India’s official entrant to the Oscars in the Best Foreign Language Film Category, this week’s release ‘Newton’ definitely packed a punch in its trailers. Does the movie justify its selection and is as promising as its trailer….lets find out.
Newton in its heart is a dark comedy which follows the story of Nutan Kumar AKA Newton, an idealist, sent to conduct an election in a jungle area. Twist : the election is threatened to be disrupted by the Maoists. The story is outright novel and never attempted before(as far as I can recall). The screenplay is leisurely almost like any other day in our lives. This singularly stands out for it adds to the realism. Almost like ‘slice of life’ stuff. Full marks here for sticking to this for it could easily have been a run on the mill stuff with the addition of a few ‘commercial’ masalas. The dialogues though regular, force you to think. A simple ‘show and not tell’ case here. Director Amit V Marpuskar who last directed ‘Sulaimani Keeda'(again recommended) has improved leaps and bounds with Newton. The introduction of ‘Newton’ sitting on his bed, eating an apple(perfect metaphor) is a work of a genius. One word for direction : NAILED!!
Over to the performances and everyone deserves a mention. Anjali Patil as the Adivasi teacher and working for the elections as the BLO is first rate. So is Raghubir Yadav who acts his part with the right amount of humour. Pankaj Tripathi, one of my favourites, is once again electrifying as the army officer with impeccable comic timing. And there is Rajkumar Rao who since his LSD days has never been out of form. However here, he takes his acting to a whole new level. The idealism, vulnerability and firmness of ‘Newton’ is finely captured by him adding his own nuances to the character. About time that he gets his due!
All in all , Newton is not meant for the audiences who enjoy mindless comedies and masala entertainers. It is serious cinema for a few(yet plenty) cinema admiring audiences. It may not be a movie which India deserves, but definitely a movie which India needs at the moment.
PS : It stands a great chance at the Academy Awards next year provided it gets a good US distributor!!