Newton: Unravelling the woods

A man from the forest

Image Source:

The opening scene of an election recruitment drive has you in splits with Sanjay Mishra teaching the to-be-election-presider’s not to mess with the Maoists during elections. A participant gets up and asks what if the Maoists attack and there is booth capturing?Sanjay Mishra explains there will be re-election, to a second participant too that there will be a second re-election. Then Newton (Rajkumar Rao) gets up and re-tells if there is booth capturing again: Sanjay Mishra in his impeccable humorous tone says: there will be third re-elections.

A publicly-mocked Newton catches up with Sanjay Mishra in a restaurant and is advised by the election guru, not to do a show of his honesty.

Newton rides home after a failed marriage attempt

Image Source:

The camera texture (cinematography) of the film (by Swapnil S Sonawane) has already caught you and the witty script leaves you not wanting for more. ! Like in a play, a storyteller has thirty seconds to one minute to catch your attention, and Newton has scored well in this piece. Newton is slated to make waves in the cinematic universe. There is a sun-dappled yet naturalistic composition about the cinematography. The tense Maoist environment of the jungle begins to climb to the screen as Newton and his colleagues sit on the helicopter and the jeep to the polling station. The guards discuss the casualty that could be here: but we don’t know it yet, as this is the first election on the venue in the world's largest democracy. The short, pungent, humorous delivery of the dialogue blinks on the screen.

walking towards the polling booth

Image Source:

Newton (Raj Kumar Rao’s) stable presence on the screen keeps you glued while Aatma Singh (Pankaj Tripathi) as the para-military commander won't let you sleep with the admonition in chaste Hindi. With sarcasm, they begin to move towards the election venue, into the Dandakaranaya forests in the world's largest democracy. The film picks up issues like polling in a democracy, peacekeeping and fundamental rights of the Adivasis. While the election process in the smallest hamlet of a state, must and should go on, to keep democracy moving. The police and the Special Forces have to maintain peace in the hostile environment. Plus, the fundamental rights of the minority /Adivasis have to be maintained which is one of the basic tenets of the preamble of India. It is not an easy situation! And the media pops up as an independent watchdog; many contrary forces are at work in the world's largest democracy! The polling officer team reach the school and are shocked to find burnt houses all around. The school is in a pathetic condition and the polling look impossible. An adamant Newton gets to cleaning and set up the booth. To add to the chagrin, no voters from the list of 76 turn up. After much drama to get the pollers, who are pulled from their homes by the security forces; Newton finds they do not know how to vote and speak in the Gondi parlance. He gets the pollers together and teach them how to use the machine!

Malko joins the other offcers

Image Source:

In all this, he is helped by his co-officer Malko (Anjali Patil ) who tells him about the local customs and beliefs of the people. With sarcasm, humor, slow-ness the film with the likes of Raghubir Yadav, Pankaj Tripathi and Anjali Patil is a must watch!

A song in the film hits on Internet activism:

"Chal tu apna kaam kar, Ve chal tu apna kaam kar Chal tu apna kaam kar Aaakal dikha na shakal dikhana De na na sehat kar na fasihatt Yu na traffic jamh kar Chal tu aapna kaam kar, Chal tu apna kaam kar Chal tu apna kaam kar....

Aas-pados mein kya banta hai Kya hai masala kya hai tailh Tu ne esse kya lena hai Rajneeti ki shonk hai mitro Sabhi emotion hote sale Border pe aapni sena hai Tu tweet kar pe chod neh saail Subha ka shaam kar...."

In the list of essential political satires like : Our Brand is Crisis, Wag the Dog, Bulworth, Bob Roberts, Duck Soup, Thank You For Smoking, Dr. Strangelove or How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, In the Loop, Election , The Candidate, The Great McGinty; "Newton" stands at par!

Script: Amit Masurkar (screenplay), Mayank Tewari (screenplay)

Cast: Rajkummar Rao,Pankaj Tripathi,Anjali Patil,Raghuvir Yadav,Krishna Singh Bisht,Sanjay Mishra,Mayank Tewari.

Music: Naren Chandavarkar,Benedict Taylor

DOP: Swapnil S. Sonawane

Editing: Shweta Venkat.