Paladin and 108 Media have acquired domestic distribution rights to “Midnight’s Children,” a film adaption of Salman Rushdie’s 1981 novel, Paladin CEO Mark Urman told TheWrap.
Rushdie co-wrote the script with Oscar-nominated director Deepa Mehta. Rushdie, who just released a memoir, also appeared at the film’s Toronto gala premiere.
“Midnight’s Children,” which won the Booker Prize, is about two baby boys born at the stroke of midnight on the day India gained its independence. The two are switched at birth, as the boy born to a rich family is raised a pauper while the boy born in poverty is raised by a wealthy family.
Though the story follows the two boys, the broader narrative is the birth of modern India, a country at long last free from repressive British rule but still divided by class and ethnicity. The film spans three decades of Indian history, during which both Pakistan and Bangladesh split off as separate nations.
Ending on an uplifting note, Urman described the film as “very wise and very warm.”
“It’s rare to come across a film based on such an important and highly regarded novel that not only does justice to the novel but can stand on its own as full-blown cinematic entertainment,” Urman told TheWrap. “It’s visually splendid, marvelously entertaining and spectacular.”
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The film marks the second major acquisition since Urman’s Paladin announced a new distribution deal with Abhi Rastogi’s 108 Media.
Urman and Rastogi plan a platform theatrical release in April, and Urman said they spoke at length with with producer David Hamilton and financiers Echo Lake and Telefilm Canada about how the movie could be effectively marketed and distributed.
Though "Midnight's Children" has been well-received and has a great pedigree thanks to Rushdie and Mehta, marketing and distribution remain a challenge given the film's subject matter, length (148 minutes) and use of multiple languages.
“We have specific ideas about its audience and how it could be harvested,” Urman said. “We really felt we needed to give the film time and give ourselves time to prepare it properly. Though it is opening in Canada imminently, we were undeterred by that. To do a film like this right means everything top to bottom.”