'There are things in India that have got much worse, particularly in the area of free expression'

Walk the Talk

In this Walk the Talk on NDTV 24x7, author Salman Rushdie, who is in India to promote the screen adaptation of his novel, The Midnight's Children, speaks to The Indian Express Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta about the making of the movie, the ban on The Satanic Verses and the role of history in education

How wonderful to have you with us, Salman Rushdie, two feet away, not on a flickering screen.

Yes, this is really me.

It has taken us some time getting you on the show, but good to see you in India, sort of often, because I think you threaten to bore us by coming here so often that it will cease to be news.

That's right, but this time, I hope the thing that will be news is something which I care about, which is the film of Midnight's Children, which has been a long time coming. The book is already more than 30 years old and there have been attempts before to dramatise it, but which for one reason or another didn't happen. In some ways, I think of it as a kind of karma because the kind of team we managed to get behind it this time was much superior to any of the people who have previously been interested in it.

And also, a film is a good ploy to get people who are lazier about reading.

I think if the film is well liked, it will take some people back towards the book. But I think you also have to think of a film as a thing of its own. In the end, if you are making a movie, you are trying to make a good movie. And I would say to Deepa (Mehta) that we should not think of it so much as an adaptation of the book as a relative of the book. It's like the first cousin of the book, like there's a strong family resemblance, but it's not exactly the same thing. I think there's that point always in an adaption.

... contd.

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