Salman Rushdie and Deepa Mehta arrive at the Indian premiere of the film Midnight’s Children, based on the novel by Rushdie and directed by Mehta, in Delhi on Tuesday night. Both the writer and the filmmaker are controversial figures in their native India because of themes in their previous work, and the film was shot secretly in Sri Lanka lest the production be shut down, as previous attempts to film Rushdie’s work – and an earlier film of Mehta’s – had been. It took more than a year for an Indian film distributor to be willing to take the risk of showing it.
“We did it!” Rushdie crowed to the packed theatre, throwing an arm over Mehta’s shoulders. “They said we weren’t going to do it but we did! We’re difficult like that!” After the screening, which raised funds for a charity providing health care to Delhi’s poor, Toronto-based Mehta said it was a “a dream come true” for her to watch an Indian audience take in the film. “It’s very different here. The audience really gets it. It’s nice when you don’t have to explain anything.”