Newton (2017) – Why India’s Official Entry to the Oscars is an Eye Opener!

Once in a while, there comes a movie that makes you sit up and take notice, think and warms the shackles of your heart. Newton happens to be one of them.

I think this is that movie for 2017. The last time a movie that managed to do that for me was SHIP OF THESEUS.

Amit Masurkar(of Sulemani Keeda fame) returns to direct this tale of an upright rookie government clerk assigned to election duty in a naxalite controlled area in a conflict ridden village somewhere in Chhatisgarh, India

Aiding him in his vision, we have the versatile Rajkummar Rao in the titular role. This actor has been on a roll in the last few years essaying a variety of characters with conviction.

We witness this thought provoking and amusing little ride which gives us a glimpse of an idealist Nutan Kumar who is trying to conduct a fair and square election against all odds.

The odds stacked against him come in the form of an armed officer(Pankaj Tripathi), a security force apathetic to the cause of the need for such an election, and the villagers who do not see the benefit of participating in ONE.

Yet, we see him steadfast in sticking to his ideals and fighting for them against all forms of cynicism being displayed by his own peers(Raghubir Yadav, Anjali Patil), the villagers and the security forces.

The most heart warming aspect of Amit Masurkar & Mayank Tiwari’s screenplay is the approach they employ in showing the state of politics, elections and the general awareness that exists out there amongst the people without taking sides

There is a sense of razor sharp critique being commented with every scene that plays out here be it from the time Rajkummar lands with his team in Chattisgarh, the first interaction between Rao and Tripathi, the state of the school where the election is to be held, the circus involving the foreign journalist and many more

A special mention goes out to Masurkar while executing the scene involving A FOREIGN JOURNALIST trying to cover the election and how the tribal’s get coerced, forced and oppressed into voting just because we NEED TO PUT OUT A SHOW.

The scene mentioned above will literally move you at a certain point just by seeing the pretensions on display during this sequence

The Cinematography by Swapnil Sonawane is eclectic since it tends to lend dexterity to many of the scenes and gives us a sense of FOCUS on the characters involved in the frame

Barring apart the entire sequence where the Foreign Journalist is involved, the Direction by Masurkar is smart, witty and an absolutely searing commentary on the state of Election Process

The dialogues are funny, tongue in cheek and keep adding to the black humor of the story

Lastly, the performances also add the extra depth to the execution of Masurkar & Co

Raghubir Yadav, Anjali Patil and Pankaj Tripathi are downright honest in essaying their roles with the required amount of candor when it comes to displaying the helplessness and cynicism they have been ingrained with

Sanjay Mishra in a small role still manages to infuse humor, honesty and a hard hitting comment on why we do not give up on our Judicial Process

Lastly, coming to Rajkummar Rao! This Actor is slowly yet steadily taking huge steps with every other performance/character he essays and makes us believe in the adage:

You do not need a GODFATHER on your side in Bollywood as long as you’ve talent, grit and determination!

He makes us believe in the idealist that is Newton, the rebel that is Newton and the upright and honest person that is NEWTON!

Right from questioning the age of the girl he is about to be married to, asking for a written confirmation from the armed forces officer, standing up to his indifference on how voting works, to sticking out till Election time ends – Newton makes us believe that all we need is the belief that our system works, can work and will work if WE WORK with HONESTY!

So finally on a parting note, please take some time to visit your nearest movie theater to witness this MOVIE

It DESERVES to be seen at one!

After all, it’s heartening to know that this NEWTON has now been selected as India’s OFFICIAL entry to the OSCARS.

I sincerely hope that Masurkar & Team can take this one to the TOP 5 and hopefully, let’s see how it UNFOLDS from there!