‘Newton’ Movie Review: Never Cynical Despite Its Tough Questions
You don't have to shout to be heard and Amit V Masurkar's Newton tells us exactly that. For a film that has a poignant message – one that is the need of the hour for social media activists and armchair cynics alike – no diatribes against the present establishment or long speeches beseeching us to do the right thing are employed.
Instead, it puts its money where its words are, and does the one job at hand to the best of its abilities – giving us a compelling 106-minute-long film, that will stay with us long after we have stepped out of the theatre.
This trait is seen in snippets of his personal life, for instance, when he refuses to marry an underage girl, or the fearless pursuit of his duty as the Presiding Officer for the elections to be held in a Naxal-ravaged area. It's here that we meet his nemesis, Aatma Singh (essayed by Pankaj Tripathi), a police officer assigned the task of protecting the election team.
Aatma Singh is well-meaning, but one who knows which side of the bread is buttered and who must control the gun’s trigger. Their interactions are the crux of the film. Both Rao and Tripathi are such supremely consummate actors that from the smallest of gestures and actions, they portray a burst of emotions .
Of Inclusivity & Humanity
But in spite of the genius performances, it's the screenplay by Amit V Masurkar and Mayank Tiwari that give us a compelling piece of cinema. It is a film that raises pertinent questions about India and its democratic processes, and gives us insight into how we easily make adivasis the insentient "other".
Newton explores how the rights of adivasis are usurped by a State that is ill-equipped to even talk to them, and how this one-sided communication further alienates them. At times, it makes us question the democratic ideals on which our country was founded – pressurising locals to cast their vote is no different from trying to bait a fish.
Newton and Aatma are at two ends of the spectrum. The latter's casual lack of concern for procedure and his general insouciance is in stark contrast to Newton’s zealous commitment to duty. There are a number of humorous, ironic, satirical scenes, cleverly included.
The takeaway is as simple as the song that comes with the end credits Chal tu apna kaam kar – to do the right thing and to do it with singular passion.
Despite no concession to mainstream contrivances, Newton is an entertaining and evocative watch.
Verdict: 4.5 Quints out of 5
(#TalkingStalking: Have you ever been stalked? Share your experience with The Quint and inspire others to shatter the silence surrounding stalking. Send your stories to email@example.com or WhatsApp @ +919999008335.)
(The Quint is now on WhatsApp. To receive handpicked stories on topics you care about, subscribe to our WhatsApp services. Just go to TheQuint.com/WhatsApp and hit the Subscribe button.)