In his first feature film screenplay, Salman Rushdie dextrously adapts his own Booker Prize-winning novel – a riveting allegorical saga that parallels the dramatic upheavals in one family’s history with the events that would define contemporary India, from the end of colonialism to the partitioning of Pakistan.
Born on the cusp of India’s independence from Britain and switched at birth by a maternity nurse in a secret act of protest, Saleem Sinai’s fate is not only inextricably bound to the future of his country, but also to that of Shiva, the boy whose place of privilege he takes.
Following a traumatic incident, Saleem discovers he has special powers and is able to communicate with other children who share his auspicious birthday. As the outside world become more chaotic, wielding his new-found magic becomes Saleem’s most powerful tactic for navigating the tumultuous course of history.
Deepa Mehta’s direction vividly realises the colour, humour and political acuity of the original novel (her ‘Elements’ trilogy traverses some of the same historical territory), and she extracts dazzling performances from the fine ensemble cast.