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Salman Rushdie in the Guardian on "adaptation" defined "very broadly, to include translation, migration and metamorphosis, all the means by which one thing becomes another":
What can one say about Slumdog Millionaire, adapted from the novel Q&A by the Indian diplomat Vikas Swarup and directed by Danny Boyle and Loveleen Tandan, which won eight Oscars, including best picture? A feelgood movie about the dreadful Bombay slums, an opulently photographed movie about extreme poverty, a romantic, Bollywoodised look at the harsh, unromantic underbelly of India - well - it feels good, right? And, just to clinch it, there's a nifty Bollywood dance sequence at the end. (Actually, it's an amazingly second-rate dance sequence even by Bollywood's standards, but never mind.) It's probably pointless to go up against such a popular film, but let me try.
The problems begin with the work being adapted. Swarup's novel is a corny potboiler, with a plot that defies belief: a boy from the slums somehow manages to get on to the hit Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and answers all his questions correctly because the random accidents of his life have, in a series of outrageous coincidences, given him the information he needs, and are conveniently asked in the order that allows his flashbacks to occur in chronological sequence. This is a patently ridiculous conceit, the kind of fantasy writing that gives fantasy writing a bad name. It is a plot device faithfully preserved by the film-makers, and lies at the heart of the weirdly renamed Slumdog Millionaire. As a result the film, too, beggars belief.
But to be fair, that is more of an aside, as the rest of the essay has a rather broad sweep. Among other things, he tells us that he is "currently teaching a course that highlights some of the instances in which fine books have been adapted into fine films - Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence mutated into Martin Scorsese's The Age of Innocence; Giuseppe di Lampedusa's portrait of Sicily in 1860, The Leopard, turned into Luchino Visconti's greatest film; Flannery O'Connor's Wise Blood became a wonderful John Huston movie; and, in his film of Great Expectations, Lean produced a classic that can stand alongside the Dickens novel without any sense of inferiority, a film that allows this film-goer, at least, to forgive him for the later blunders of A Passage to India. "
And of course, that he himself is once again working on
"a new project to film Midnight's Children, this time with my friend Deepa Mehta, director of the Oscar-nominated Water, and in a few months' time she and I will be settling down to work out how you preserve the essence of a 600-page novel in a 100-page screenplay."