A government clerk name Newton Kumar is sent on Election Duty to a naxal-controlled town. He tries his best to conduct free and fair elections against the odds. Starring Rajkummar Rao in the lead, the film stars Pankkaj Tripathi in a pivotal role and is directed by Amit Masurkar.
A government clerk name Newton Kumar is sent on Election Duty to a naxal-controlled town. He tries his best to conduct free and fair elections against the odds. Starring Rajkummar Rao in the lead, the film stars Pankkaj Tripathi in a pivotal role and is directed by Amit Masurkar. less
“It simple, it's touching, it's everything you hope from a film like this.”
Movies that often do well at international film festivals have a notion attached to them. Most films in the category are believed to cater to a niche section of audiences not seeking entertainment at large. Filmmaker Amit Masurkar's Newton appears to place itself in a similar category but defies this notion on most levels. The film is a smooth, comfortable and yet a thought provoking watch that works for a number of reasons led by performances of course.
The best thing about Newton is its subtlety in introducing us to a very sensitive subject of electoral challenges in tribal regions marred by Naxalism. The film conveys its intrinsic message without shoving it down our throat or recreating disturbing events on screen. It makes you empathize with every single character in its narration dwelling deep into the minds of each one of them. At one point when Raghubir Yadav, a veteran government servant asks Anjali Patil "Aap aashawadi hain ya nirashavadi?"(If she's an optimist or a pessimist), she quips by replying "Main aadivasi hoon" (I'm a tribal). It is nuances like these in Newton that keeps its mood so comfortably watchable.
Newton is about a young, honest and self-righteous man Newton Kumar who's been commissioned to conduct electoral polling in a tension filled Naxalite region in Chhattisgarh as the presiding officer. He is aided by an opinionated army man in the looks of Pankaj Tripathi who thinks it's his prerogative to influence, drag or even threaten the voters for he understands what the root troubles are. While Newton goes by the book, everybody else runs how the system makes them run. From staging a fake Naxalite attack by the army itself to the DIG promoting fake voting to impress foreign media, the film has a view on almost everything and yet keep the humor flowing.
Filmmaker Amit Masurkar who has previously directed an independent film Suleimaani Keeda fairly succeeds in trying to evoke every possible emotion that he wanted to. From understanding the helplessness of the army and police to the plight of Tribals who want freedom from everyone, he lets us into a world that we've only seen through newspaper reading or TV channels debates. While he skillfully includes the conflicts all around, he makes sure to highlight where all the gaps are. As much as you want to take sides here, he makes sure you are thrown an equally solid counter to rethink.
The film is wrapped around authenticity. From performers who look exactly the part they are playing to locations that make you feel you are there, it is the tangible connect of Newton that really makes it an experience.
However, the film of course belongs to its leads. While Rajkummar Rao submits yet another stimulating performance, he is fabulously complimented by the support cast led by Pankaj Tripathi. The likes of Rabhubir Yadav and Anjali Patil only make the film more real and more intense. Newton would not be what it is if it were not for the authentic display of acting complimented by a well sketched screenplay.
Newton is authentic, it is thought provoking & it is so much more without once going over the top. We could really use movies like these that convey such subjects with constant humor.