Indian helmer Deepa Mehta will direct “Midnight’s Children,” a pic adaptation of the seminal Indian independence novel by Salman Rushdie.
The Toronto-based Mehta and Rushdie will co-script the movie, which aims to go into production in 2010 following Mehta’s “Komagata Maru” (aka “Exclusion”). Production is by David Hamilton, Mehta’s husband and regular producing partner, through his Noble Nomad Pictures.
Leading Indian actress Shabana Azmi is in talks to star and Rushdie is expected to take a cameo role.
Project was announced in New York at the Mahindra Indo-American Arts Council Film Festival with Rushdie, Mehta and Azmi in attendance.
“We have made no further decisions about casting and cannot come up with a budget until we have a finished script. Deepa and Salman have set aside a month from mid-March to mid-April to write the screenplay,” Hamilton tells Variety. “At this stage we are open to either going the studio route or putting this together as an independent film.”
For Rushdie, who received the Booker Prize for “Midnight’s Children,” the pic’s screenplay will be the fourth time he has visited the material. He first rewrote it as a stage play and then as a TV series, which was never produced.
“Midnight’s Children” is the fictional memoir of Saleem Sinai, one of 1,001 children born at the stroke of midnight on Aug. 15, 1947, the moment of India’s independence.
Hamilton anticipates shooting the pic in India, but admits it will be a challenge to find locations that resemble 1947 Mumbai.