The selection of the Bollywood movie “Newton” directed by Amit Masurkar as India’s official entry into the 2018 Oscars in the “Foreign film category” has proven that movies with great content eventually make the most impact. Now, apart from the engaging content that this very well made movie possesses, it also comprises of some outstanding performances by the talented cast led superbly by protagonist Rajkummar Rao. Furthermore, having seen this movie in a theater (myself) it would be safe to say that this movie is definitely one of the best movies to have been produced by “Bollywood” in the year 2017. So, here is presenting four reasons why I as film lover think that “Newton” is a truly great film.
1. THE “AMAZING” CONCEPT AND STORY OF NEWTON:
The simple fact that this movie is a “Political satire”, a genre rarely touched by Bollywood serves as the biggest USP (i.e. Unique Selling Point) of this wonderful film. In addition, the concept of showing the “electoral process of Indian democracy” using great satirical writing is a major reason why this movie cleverly titled “Newton” is such an engaging and entertaining watch. Furthermore, the story which revolves around a national election to be conducted in the state of Chhattisgarh in India which is infested with Naxalites/Maoists is fresh, and has been presented in an extremely endearing manner. So in totality, I would say that it is the concept combined with a truly gripping story written by director Masurkar that makes this movie genuinely “entertaining” as well as “engaging”.
2. THE “TAUT” SCREENPLAY AND DIALOGUE OF NEWTON:
Supporting the unique story of this “gem of a movie ” is a taut screenplay written by Masurkar and Mayank Tewari. In fact, so flowing is the screenplay that while watching at not no point did I ever experience boredom. Credit for this must go to the screenplay which has been infused with an intricate understanding of the ethos observed in the Maoist infested state of Chhattisgarh. In addition, to this wonderful screenplay this movie also comprises of wonderfully written dialogues filled with “black humour” rarely seen in Bollywood movies. So all in all it would be right to say that the wonderful “screenplay and dialogue” is another major factor that makes this movie a truly great watch for genuine cinema lovers around the country.
3. “OUTSTANDING” PERFORMANCES BY THE CAST OF NEWTON:
“Magnificent” would be the apt word to describe the performances of the entire cast of this brilliantly made political film. This movie comprises of a stellar star cast that includes:
a. Rajkummar Rao as Newton Kumar:
“A brilliant performance” would be the best way to describe the performance of Rajkummar Rao, who plays the protagonist in the film. Portraying a naive idealistic election officer from small town India using subtle body language Rao delivers yet another “real and endearing performance” with a lot of panache. Having had a great year with splendid performances in movies such as “Trapped” and “Bareilly Ki Barfi” here is hoping that Rao continues to impress the audiences throughout the country with his brilliant acting skills in the future as well.
b. Pankaj Tripathi as Aatma Singh:
“A performance to remember” is how the portrayal of Aatma Singh, a CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) commanding officer by the extremely talented actor Pankaj Tripathi can best be described as. As a “cynical” officer Tripathi brilliantly infuses life into the character by playing it in a “subtle” rather than “over-the-top” manner, (seen so commonly in commercial Bollywood potboilers) which is extremely refreshing to watch. The fact that this character shall always remain in my mind, is simply due to the sheer brilliance of this actor. With Tripathi having delivered great performances this year in movies such as “Bareilly Ki Barfi” and “Gurgaon”, here is hoping that he continues to enthrall us with more such performances filled with convictions in the future as well.
c. Anjali Patil as Malko:
“A honest performance” would be the appropriate way to describe actress Anjali Patil’s performance as “Malko” in this movie. She plays the role of an Adivasi (tribal) woman belonging to Chhattisgarh who understands the harsh realities of the tribal people in a rather understated way. In fact, it is her role as a “realist” that acts as a contrast to the naive “idealism” of protagonist Newton which beautifully holds the story together. Having also delivered a good performance in the 2012 Prakash Jha movie “Chakravyuh” here is hoping to see more of this talented actress on celluloid in the near future.
d. Raghubir Yadav- Loknath:
“A delicious performance by a brilliant actor” would be the ideal way to pay tribute to Raghubir Yadav’s portrayal of an ageing election official named Loknath. Playing a middle age man’s role with lot of flair and humour, Yadav’s performance shines right throughout the movie. The fact that this character has got some really funny dialogues to mouth only helps Yadav add a lot of charm to his performance. With this brilliant actor having last performed in movies in 2013, here is hoping that the audiences in India see him perform much more frequently in the future.
4. “BRILLIANT” EDITING AND DIRECTION OF NEWTON:
Contributing to the beautiful narrative of this movie is the crisp editing by Shweta Venkat Mathew. This movie which is only 106 minutes (i.e. 1 hour 46 minutes) in length flows at pace that manages to engage an audience, which is due to good editing. In addition, there does not seem to be any scene that seems to be unnecessarily inserted and full credit for that must go to the editor. However, there are times in the movie where it does seem as though the story is dragging a bit. Overall though the editing is great as a result of which the movie is equally “engaging” as it is “entertaining”.
In terms of the direction, Masurkar has definitely managed to tell an extremely “real and socially relevant” story in an endearing manner, which in my books is a true achievement. Furthermore, he has also managed to extract some superlative performances from the entire cast including the supporting actors playing “Adivasis” which also speaks volumes of his man management capabilities. Overall, it would be safe to say that Masurkar as a director has certainly excelled and has given the “Bollywood” industry “A movie to remember”.
With the movie having released on the 22nd September 2017, here is hoping that this movie which talks about bringing change “internally” rather than “externally” not only proves to be success at the box office, but also gets shortlisted and possibly even wins an Oscar in 2018.
Video: Watch the trailer of Newton:
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