Seldom does a movie gets rated 8 on IMDB, sent as an Indian entry to Oscars without a star cast boasting of either experience, stardom or fame. Newton is one of those surprises that all movie lovers have been waiting to happen on the Indian Cinema’s front, for a long time now, and hear me well for Newton is here to give you just that! Newton is a political satire on the world’s largest democracy and how the Maoists affect the citizens there, and the lives of the people in the ‘red areas’. Don’t let the language or reviews fool you. The best part about the movie is that it gives the audience something to take home, be it an intellectual, or a school-going kid who has been introduced to Civics.
The film begins with a Sudhir Chaudhary giving instructions about elections where the lead character ‘Nutan Kumar’ who changed his own name to ‘Newton’ is introduced. The conversations between Newton and his senior about how not being corrupt is not a favor rather a duty to the nation, and how gravity (science) is one of the hallmarks of equal status of humans are the mark of brilliance of the script and dialogues! The movie takes us on a day-long election to be conducted in one of the naxalite-affected villages of Chattisgarh which has recently been captured by the police, with 76 voters. We are taken through the larger issues of usual apathy of the administration (police and election authorities) in conducting a fair election and the discontent-apathy of the locals who remain unaffected irrespective of the public offices filled in and out by the various elected representatives, the neglect and bias towards natives and the fear of naxalism.
However, the movie wins where instead of making it all grim, it shows the reality for what it is through sarcasm and humour. Be it the scene where the Chief of Security Aatma Singh (Pankaj Tripathi) is describing the candidate’s elections’ symbols as mere fruits and vegetables, and the ballot box as a toy, or the scene where one of the guards is proposing an investing scheme to the Chief Election Officer, the innumerable hilarious takes on the system initially makes you laugh and then think.
The performances are brilliant and appreciating Rajkumar Rao one might easily fall short of words. Right from his continuous blinking onscreen to his child-like curiousity and his silence when he thinks, he makes us watch him and undergo the same dilemma. He is making the problem one of our own. Pankaj Tripathi, as Aatma Singh, does justice to his corrupt security head’s role and Raghubir Yadav is another standing out as a senior Election officer, after Peepli Live.
The brilliance of Masurkar lies in the fact that he found the correct balance between making a humorous yet realistic movie, which hits you even without realising. The point where Rajkumar Rao is seen helpless about the apathy of the voters and their lack of knowledge might make you numb for a while and his consequent rebellious attack might give you an insight on the whole attitude and dynamic of naxalism existing in our country, a message you can receive only if you look closely.
Newton is not just a movie, it’s a message. And the response of the movie amongst the society assures us of one thing, the youth of the country cannot be considered ignorant anymore.