I haven't read Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children, but after seeing the film, that is going to happen soon. The story follows the lives of two babies who were born at midnight, August 15, 1947, the day of India's independence from Great Britain. Shiva, born to a well-to-do family, and Saleem, born to a beggar's wife, but actually the son of a departing Brit, are switched in the nursery, after the death of the beggar's wife. Narrated by Salman Rushdie as Saleem, the story follows the boys through childhood into adulthood intertwined with the backdrop of the history of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.
I saw the film for two reasons. First, I was impressed with director Deepa Mehta's film, Water, and wanted to see what she did with this story. It didn't disappoint. Second, the write-up categorized it as science fiction. That aspect comes out when Saleem discovers that he can communicate with others of the 1,000 children who were born at or near the same midnight, each with some kind of power. One of them, Parvati, is a magician, with whom Saleem falls in love. As adults, the children are persecuted and sterilized. In a way, I was reminded a bit of John Wyndham's book, The Chrysalids (aka Rebirth), which was the inspiration for the Jefferson Airplane's Crown of Creation, but with a different outcome. I digress.
I really enjoyed the movie. It examined issues of religion, politics, society, family, human nature, love, hate, fear of "the other", and so on. The book is over 500 pages, and I'm sure a lot must have been left out, particularly about the bond between the boys and the history of the 3 countries. I'm looking forward to reading it.
As a post script, it was, as always, a treat to see Anupam Kher in an all too short cameo role.