Salman Rushdie film courts Indian controversy
It is an epic portrayal of the country's modern history and one of its best-known books of recent decades. But a film adaptation of Salman Rushdie's novel about India after independence, Midnight's Children, has plunged the author into new controversy in his native land.
Speaking at the film's premiere in Toronto at the weekend, director Deepa Mehta revealed that no Indian film distributor has so far bought rights to the film.
"Salman has often said that the book was his love letter to India. I think the film reflects that love. What a pity if insecure politicians deprive the people of India to make up their own minds about what the film means, or does not mean, to them," the Hindustan Times, a leading Indian newspaper, has quoted the Indian-Canadian director as saying.
The film follows the narrative of the original novel and includes unflattering portrayals of top Indian political figures. Cinema experts in the subcontinent said the failure to find a distributor revealed a weakness in Indian democracy.
"[In India] we are very wary of any film that even is political, let alone politically sensitive. Any resemblance to a politician … could be a problem. In a robust democracy, all of this should be possible," said Shubhra Gupta, a respected local film writer. (...)