By Pranav Rahul Chennuri (Hyderabad, India)
Quixotic vs Reality
Amit Masurkar’s Newton puts a constant smile on your face throughout the film and yet makes you to realize the hard truth behind those smiles. What makes the film a delight to watch is its fantastic characterizations of actors Rajkummar Rao and Pankaj Tripathi. The film is rooted so well in its characters, that it eventually makes the slightest of the subtle conversations look more interesting on the screen.
This film is a satire on Indian politics and draws a comparison between the hard reality of the lives of Army men and the revolutionary people, known as Naxals in India
Newton tells the story about an idealistic man, Newton, who has been sent off for an election duty in a remote area predominated by Naxals. His only aim is to perform his duty well without compromising to any external situation. The conflict arises when Newton meets Aatma Singh, a commander who is in charge at the remote area, to protect Newton and his team from any attacks of Naxals. Aatma Singh strongly believes that no one will turn up on the election day as the tribals present over there are neither interested in voting nor they do know about their candidates to vote. Rest of the story is about how Newton overcame the situations and how successful he was in performing his duties on the election day.
Newton played by Rajkummar Rao, as usual gets into the skin of the character and excels in it. Pankaj Tripathi as commander Aatma Singh, plays an equally good role compared to Rajkummar Rao. The hard reality is revealed in the conversations between these two characters. For example, in one of the scenes Aatma Singh requests Newton to close the booth and pack up for the day as most of the mere number of 76 voters came to vote in the morning, but Newton refuses to do so as there is still time available till 3 in the afternoon for voters to vote. Later, Aatma Singh reveals that it becomes difficult while returning from the remote area, as it will become late in the evening when they reach their destination and in the mean time they may be attacked by Naxals and they don’t have proper equipment to face them in the dark. Both of the characters want to perform their duty well. Aatma Singh wants to move away early so that he could save lives of the people in case if there are any attacks, whereas Newton wants to perform his duty in difficult situations so that he doesn’t even want to miss a single voter from voting.
Apart from these two characters, it is Loknath played by Raghubir Yadav who brings life into the film with his subtle humor. At one time, while having discussion with the army men about the naxals, he comes up with an idea to provide these revolutionary men Colour Television sets and they will automatically come down. Though Sanjay Mishra stays on the screen for a few minutes, he lights up the screen with his terrific performance. Anjali Patil, who plays a local tribe on an election duty plays her part well.
What’s more good about the movie is its idealistic locations where it was filmed. The whole film was shot in a jungle area of Chattisgarh (India) and they are beautifully captured. Sometimes, film appears to go out of pace and even looks like a documentary, but again these loopholes look like few drops of water in a vast ocean.
It is a film where every character acts according to the situation that he/she is in, but what happens if a person who is more idealistic to his/her job doesn’t succumb to situational pressures and tries his/her best in performing the duty well. How does being idealistic in a tough realistic situation impacts the people around you is the rest of the story.
On the whole, Newton provides you a set of questions but does it find a solution for them? The answer is ‘NO’. In the end, it ends on a note saying if you do your job well, then whole system will work well automatically.