A tale of two movies

Booker award winning books: Salman Rushdie’s Booker of the Booker novel “Midnight’s Children” & Yann Martel’s  book “Life of PI” were turned into Hollywood movies. Life of Pi was made in 2012 and directed by Ang Lee. Midnight’s Children was made by Deepa Mehta in 2012.

There is no need to emphasize the caliber of the books. Midnight’s Children is a book written by Rushdie at his creative best. It draws inspiration from his own family life. The main protagonist of Midnight’s Children is born on the night when India becomes an independent nation once again notwithstanding some pieces being cut and carved into Pakistan. Life of Pi protagonist is also born in India. Both the protagonists grow up with the nation.

The story of Midnight’s Children begins from the grandfather’s home in Kashmir, travels to Agra with his newly wedded wife via Amritsar where Jallianwala  tragedy in which thousand innocent people are killed by the army under the orders from Brigadier-General Reginald E.H. Dyer. In Agra many developments take place and the family home becomes a hub for freedom fighters. Some marriages take place. Ultimately, one of the daughters of the doctor after marriage with a businessman moves to Bombay where they purchase a house in the now most posh locality of the city from a Britisher. Here the protagonists are born in a nursing home to two different women but are exchanged by the maid who for all of her life live under the burden of this guilt.The life of the Bombay is described so graphically that the reader feels he is living in the city himself.

A Scene from Midnight’s Children

The family except their father moves to Karachi Pakistan where many of their relative occupy very high status in the army. After this the protagonist joins the Army and is sent to East Pakistan, now Bangladesh where a war for independence is underway and Pakistan army is perpetrating most heinous crimes against the women and children. Then he returns with the tamasha walas to Delhi.

Both the books revolve around Indians. Although the milieu of the Midnights Children is the Indian Subcontinent from India to Pakistan to Bangladesh and Back.

The protagonist of the other book is an Indian boy whom the destiny makes orphan when the ship carrying his parents, servants and whole circus animals perishes in the ship crash and leaves to fend for himself on the deck of a boat with a surviving tiger inside the boat itself. It depicts the bravery, wit and presence of mind to survive the travail and ultimately arrive himself and tiger to the soil to safety.

A scene from Life of Pi

I for one have read the Midnight’s Children many times and Life of PI once . Life of Pi movie has done very well. Late Irrfan Khan acted in it. Midnight’s children did not succeed as a movie. Perhaps its canvas is so huge that it is not possible to turn it easily into a movie.

Leave a Reply