Chhattisgarh Village that Inspired ‘Newton’ Is Thirsty for Change
Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam
Remember the Bollywood movie ‘Newton’? Yes, the one starring Rajkummar Rao. It was India’s official nomination for Oscars. The film narrates how during an election, a mockery of election process – and Indian democracy – is being made, especially in the naxal-affected areas.
Remember the scene from the movie where Pankaj Tripathi (who plays Asst Commandant of the CRPF) explains to the villagers how to vote using an Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) and compares it to a ‘game’? The same villagers and tribals shown in the film hail from a remote village called Kongra.
Ahead of the upcoming Assembly polls in Chhattisgarh, The Quint decided to visit Kongra and check if the ‘reel voting’ is any different from how the village would be voting in real life.
‘Reel Voting’ Didn’t Bring Real Change
Kongra is a small village with a small population of 1,396 people. It was once a bastion of the Naxals and conducting an election in this area was a tough task.
The residents of the village hoped that ‘Newton’ would put their village on the map and basic development would finally reach their village.
Kongra Lacks Basic Facilities
Kongra village has several handpumps but the water that comes out of them has high quantity of fluoride. People are forced to dig deep into the ground for water and drink the same untreated water.
Newton Did Inspire People to Vote
The film ‘Newton’ was applauded and acclaimed internationally for exposing the limits of Indian democracy in remote parts of the country which are Naxal-affected. The residents of Kongra feel that working in the film brought one positive change – realising the positive implications of voting.
In the movie ‘Newton’, there is a dialogue that Rajkummar Rao’s character says:
Sadly, our politicians are yet to understand this sentiment.