“Rajkumar Rao starrer Newton, being one of the most anticipated films of the year, delves down into the intricacies of the voting system of the nation in a rather satirical manner; and ultimately creates a travesty that is going to be indelible for years to come.”
“Every action has an equal and opposite reaction”, is what Sir Isaac Newton’s third law of motion (which also happens to be one of the thumb rules in screenwriting) says; and in the context of the NEW film, NEWTON it holds true. The director Amit V. Masurkar hurls the directorial verb “Action”, the protagonist actor Rajkumar Rao acts impeccably, the rest of the crew, especially Pankaj Tripathy excellently supports and it meritoriously results in an exuded applause from the audience.
The story revolves around Newton (Rajkumar Rao), a rookie clerk who is sent for an election duty in the Naxalite-ridden tribal area of Chhattisgarh, India. What ensues is a struggle between duty and life, hope and obsession.
While Amit Masurkar’s debut film “Sulemani Keeda” gave a chance to fresh faces like Naveen Kasturia (popularly known as Naveen Bansal of ‘Pitchers’) he opts for an easier way for his second feature. Shot in low budget production costs with limited casting, Amit V Masurkar and Mayank Tewari pen a simple yet effective way of storytelling in their script. For most part of the movie it depends on the acting be it Rajkumar Rao’s versatility, Pankaj Tripathi’s tenacity or the simplicity by Anjali Patil by portraying a local tribal girl.
Newton Kumar’s duty in the sensitive areas of Chhattisgarh as a presiding officer of a mere seventy-six voters takes a different turn when he faces a conflict of interest with Aatma Singh( Pankaj Tripathi), the commander-in-charge of the security forces in the polling booth. Aatma Singh stands for the basic principle where he refuses to risk the lives of his soldiers for some voters who wouldn’t understand whom they are voting and why! Newton Kumar is that obstinate and conscientious officer who stands for duty where he believes each and every vote counts and is heavily invested in work ethics.
When finally Newton Kumar manages to demonstrate the villagers how the voting system works, one of the villagers points out by asking how they were going to be profited from this vote. The moral ground works from the perspective when given a thought that it indeed seems impractical to a certain extent when the villagers who struggle arduously to earn a living would be interested in electing political leaders. For them survival is the ultimate ambition and anything that costs their life or doesn’t profit them directly doesn’t make much sense.
Apart from the cat-and-mouse feud of Rajkumar Rao and Pankaj Tripathi, Anjali Patil plays her part as a local girl who is a part of the electorate team. The veteran Raghubir Yadav uses his quirky sense of timing to deliver some humorous yet introspecting moments (one of them being him emphasising the importance of English in India despite being a Masters in Hindi himself). Even Sanjay Mishra’s cameo makes us laugh and think at the same time about work ethics (he advises Rajkumar Rao in the beginning that one shouldn’t anticipate validation or appreciation from others when he is doing his job).
Director Amit Masurkar evidently switches to some comic reliefs in between serious sequences and some impactful cinematography is observed when the feather of a cock flying in slow motion is intertwined with the villagers being forced to vote by the local security forces because of an unprecedented visit by a foreign journalist, another scene featuring where a voter stands dumbstruck because of his alienation from the voting ballots.
Apart from the eminent filmmaking, what has created a buzz in the media and public is that the film is selected as India’s official entries to the Oscars’ foreign films’ nomination category. And it deserves every bit of it as it has already received heaps of praises from different international film festivals and has been screened in a few. Whether or not, it’s going to be triumphant only time will say but after this achievement, Newton emerges out to be entirely intrinsic to India, one can only hope that the coming days will see India churning some good independent films.