Deepa Mehta to adapt 'Midnight's Children'

Historical novel written by Salman Rushdie

TORONTO -- Canadian director Deepa Mehta is collaborating with Salman Rushdie on a big-screen adaptation of the author's 1981 historical novel "Midnight's Children."

Toronto-based Mehta and Rushdie unveiled the project, which will see the duo co-write the screenplay and Mehta direct, at the Mahindra Indo-American Arts Council Film Festival in New York City. They hope to have cameras rolling in 2010.

Indian actors Shabana Azmi and Nandita Das, who starred in two earlier Mehta films, "Fire" and "Earth," are on board to star in the project.

David Hamilton, who produces Mehta's films, including her latest, "Heaven on Earth," will co-produce the adaptation with Rushdie.

Both Mehta and Rushdie were born in India, with the filmmaker eventually moving to Canada and the novelist to Britain.

"Midnight's Children," which earned Rushdie the Booker literary prize, portrays the history of India from 1910 to a declared state of emergency in 1976 as told by a young man born on the stroke of midnight Aug, 15, 1947.