Cast: Rajkumar Rao, Pankaj Tripathi, Sanjay Mishra, Raghubir Yadav & Anjali Patil.
Directed by: Amit V Masurkar.
Introduction: When was the last time somebody’s honesty choked you? Honestly, ‘truth is the most blurred concept in today’s times. We live in an age where ‘speaking the truth’ is celebrated when actually that should have been the norm. But let’s leave that discussion to another day. Today, let’s talk about a little gem called ‘Newton’. A film that has now become the official entry from India to the prestigious academy awards. Does this film stand a chance at that stage, competing with some outstanding work from the other parts of the world? In my opinion, it does.
Take One: ‘Newton’ is a presiding officer who is helicoptered into a jungle to oversee an election that constitutes just 76 voters. He has three other officers and forces on the ground for the company. This alone is the basic premise of the film. But what stands out is its narrative. The perspective of Aatma Singh, played brilliantly by Pankaj Tripathi, who has become cynical seeing how elections are conducted in areas inflicted by insurgency, the narrative of a local officer, who subtly conveys the apathy of the locals, caught in the crossfire of the government and naxal forces and the narrative of ‘Newton’ who is willing to lose his life but not give up on his honesty.
Take two: The pace of the film is sluggish. At one hour and forty-six minutes, this film is slow. It’s meant to be that way. The emptiness only adds to it’s charm. There is little hysteria. This film could have gone either way. There was enough scope for over dramatic scenes, but the director has chosen to wisely craft this film in a different manner. You will crackle on the humour, and if you can relate it to the current scenario, most of its dialogues makes sense. Talking about zombies inside a dilapidated building within a jungle still gives you goosebumps.
Take Three: The stand out moment of the film was it’s end. It’s unusual the way the film concludes, but the after taste still lingers on. Technically, Newton is not a masterpiece. The film is out of focus for the better part, but the writing by Mayank Tiwari backed by performances from it’s actors keeps you engaged throughout.
Summary: Its been a big year for small films. Newton for me is right up there. At the top. Rarely, will you find a black comedy film that gets it’s humour quotient right. It’s easy to ensemble good actors together in one film, but it’s exceedingly tough, that each one of them add value to the narrative. This truly has been Rajkumar Rao’s year.
Verdict: 4 out of 5.