Newton is an insightful story of our electoral process in a Naxalite affected area in Chhattisgarh with all the associated drama involving military, police, journalists, the electorate.. and an honest and idealistic electoral officer, Newton.
In spite of the simple plot, the film is an amazing example of simple yet gripping storytelling.
It has a satirical style of giving food for thought minus the drama, exaggeration or sermons. This film proves that it’s possible to give meaningful and engaging cinema based on a good plot provided the craftwork is brilliant.
I would like to give the first major credit to Amit Vasurkar who has written the story, screenplay and directed this wonderful film. Mayank Tiwari has co-written the film.
They never let the storyline falter, have written the characters well and have presented all the stakeholders in a very nonjudgmental light in a matter of factly way without giving in to any temptation to glorify or dramatise any aspect.
Each scene, including each face that’s on the screen, seems as authentic as a documentary film yet is as gripping as any interesting piece of cinema. I think their casting team deserves a lot of credit here as I could see in the end credits that they seem to have chosen a lot of locals apart from a great ensemble cast.
Rajkumar Rao, as always, seems so real as the innocent, enthusiast and idealistic young man who wants to make a change and wants to follow rules to the tee.
Pankaj Tripathi, the fine actor that he is, always performs brilliantly. This time he finally gets a role that’s lengthy enough for his fans to have their fill of him.
Raghubir Yadav, seen after long, is such a pleasure to watch. He adds a touch of humour to the plot.
Anjali Patil as the locality is impressive with her practical and reserved approach to the whole process.
Sanjay Mishra leaves a mark and is so loveable even in his two scenes cameo.
The first half introduces us to Newton and how he, along with his team, goes to this Naxalite area amidst jungles of Chhattisgarh to ensure polling for a total of 76 registered voters. The detailed account right from the assignment of polling booths to travelling to that area under heavy military protection, the camping, the challenges, the deterrence .. is very interesting, insightful and downright gripping.
The second half shows the polling targets achieved after all the nuisances of military, police and media jugglery.
Somewhere down the line, in a very subtle manner, the filmmaker raises pertinent questions to ponder over what do the people really want? Is anyone actually helping them? Are the elections benefitting them or merely a democratic process is completed? Are they being saved from Naxalites or merely being displaced for grabbing potentially profitable land? Are the journalists actually showing relevant information to the world? What’s the role of military and police in this whole circus? And most important of all, how idealistic can one practically be? And to what extent should one let things be?
The lyrics by Irshad Kamil in the end credits sums up satirical tinge …
“Chal tu apna kaam kar,
Aas pados mein kya banta hai, Kya hai masala kya hai tail, Tune isse kya lena hai,
Rajneeti ki shop hai mitron, Sabhi emotion hote fail, Border pe apni sena hai,
Tu twitter pe chod missile, Subah baith aur sham kar ”
Overall, Its a superbly crafted film with superb set of performances. Its interesting, gripping,meaningful and a must watch .
Score 8 on 10