Secret Shoot

May 19, 2011 (AFP) – Under a cloak of secrecy, the first film adaptation of controversial author Salman Rushdie’s celebrated novel “Midnight’s Children” has finished shooting in Sri Lanka. Canadian director Deepa Mehta chose the South Asian island as a location instead of India or Pakistan, where the book is set, to avoid problems with religious fundamentalists.

“He™s got the Muslims,” Mehta told the Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail, which was granted access to the set before the completion of filming on Sunday. “And I’ve got the Hindus.”

Rushdie earned a fatwa from Iran’s Islamic regime in 1989 sentencing him to death for his novel “The Satanic Verses”, which forced the British writer to live in hiding under police protection for years.

For her part Mehta has problems in her native India with hardline Hindus who object to her portrayals of lesbianism.

Despite obliging all the production crew and cast to sign confidentiality agreements, the three-month shoot was almost derailed when word made it to Iran, a close ally of increasingly isolated Sri Lanka.

After a complaint from Tehran, Sri Lankan authorities reversed their approval for the production, l