- Salman Rushdie adapted his novel "Midnight's Children"
- It is Rushdie's first screenplay, and he narrates the film
- He says the historical events of the movie are still relatable today
Salman Rushdie will always be most famous for "The Satanic Verses," the 1988 novel that earned the author a death warrant from the late Ayatollah Khomeini. But for literary merit alone, some rate the earlier "Midnight's Children" as Rushdie's greatest work.
Now, the classic novel is hitting the movie screen in an adaptation by Rushdie himself. The author's first foray into screenwriting was not an easy assignment, he admits. After all, the book encompasses 30 years of India's history, from independence from Britain in 1947 to the turbulent rule of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
CNN spoke with the renowned writer about the cinematic rendering of his book, directed by Deepa Mehta (out in limited release now). Below is an edited version of the conversation.
CNN: "Midnight's Children" was published in 1981. It took a long time to become a movie. Had you always wanted it to be made into a film?
Salman Rushdie: I never had a real desperate need for it to be a film. I was quite happy for it to just be a book, and actually, I had sort of given up on the idea there would be a film because of how long it had been since the book came out. (I had) this serendipitous conversation with Deepa Mehta where we actually met to talk about other things, and it suddenly popped into her head to ask about "Midnight's Children."
I had known her for a while, and she had spoken to me very passionately about her feeling for the book and what it had meant to her when she read it and how it connected to her own experiences. I thought, well, that's valuable, because it means that that's not just a gig. It's not just taking the job in order to adapt this film, but it becomes a personal project, and t