Situated in the backdrop of the on-going Naxalite-Maoist insurgency in Chhattisgarh, this movie is a comment on the fate of those torn between the fear of communist revolution and reluctance of the existing governmental response.
Directed by Amit V Masurkar and starring Rajkumar Rao, the plot follows the trials and tribulations of protagonist Newton Kumar, born as Nutan, a reserve for the position of presiding officer for the annual Lok Sabha elections. At first glance, Newton appears to be a regular joe, contended with the life of honest mediocrity yet driven by the ambitions of bringing about a change in the nation. Post the withdrawal of a permanent official, an opportunity opens up for Newton to conduct ‘free and fair’ elections in the conflicted area of Naxal movement.
As the story unfolds, the audience is exposed to the bitter underlying truth behind the functioning of the largest democracy in the world. The 2 hours and 5 minutes long film attempt to rivet the audience with a muted aura of intensity.
Although categorized as a black comedy, it maintains a grave tone throughout. Interestingly, the scriptwriter uses the voting ballot as a metaphor for all the negative externalities associated with Election procedures, thereby hinting at the exploitation of the unprivileged and window dressing for the sake of foreign media.
Every actor in the movie delivered a stellar performance in this neorealist work of art. It was evident that all the characters were formulated with much thought and almost every one of them showcased more than one attribute of human behavior. All the actors facilitated the smooth projection of the lack of belongingness and too much of it at the same time.
Newton was felicitated at the Hong Kong International film festival and the Berlin International film festival prior to its premiere in India on September 22, honors which in themselves vouch for its glory.
For all those sick of the ‘leave your brains at home’ genre of Indian cinema, I can assure you, Newton would prove to be a real breath of fresh air.