By Ariel Hart writing in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Monday, February 23, 2009
“Slumdog Millionaire” may have been a hit with movie audiences. But not with Salman Rushdie.
“The movie piles impossibility on impossibility,” the famous novelist said in a lecture Sunday evening at Emory University.
In a particularly timely talk about “adaptations” —- books made into movies, and other translations —- Rushdie lambasted the “feel-good movie” and the book “Slumdog Millionaire” was based on.
His complaints ran the gamut from how characters acquire a gun in India to how they mysteriously wind up at the Taj Mahal, 1,000 miles from the previous scene.
That may be surprising coming from an author whose writing is known for a limited adhesion to reality. His narratives can veer into magical developments at the drop of the hat. But one of this movie’s problems, Rushdie said, is one it shares with other films.
“Again, the problem with this adaptation begins with the work being adapted,” he said.
Rushdie’s novels haven’t been made into movies yet, but he’s working on that now, including one of his much-honored book, “Midnight’s Children.”
He spent years in hiding after Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini pronounced a death sentence against him for his writing. In 2006 Emory won Rushdie’s papers for its archives; as part of that deal, the author gives occasional lectures over a period of five years as Distinguished Writer in Residence.