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Rushdie forced to shift 'Midnight's Children' press meet

January 24, 2013 23:13 IST

Controversies refuse to leave Salman Rushdie as the author who is in India to promote the movie adaptation of his novel Midnight's Children was initially forced to cancel and ultimately shift his press conference due to security reasons.

Delhi was the first stop for the author in a multi-city tour of the country, which does not include a trip to Jaipur, a city where his presence at the Literature Festival was called off last year due to protests from several organisations.

The event, jointly organised by Landmark and PVR Pictures, was first scheduled to be held at a south Delhi mall but it was cancelled and at the last moment the venue was shifted to a hotel.

This year, Rushdie tried to keep the focus on Midnight's Children, the movie, based on his Booker Prize wining novel, which is releasing in India on February 1.

Accompanied by director Deepa Mehta, the author at a press meet in New Delhi, did not talk about last year's fiasco but touched upon briefly on increasing intolerance.

"...Moors Last Sigh is the sequel of ... Midnight's Children and it talks about the changes we are witnessing today. It talks about Bombay of childhood, which was a very tolerant city in the 60s and 70s being replaced by an intolerant, sectarian and problematic city that we now have...," he merely said.

Earlier in the day, Rushdie had said that India was witnessing an emergency of a different kind. 

"It is cultural emergency. Well it is a different emergency," the 65-year-old author said.

There was speculation that the film Midnight's Children might not be released in India after the JLF fiasco over Rushdie's visit and also because a large chunk of the film's narrative deals with the Emergency period.

The author said contrary to reports in the media the film did not face "any problem" with the censors or finding a distributor in India.

"There is a worry that I have about how easily uninformed speculation makes its way into print and by being repeated... Through the Internet, it has a multiplier effect. By repetition it seems to be true... Actually there was never a problem. It was an ordinary process," he said.

Recalling his journey with Midnight's Children, the author couldn't stop himself from gleefully narrating an incident when he was sued by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi for commenting about her marriage in the book.

Rushdie said he had "removed some 8 or 10 words referring to Gandhi from the book due to pressure from his publishers but was happy to get away with very strong criticism of the Emergency period".

The upcoming film, which Mehta adapted 30 years after it was first published, deals with two children who are born at the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947 and are switched at birth.

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