Netflix has ordered a new original series adapting Sir Salman Rushdie’s magnum opus Midnight’s Children, the streamer announced Thursday.
First published in 1981, the novel blends actual historical events and fictional narrative to tell the story of Saleem Sinai. Born at the stroke of midnight on Aug. 15, 1947—the day of India’s independence from British rule—Saleem’s actions are reflected on a much larger scale in the events that shape the newly sovereign India, to the point where his life is no longer discernible from the history of the country. Saleem also possesses telepathic abilities that link him to the hundreds of other children born between midnight and 1 a.m. that day, all of whom possess their own magical powers.
Midnight’s Children straddles multiple genres, including magical realism, surrealism, comedy and tragedy, in an effort to reflect how a nation, particularly one as diverse as India, can’t be encapsulated into one thing. The novel was awarded the Booker Prize in 1981, as well as the Best of the Booker Award twice. It’s regarded as a watershed novel in post-colonial literature, with many of the Indian-English books published in the decade after 1981 frequently dubbed “post-Rushdie.”
The series will be distributed internationally, as the streaming giant hopes the adaptation will help Netflix gain ground in the Indian market. “The rich experience and talent of Indian creators combined with the global reach of Netflix have the potential for millions of more people around the world to rediscover this story,” said Erik Barmack, Netflix’s vice president of international originals, in a statement.
“I am absolutely delighted that Midnight’s Children will have a new life on Netflix, and greatly look forward to working with them to help create it,” said Rushdie.