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Was nervous to narrate `Midnight`s Children`: Salman Rushdie

New Delhi: Salman Rushdie says it was flattering to get the offer to narrate his own novel `Midnight`s Children` on the big screen but he was "nervous" about spoiling the film.

The Booker-prize-winning author, 65, who has also written the script for the Deepa Mehta directed movie, says the decision to have his voice-over came late.

"I did not decide to become the narrator. It was Deepa`s idea. I did not want to do it. We tried to make the film without a narration but it was only when we began assembling the film that we felt a voiceover was needed," Rushdie said at a press meet last night.

"Deepa tried two actors but in the end told me `you should do it`. It was very flattering but it also made me nervous because I did not want to be the one amateurish thing that spoils the film. I thought if it really embarrasses me, I had the right to fire myself. I went into it with that kind of spirit," Rushdie said at the event, organised by Landmark and PVR.

The making of the film has been an interesting journey in itself and Mehta, who accompanied the author, recalled how they lost a cobra while shooting the film in Sri Lanka.

"We had 12 main characters, thousands of extras, some animals including an elephant and four cobras. Actually, we lost one baby cobra, we found only three. It is still out there somewhere," said Mehta.

The novel is getting a movie adaptation, 30 years after it was first published. Rushdie said that there was another attempt to turn the novel into a film but it did not work out.

The author says he was "pretty ruthless" when it came to removing chunks of the novel to fit the story in two hours.

"There are many parts of the novel and characters which were not essential to the central story. That was the question. What`s the essential storyline of the movie?

"It is very difficult with `Midnight`s Children` because, it is deliberately a very digressive novel. We sacrificed a lot of stuff. We had to delete some very good scenes also."

The film starring Satya Bhaba, Siddharth, Shriya Saran, Shabana Azmi, Anupam Kher, Rajat Kapoor, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Soha Ali Khan and Seema Biswas, will release on February 1.