BBC Radio 4 To Air Special Feature On Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children

As India turns 70, BBC Radio 4 marks its anniversary with a special seven-episode dramatisation of Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children

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BBC Radio 4 To Air Special Feature On Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children

India at 70: Saleem in Salman Rushdie's novel is born at the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947.

New Delhi:  Author Salman Rushdie's 1981 Booker Prize-winning magic-realist novel Midnight's Children forms the centrepiece of BBC Radio 4's elaborate plans to mark the 70 years of Indian Independence as well as the painful Partition in 1947.

Midnight's Children follows the life of a boy, Saleem Sinai, born at the exact moment when India gained independence from Britain.

According to the BBC, the "ambitious dramatisation of Mr Rushdie's multi-award winning work" will be broadcast on the 70th anniversary itself. The first episode will be aired just before midnight on the eve of the anniversary. On August 14, listeners can hear an interview with the author at 11.30 pm. The dramatisation begins at 11.45 with Saleem's birth. The rest of the dramatisation can be heard on August 15 throughout the day on BBC Radio 4 which will comprise seven episodes of differing lengths, the broadcaster said.

Mr Rushdie, the author of 12 novels, said in a statement, "My generation is a radio generation," and added, "Indeed, Saleem refers to himself as a radio - All India Radio - due to his ability to talk to people telepathically, so radio seems like a very appropriate medium for this dramatisation of Midnight's Children."

Talking about the varying duration of the episodes, he said, "I'm also very happy to have the originality of different length episodes in the drama - it feels radical and exciting and I look forward to hearing it go out on the radio."

Actor Nikesh Patel, known for his portrayal of Aafrin Dalal in British drama series Indian Summers, plays Saleem Sinai in this dramatisation done by writer Ayeesha Menon.

Mr Rushdie has adapted Midnight's Children for the stage in 2002. It was performed in London and New York by the Royal Shakespeare Company.

A cinematic adaptation of Midnight's Children directed by Deepa Mehta was released in 2012. But it wasn't easy condensing a 600-page novel into an over two hour-long film, he confessed.

"It took me nearly two years to develop the screenplay. If the story is too long, people stop feeling for anything. If you overcrowd the narration, it loses effect. So I had to be very careful about what all to include (and leave out)," he had said.

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