
Or maybe it is Rushdie's heart speaking---for he was born and raised in Bombay......

The movie begins in Kashmir---the flashpoint of the subcontinent....and
it moves from one historical event to another , from the famous speech
that Nehru gave on independence to the coup of the Pakistan military
that made it a military dictatorship to the 1965 war to the birth of
Bangladesh to the emergency.....

The photography and camerawork is good . But you are left wishing that the movie was the same.....

Verdict--- this one is strictly for the art movie lovers .


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