Rajkummar Rao’s ‘Newton’ Inspired by Iranian Film ‘Secret Ballot’?

It seems the Rajkummar Rao starrer Newton is “uncannily similar” to Secret Ballot, an Iranian film.

Indian Cinema
2 min read
Rajkummar Rao in and as<i> Newton</i>.&nbsp;

It is an oxymoronic time for the the film Newton and its makers. While on one end, the film is being lauded for being one of the finest films this year, on the other the film has already been leaked online, causing it to take a serious hit at the box-office. But that isn’t all.

According to a report in NDTV, the Rajkummar Rao starrer Newton is “uncannily similar” to an Iranian film, Secret Ballot.

According to the report, the plotlines have a lot of similarities:

  • An honest polling officer
  • A soldier on election security duty who demotivates the polling officer

It seems that while there are similarities, a few details have been tweaked. The polling officer is a man in Newton instead of a woman (as is the case in Secret Ballot); among other minor details. The core message of the film remains the same, both protagonists take the film forward in a different manner.

Amidst these allegations, filmmaker Jaideep Varma, in a Facebook post, penned his thoughts about the film that it is “inspired” from.

Secret Ballot is much more minimalistic and meditative compared to Newton and while their basic premise is similar, the rest of them go to very different places. The similarity between certain characters or rather characteristics in certain people is actually very logical within the context of their respective trajectories.
Jaideep Varma 

Jaideep Varma writes that the two films, despite its similarities, have very different souls. “Even if these similarities take away the sheen somewhat from Newton’s “original” status, it cannot be denied that both films have very different souls,” he wrote.

Jaideep also said that even if it were inspired, “the inspiration manifests more like a vintage RD Burman song than tasteless Bollywood plagiarism exercises (like "Barfi", for example).”

Finally, the filmmaker says that these allegations mustn’t affect the film’s chances at the Oscars.

You can read the full post here:

Here’s a glimpse at Secret Ballot:

NDTV also reached out to the writer and director of Newton, Amit Masurkar for a comment. The filmmaker has stuck to his ground and is adamant that the film is far from a copy, and insists that it isn’t even inspired by the Iranian film.

I remember after I wrote the script just before I was going to shoot, a friend told me about Secret Ballot. Since the film was on YouTube I watched bits and pieces but that was very different I felt. A lady polling officer goes door to door. Also, there is some kind of romantic track which is not in Newton.
Amit Masurkar to NDTV

Amit Masurkar also spoke about the similarities of the plots.

I knew someday people will draw similarities but what can one do? When you write a story there is a possibility that someone else must have written a similar story somewhere in the world.
Amit Masurkar

Here’s the trailer of Newton:

(Source: NDTV)

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