<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Amit V Masurkar. Starring Rajkummar Rao, Pankaj Tripathi, Anjali Patil, Raghubir Yadav
Running time: 1 hour 46 minutes
Newton is India’s entry into the Oscars, and it is the perfect choice.
International film festivals love poverty porn from India. They want to see the traditions, the poor, the backward and the underprivileged. Newton is that slice of life film that showcases how India’s democracy is flawed in the rural hinterland.
Mutant Kumar (Rajkummar Rao) has changed his name to Newton, but that’s not all he wants to change. The young idealist from Chhattisgarh sets off to the Maoist region of Dandakaranya as an election officer. Little does he realise that apart from the terror threat in the area, there are several other obstacles he must face to get the free and fair election he wants.
Newton is so motivated by his somewhat-unattainable-at-times ideals that he convinces the senior army officer Aatma Singh (Pankaj Tripathi) to escort him and his band of election officers to the area where a handful of villagers may come to vote. Their journey and the trials they face – more from their own side than from the terrorists – make for an entertaining and enlightening watch.
Each character adds something to the film: Anjali Patil’s confidence and practicality, Raghubir Yadav’s jokes and simple-mindedness and Pankaj Tripathi’s stern but malleable demeanour. All this inspite of the bleak and disheartening situation. Though Newton’s steadfast spirit is inspiring at times his naivety makes you pity with him. His heart may be in the right place but his tactics aren’t always sound.
Democracy, bureaucracy and rural India are shown with all the ridiculousness they sometimes manifest. It’s shocking, funny and thrilling. Newton is a no-frills drama that will teach you something new about India (certainly for those who live in the metros) and entertain you in the process.