By Martin D’Souza | Opening Doorz Editorial | September 22, 2017
Rating: 3.5 / 5
The essence: Newton is for the purist who looks for meat in the script and bite in the performances. If you dig both, Newton is just what Sir Isaac ordered for you!
Newton begins at the end. Questions starts pouring in and the supposedly nondescript plot starts standing out, making one marvel at the simplicity of the thought!
The story is simple: Nutan Kumar (Rajkummar Rao), who has rechristened himself Newton, is a rookie government clerk sent on election duty to a naxal-controlled town in the conflict-ridden jungles of Chhattisgarh. Selected from the reserves after a seasoned official chickens out on hearing about his posting, Newton takes his task seriously to ensure that there is free and fair polling in the area entrusted to him. The number of voters are just 76, sandwiched between two villages!
As the polling officer, he goes by the rule book, often taking on the security chief who wants to take the shorter route to have the polling done with. Newton will have none of this; he wants to brave the odds. He sets up the booth in the designated spot, even it means walking 8 kms in the jungle. He is not keen on shutting the booth before 3pm either.
On paper, this is very staid stuff; but in the hands of Amit Masurkar, it comes alive, albeit slowly.
Hogging the limelight parallelly are Rajkummar Rao and Pankaj Tripathi who plays Aatma Singh, chief of security in the jungles. Both highlight their respective issues, while Masurkar gives us a bird’s eye view of the elections in the jungles and politics.
The role of the security forces and local police, the highlighting of the elections in the jungles in the international media, the menace of the Maoists, the nonchalant or rather, ‘what the fuss is all about’ attitude of the villagers who have to be taught the voting process, the impending doom and the nerdy resolve of Newton to do what is right all make for a compelling view. For a full 20 minutes, mid-way through the movie, nothing moves plot-wise after the booth is set in a deserted school which comprises a dilapidated room. Still, Masurkar is able to hold the interest alive.
Tripathi, who only recently shone in Bareilly Ki Barfi as Kriti Sanon’s father, dishes out a pitch-perfect performance highlighting the plight of the security forces (read government apathy towards them) as well as his role as a bread-winner in his family. Rao, on the other hand, seems to revel in roles that are as diverse as chalk and cheese. From Trapped to Bareilly Ki Barfi to Newton in quick succession, he has shown what a talent he is. The beauty is that you do not find Rao in any of the movies, but his character, even though it is Rao in the movie.
The entire ensemble cast too, performs to the ‘T’ with Anjali Patil and Raghubir Yadav adding weight to the performances. Special mention must be made of Anjali who even though has nothing to do in a scene at most times, other than just ‘being there’ still compels you to look at her for just the manner in which she positions herself to make her character speak.
Newton is for the purist who looks for meat in the script and bite in the performances. If you dig both, Newton is just what Sir Isaac ordered for you!
Producer: Manish Mundra
Director: Amit Masurkar
Star Cast: Rajkummar Rao, Pankaj Tripathi, Anjali Patil