Borrowing it’s style from the DNA of Black Comedy on the lines of ‘Silent Wedding’ that makes you poignant before you finish the laugh on a seemingly funny sequence, ‘Newton’ hits all the right notes and delivers the message through its logical conclusion while maintaining the sarcasm unfolding in the incidences that look extremely common place at times and surreal otherwise depending upon viewer’s frame of mind. Original Isaac Newton, the otherwise well-known scientist for his theory of gravity and action-reaction, is being explained as the pioneer of equality by an Election Duty Controller to our Newton who has re-named himself to get rid of the ridicule he faced for being Nutan Kumar. Our Newton, casually biting into an apple in his first scene of the film, makes it clear where and how this ‘Election Duty’ will take us through the Jungles of Chhattisgarh.
Amit Masurkar, a Mumbai boy and an Engineering drop-out, had taken all the efforts to make his bold and honest statement on this severely amputated and awfully manipulated system of democracy aka voting for elections, looks absolutely effortless. The underlying principle of the 106 minutes movie is – it’s difficult to be honest in the system that is rotten inside out and moreover, it could be fatal being arrogant about your honesty. Amit has managed to do a job that is world-class (no wonder the movie is nominated for Oscars!) as the movie reminds the viewer of all such movies around the globe that do not fear to take a stand against the system they are part of… Kudos to Amit… with or without Oscar!
Movie is Director’s media, indeed, but a strong story-line with a disquieting message needs equally strong actors who could actually live up to the characters they are portraying. Rajkumar Rao is one of the finest actors of the date who easily secures a place in the league of Irfan and Nawazuddin. With his breathtaking performances in Kai Po Che, CityLights, Aligarh and a small but significant appearance in Queen, he already made it clear what he had in store and where he is heading… Newton is not just another feather in his cap but a jeweled Crown that he deserves well. Pankaj Tripathi taking a second seat just behind the protagonist, makes it sure that his impeccable quality leaves marks on the overall impression so deep that he could not be forgotten. After ‘Nil Battey Sannata’, it could have been difficult to imagine a sober School Headmaster in a role of a stubborn Commanding Officer, but this surprisingly isn’t the case, all credits to Pankaj Tripathi for his unpredictable style of playing with characters and perfectly picking their peculiar behaviors.
Raghuveer Yadav and Sanjay Mishra have nothing much to do but with their natural ease that belongs to theater and experience of years both deliver exactly what is required of them. The last but not the least is Anjali Patil, an intense young actress who has a long way to go, seems extremely promising with her effortless appearance as an educated Tribal Girl and reminds the viewer of Smita Patil in Jait Re Jait and Chakra. All in all, with this out-to-out political satire (as it is acclaimed by critics) Amit has made a tremendous effort with a sarcastically stark and bold comment on the dictatorship at every nook and corner camouflaged in the overrated democratic system that is already started losing people’s confidence in it. With actors that are class apart, locations and cinematography that is unbelievably natural yet absolutely engaging and editing that is undoubtedly flawless, Newton is the Indian Movie of this year and let us keep our fingers crossed till the Oscar night.
Another young and fearless Director Neeraj Pandey made some powerful comments on the system in ‘A Wednesday’ (2008), ‘Special 26’ (2013) and ‘Baby’ (2015). Baby the most recent and most candid movie offering ultimate solution to terrorism across the border had a sequence where fictional secret agent Ajay (Akshay Kumar) gets up, closes the door of the cabin and delivers a tight slap to the PA of Defense Minister in response to PA’s loose comment about Soldiers dying on duty as ‘Log to marenge hi, unka to kam hai…’ (People will keep dying, it is their job...). It’s not only Soldiers who die on duty, there are people dying every day for duty, on roads, in queues, on stations and in hospitals… without any fault of theirs. Neeraj and Amit have this tool called Cinematic Liberty where they can slap these cheap shameless chair-warmers and the duo is putting it to good use.
When a nation has National Media that is lubricated and Social Media that is fabricated, for a Democracy to respire we need more youngsters like these two to come forward, take up a subject of public interest and educate the people through edutainment, for that is the only way India prefers to learn…!
Way to go…