Midnight's Children

Synopsis: A pair of children, born within moments of India gaining independence from Britain, grow up in the country that is nothing like their parent's generation.
Genre: Drama
Director(s): Deepa Mehta
Production: Paladin Films
  4 wins & 8 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
146 min

I was born in the city of

Bombay, once upon a time.

At the precise instant of

India's arrival at independence...

...on the stroke of midnight,

I tumbled forth into the world.

I, Saleem Sinai, was mysteriously

handcuffed to history.

My destiny,

forever chained to my country's.

And I couldn't even

wipe my own nose...

...at the time.

Most of what matters in our

lives takes place in our absence;

and my life really began on the

shore of the Dal Lake in Kashmir...

more than 30 years

before I was born.

The central feature of

my grandfather's anatomy...

...was his magnificent nose.

Doctor Aziz.

Good morning, Ghani Sahib.

- Good morning.

Now that our own

lady doctor is sick...

...you, Doctor Aziz, get the

opportunity and she gets the sack.

Big chance for you, young man.

- Yes, sir.

I've heard nice things about you.

Good doctor, Europe-returned.

Good family background.

Well, good enough.

My daughter is not well.

Do a good job. Make her alright.

I have many friends in this town.

And you have a practice

to build. Right?


- Right.

Where is she, your daughter?

She is standing behind the sheet,

like a good girl.

But, Ghani Sahib, how will

I examine her without seeing her?

Ah, I can see your confusion.

You Europe returned chappies

forget certain things.

My daughter is not

going to flaunt her body...

...under the nose of any Tom,

Dick or, for that matter, Aziz.

You will...

...specify the portion

that you want to examine.

What does the lady complain of?

My poor child has terrible

- too-dreading - stomach-ache.

In that case, may I examine her?

Yes - Naseem, stomach, pronto.

May I?

Yeah, yes, you can.

Thank you.

Doctor Aziz, my poor child

is suffering from constipation.


- No, no.

Don't even think about it.

There is no question of being

permitted to administer an enema.

No, no. No, no, Ghani Sahib.

- No. I said no.

Doctor Aziz!

Thank you.

Is it... permitted that I touch?

Touch away, touch away!

Hands of a healer!

Thank you.

With your permission, please.

Is it the lady's time of the month?


But then, then... Then

there is nothing to worry about.

It's, it's, it's alright.

Don't be embarrassed, old chap!

You're the family doctor now!

Doctor Aziz... she has a headache.

My goodness doctor, what a nose!


...it's quite a specimen.

I agree.

So, Doctor Aziz.

Anything else?

Just one more thing...

We will be a modern couple.

Naseem will not wear the veil.


...you will allow other

men to look at her face?

Most men,

Ghani Sahib, are not beasts.

Most men are also not blind,

Doctor Sahib.

Listen, would you...

move a little, please.

Move where? Move how?.

I mean... like, like a woman.

Who have I married?

I know you foreign-educated types.

You do God knows what with

those foreign terrible women,

...and then you expect

us to be like them.

Listen, Doctor Sahib,

husband or no husband,

I am not the moving type.


In Agra, my grandfather contracted

a dangerous form of optimism.

It was caused by Mian Abdullah,

...the hope of all Indian Muslims...

...who were against the

partition of the country...

...into India and Pakistan.

A politician with

a peacock-feather fan.

We can beat them.

- I'm sure.

We are ready for whatever may come.

There is talk of dirty deeds.

Oh yes?

This is Nadir Khan, my secretary.

Nice to meet you, Nadir.

He has a heightened imagination.

He's a poet, you see.

Oh, a poet...

And what poetry! Not a single verse!

Not a single verb!

Well, all these ideas seem

out of date to me, excuse me, sir.

All artistic expression is equal,

poetry, movies, even the

old men who use their skill to...

...spit out betel-juice

and hit a spittoon.

Perhaps I will get you a spittoon,..

...so that you can

practice your art.

How about that, Mian Abdullah?

These are new ideas.

We must leave, Your Highness.

Excuse us. Dr. Aziz.

Mian Sahib?

Help me, Doctor Aziz.


Please help me.

Who's this?

Sorry for the interruption!

Such an intrusion.


I had to hide!

Is that you, Nadir? What are you-?

I saw everything, Doctor!

They killed him.

I saw them murder him.

Assassins shot him like a dog.

And then they saw me!

- Shh. Quiet.

You have to hide me, Doctor.

Or I'm a dead man.

At home, Doctor Aadam Aziz

found himself surrounded by women.

His formidable wife, Naseem,

wise Alia, sweet Mumtaz,

and flighty Emerald.

He's asked us for our shelter.

We have no choice.


And spare us your crazy oaths!

Where are you going?


But, Abba, where will we put him?

We'll sweep him under the carpet.

Like all other problems.

Sometimes emotions

are stirred into food...

...and become what you feel.

And sometimes,

people leak into each other;

like flavours when you cook.

Mumtaz Aziz,

destined to be my mother,

took upon herself the duties of

caring for the needs of Nadir Khan.

You're very good.

I'm not a brainbox like Alia,

or a beauty like Emerald.

But you are.

Eat, now. Don't let it go cold.

Terrible business, sir.

I fully understand your grief.

But you did know this fellow...


secretary to Mian Abdullah?

No, I don't think so, no.

Met him at the Rani of cooch

Naheen's on the night of the killing?

Yes, of course...

Yes, I thought you might

be able to shed some light on...

...his disappearance. No?...


And of course these

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Salman Rushdie

Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie (born 19 June 1947) is a British Indian novelist and essayist. His second novel, Midnight's Children (1981), won the Booker Prize in 1981 and was deemed to be "the best novel of all winners" on two separate occasions, marking the 25th and the 40th anniversary of the prize. Much of his fiction is set on the Indian subcontinent. He combines magical realism with historical fiction; his work is concerned with the many connections, disruptions, and migrations between Eastern and Western civilizations. His fourth novel, The Satanic Verses (1988), was the subject of a major controversy, provoking protests from Muslims in several countries. Death threats were made against him, including a fatwā calling for his assassination issued by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Supreme Leader of Iran, on 14 February 1989. The British government put Rushdie under police protection. In 1983 Rushdie was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, the UK's senior literary organisation. He was appointed Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France in January 1999. In June 2007, Queen Elizabeth II knighted him for his services to literature. In 2008, The Times ranked him thirteenth on its list of the 50 greatest British writers since 1945.Since 2000, Rushdie has lived in the United States. He was named Distinguished Writer in Residence at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute of New York University in 2015. Earlier, he taught at Emory University. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2012, he published Joseph Anton: A Memoir, an account of his life in the wake of the controversy over The Satanic Verses. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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