New York, Nov 7: India-born author Salman Rushdie and Indian Canadian filmmaker Deepa Mehta will collaborate to produce a movie based on his prize winning novel 'Midnight's Children.' The book is a fictional work about Saleem who was born on the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947 just as Indian tricolour was replacing British flag. His story encompasses the history of India from Independence until end of emergency in 1977. Well-known film star Shabana Azmi and Nandita Das, who had acted in Mehta's earlier critically acclaimed but controversial movies including 'Fire' and 'Earth', will have major roles in the movie and the rest of the cast is still being finalised. Azmi will play the role of the grand mother.
Rushdie and Mehta will together write the screen play and collaborate on all other aspects of the movie which they expect to be released sometime in 2010. They plan to begin work on it spring next year.
Announcing the collaboration on the sidelines of the annual 'Mahindra Indo-American Arts Council Film Festival' yesterday, they expressed confidence that their efforts would be successful.
Rushdie said he had been approached several times earlier for allowing his novel to be adapted for a film but the efforts went nowhere. The current effort is serious and will see completion.
"I am delighted that my friend Deepa Mehta has agreed to make the film of 'Midnight's Children'. Her passion for the book, combined with her immense talent as a filmmaker, means that my novel has been placed in the best possible hands. I also look forward to working with her on the screen play," Rushdie said. Replying to a question, Rushdie said it not possible for a movie to compass everything in the novel. But scripts written for a stage play and for television are available and would be useful in writing one for the movie. However, he noted that though script was written for television, it was not made into a movie.
Mehta said in literature, there are only a handful of characters that remain indelible in her mind. "On top of the list is Saleem."
"I am absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to bring Saleem, his journey, and the incredible world he inhabits to the screen," she added.
Responding to a question, both said they are working on other projects and they have taken that into consideration while giving the timeframe for the start and completion of the movie.
The controversial author said that the book remained relevant even now as was clear from the fact that it was voted for 'Best of the Booker Prize' this year by readers, two-third of whom were below the age of 30.