Star Cast: Rajkummar Rao, Pankaj Tripathi, Sanjay Mishra, Anjali Patil, Mukesh Prajapati, Raghubir Yadav.
Director: Amit V Masurkar
What’s Good: Honesty for being what it is, an unexplored idea waiting to be told, it would be blasphemy if I didn’t include Rajkummar Rao & Pankaj Tripathi in this section.
What’s Bad: Pace plays the villain at times, if only it could’ve said few more things.
Loo Break: 3 times! Before & after the film, during the interval.
Watch or Not?: It has a documentary feel to it, watch it keeping your expectations in check. The duo of Rajkummar & Tripathi will keep you hooked.
Nutan Kumar, struggling with his name changes to Newton – he’s the replica of how a perfect man should be. Honestly, punctuality, work-is-worship – are few of his primary traits. The film is set in Konar, Chhattisgarh which is affected my Maoists & Naxalites. When a polling officer denies going for voting in that area, Nutan Kumar aka Newton (Rajkummar Rao) is appointed as a presiding officer to fulfill his duties.
A place having a vote count of 76 people has military support of a team led by Atma Singh (Pankaj Tripathi). Atma helps Newton to reach till the voting booth but what happens next is everything the movie is about. The movie is carried forward showing the point of view of military, villagers & Newton. How everyone is right at their place still how they are trapped in situations no one has control on.
Newton Review: Script Analysis
When after a working weekend, your Monday starts at 5 am – working the whole day you see a film at 8 pm and still that movie manages to touch & move you, there you know that the film is a winner (at least in your heart). Newton is a day’s story trying to explain something which takes years to execute. Amassing champions like Rajkummar Rao & Pankaj Tripathi in lead roles, Sanjay Mishra in supporting – stellar performances are guaranteed. Some will definitely feel a film like this should be watched on a laptop or television, but for me, this is a film which should be watched on a big screen to motivate the makers to produce more of such films.
This film is niche, festival-kind, in-your-face but in the end, it’s an honest attempt to explain a good thing without being preachy. Once a great man was asked, “What happens when you live without good movies?” He smiled & replied, “You get poorer.” Films like Newton are keeping us from getting poorer. Halfway through the film you’ll feel lost among the crawly pace of the film, but, don’t lose hope 2nd half has a lot in store for you. Also, the director has used a lot of symbolism in the film – which may not be understood by everyone. But if you read this review before watching the film, watch out for how the blackboard in the school is always empty to symbolize the sad state of education in these dense villages, how the polling booth cardboard is chucked on a ground after a sequence to show how elections in such areas are unseated.
Newton Review: Star Performance
This is not new for Rajkummar Rao, topping the cast with her stupendous performance is what he has been doing since his first film. Each dialogue he says, each stare he gives, each smile he smiles has only one thing written on it – honesty. Newton is about an honest man fulfilling his responsibilities to the core – ain’t Rajkummar Rao the perfect choice?
Pankaj Tripathi is as equally important as Rajkummar Rao. He overshadows Rajkummar Rao at many places, yes you heard it right! Every single time both of them have a conversation, it’s hard to root for any one of them. He manages the control of the film even during the slow pace. Anjali Patil who plays the role of the Booth Level Officer with the team is the sweetest part of the film. Playing the role of a local, speaking Gondi language, Anjali manages to shine in a film which is full of talent.
The entire supporting cast is one another reason to watch this film. From officers helping Rajkummar Rao to the military people under Pankaj Tripathi, even each of the villagers – everyone is top at their game. Special mention, Raghubir Yadav, this man enjoys the best punchlines of the film. He infuses humour every time he’s on screen.
Newton Review: Direction, Music
Amit V Masurkar, who has previously directed an another Indie film called Sulemani Keeda (Which, by the way, also I liked). With Newton, he has done something extraordinary, he has achieved a feat which isn’t achieved by many even after staying in the industry for years. Using symbolism, covering child marriage, dowry, election’s malfunctions in the duration of 106 minutes is not something we see regularly in Bollywood. From card tricks to Pankaj Tripathi explaining BODMAS to our hero Rajkummar Rao, Amit has designed many of such wonderful moments in the film. Because of explaining the situation of villagers so clearly, the second half of the film catapults to another level.
There was no song in the film until an important sequence. Panchi Ud Gaya (It isn’t out yet) is the song which will redefine your thinking for the film. Amazingly written by Varun Grover, the only song of the film becomes the highlight of it. Music by Naren Chandavarkar, Benedict Taylor, and Rachita Arora has not much role to play in the first half but is well used in second.
Newton Review: The Last Word
I’m watching this movie again, just to show my support for such films, and witness the magical duo of Rajkummar Rao and Pankaj Tripathi once again. You’ll not get an item song, seeti-maar dialogues or hero beating ten goons kind of situations in this film, but what will you get – is a pure & innocent film trying to explain something.
Newton releases on 22nd September 2017.
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