Cast: Rajkummar Rao, Anjali Patil, Pankaj Tripathi
Screenplay: Mayank Tiwari
Direction: Amot Masurkar
Music: Naren Chandavarkar & Benedict Taylor
Production: Manish Mundra
Plot:Newton is the story of a straight forward man in a topsy turvy world, where the truth is shunned and deceit goes unnoticed. Nutan Kumar, having changed his name to Newton, is a one of a kind government clerk who refuses bribes and embraces his work with excitement. He is sent to Dandkaranya, a Maoist infested area, where the army is supposed to be protecting the inhabitants. But when he undertakes this seemingly impossible task of organising an election in the area, he realises soon enough that things will not roll over smoothly for him. He encounters an army commander, Aatma Singh (Pankaj Tripathi) who doesn’t seem to understand that Newton must do his duty. He is accompanied in this journey by colleagues – Kolma (Anjali Patil), Lokpal (Raghubir Yadav) and Shambhoo (Mukesh Prajapati). In the forests, where the most dangerous animals are the ones with the guns, Newton must discover exactly how far he can go for his duty.
Rajkumaar Rao displays his signature excellence in the portrayal of a character who is just simple and pure. From a specific kind of eye blink to his body language, he pulls it off perfectly. His struggle with authority and safety is evident and not at all forced. Pankaj Tripathi plays a complicated character who seems to sympathize with the main character, yet continues to make his life very difficult. He doesn’t come off as overly threatening or macho, as many army characters tend to, but portrays a very real individual, who is playing god in a place where nobody wants to pray. Anjali Patil plays the adivasi correspondent to the election organisation team. She does justice to the role, without trying to romanticize her people’s struggle and yet, extending hope. Mukesh Prajapati and Raghubir Yadav, who forms the other half of the election team, are mostly present for comic timing, with their quirky habits and hilarious questions.
Screenplay and Direction –
The screenplay is a bit slow in the first half, but nevertheless, persists. The second half of the film is where the pace picks up and becomes interesting. There are funny one liners that were even kept in the trailer. Even in an area where danger is imminent, Amit Masurkar and Mayank Tiwari maintain a sense of everyday life, where people cook food, collect water and cut wood. The film doesn’t seek to preach, as politically involved films often do. It just portrays what is happening and in a quaint, simple manner that helps ge the message through. Even the shooting locations, far away from others, are incredible. It is untouched beauty, unpretentious and truly real.
The music is very far from the mainstream, as is the film. The true beauty is in the background score and the editing. It helps guide the comic stream of the film and does it so well! Amit Trivedi, the genius that he is, sang a song in this film. However, songs are not a greatly involved part of the movie. It is an enjoyable accompaniment, but doesn’t affect the tone of the movie.