Published in 1981, Midnight's Children attempts to portray the events before, during and after the Independence of India in 1947. Its primary character, Saleem Sinai, is born at midnight, at the start of the very day of independence, making him exactly the same age as his country. He is bestowed with the magical gift of telepathy which enables him to communicate with other children across India. These other children also are telepathic because their births occurred in the first hour of the same day. Through their disparate experiences and the travels of Saleem's own family, Rushdie explores the various factions that influenced and altered the history of the new India.
Filming in Sri Lanka started in February 2011 and was kept as secret as possible due to fears of interference by religious groups opposed to the work. Rushdie himself condensed his novel into the screenplay and worked closely with director Deepa Mehta on the creation of the film.