Netflix's 'Midnight's Children' series picks Vishal Bhardwaj as showrunner
Netflix is quickly building a strong reputation in international markets. Unsurprisingly, a major part of their expansion plans includes India with its 1.3 billion residents and 300 million smartphone users. Mindful of this, Netflix began to dabble in Indian original content like Sacred Games. Their upcoming series Midnight's Children is another step in that direction and Netflix chose Vishal Bhardwaj as the showrunner.
What is 'Midnight's Children' about?
Midnight's Children, written by Salman Rushdie, explores Saleem Sinai's life. Born at the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947, when India gained independence, it shows Sinai's actions mirrored and magnified in events swaying India's national affairs. His health, well-being and life are inextricably linked and indistinguishable from India's and his telepathic powers link him to other such 'midnight's children', who possess magical powers.
The popularity of 'Midnight's Children'
Published by Random House in 1981, Midnight's Children won the Booker Prize in 1981, the Best of the Booker two times in 1993 and 2008, and the James Tait Memorial Prize. Critically acclaimed, the book is considered groundbreaking literature on postcolonialism, postmodernism and magical realism.
The perfect man for the job
Considering the rich source material and the acclaim of the story, it is natural to have an adept director as the showrunner. Bhardwaj is known for adapting Shakespeare to Indian cinema with notable films like Maqbool (based on Macbeth), Omkara (based on Othello) and Haider (based on Hamlet) to his name. Notably, Bhardwaj won 7 National Film Awards in India.
Bhardwaj's take on 'Midnight's Children'
Bhardwaj expressed delight at partnering with Netflix to translate one of literature's greatest works to a medium accessible by millions globally. He was confident that the transcendental work that reached across genres and generations would lead to an unforgettable experience for a television show with an Indian heart and a global reach. Bhardwaj was quick to praise Netflix's production values and creative freedom.
Why did Netflix choose Bhardwaj as showrunner?
Director of international originals for Netflix, Simran Sethi, quipped, "The scope and scale of Midnight's Children can only be translated by a creator with an expansive vision, depth of storytelling, and a nuanced knowledge of bringing characters to life".
Why is Bhardwaj the perfect man for the job?
Bhardwaj has the knack of placing global archetypal stories in localized contexts, giving them a distinctly Indian flavor. This is why his Shakespeare adaptations are largely successful. In Midnight's Children, Bhardwaj will have the opportunity to convert something highly localized and make it accessible to the general public. Seeing his nuanced handling of Shakespeare gives us confidence he will do justice to Rushdie's work.