It’s the season of Lok Sabha elections in India and Newton Kumar (Rajkummar Rao), an extremely honest rookie government official is sent on an election duty to a Naxalite town in Chhattisgarh along with Loknath (Raghubir Yadav), Shambhoo (Mukesh Prajapati) and Malko (Anjali Patil) provided with the security of the BSF headed by Aatma Singh (Pankaj Tripathy).
The rest of the film deals with how Newton tries to conduct a free and fair election in that place while dealing with the fear of being attacked by the naxals as well as the indifference of the security forces for the election.
Positive Points: –
- The film’s strength lies in its simplicity and realism for almost its entire runtime.
- Wonderful performances by the cast especially by Pankaj Tripathy and Raghuvir Yadav enhances the film’s overall cinematic experience.
- The film is quirkily written with some good punchlines and is also pretty well directed.
- The movie’s indepth analysis of the conditions of Indian elections, especially in terror-ridden areas is praiseworthy.
- The content and its related elements like naxal terrorism, apathy of security forces’ apathy, etc have been dealt with quite consciously and smartly.
Negative Points: –
- The film takes an unexpectedly absurd turn as it deviates from its brutal reality and the story proceeds to a “filmy”
- A unidimensional characterisation of the film’s protagonist i.e. Newton was something that irked me.
- It’s also interesting to note that while the movie in itself is educatory for the audience, its lead character learns almost nothing from what he faced.
Direction, Script & Other Technicalities: –
Amit V. Masurkar has done an incredibly wonderful job as the co-writer (alongwith Mayank Tewari) and the director of this film. He not only handles his actors pretty well but also captures the flummoxing reality of the Indian elections accrately. His writing is sublime inspite of its flaws and the dark comic portions of the film are well supported by superb punchlines. The film however lacked a bit of dynamicity especially after the characters reach the election spot which makes the audience feel the weight of the time. As mentioned before, the film’s actual strength lied in the fact that it was real and such films should never deviate from reality throughout their runtime (Spotlight can be an exemplary example of this). But Newton kind of messes up towards its end with a risible climax and this was something that irked me a lot (I wouldn’t discuss it in detail because I don’t want to give away any spoilers). I am ignoring minor writing flaws of the movie for its rating (viz. How Newton easily changes his name from Nutan to Newton in his 10th board form whereas we know how tedious this name change process is and how difficult it is to get a passport when you have changed your name).
The movie has one song in its premise and another in its end credits and both can be ignored. Swapnil Sonawane’s cinematography is atmospheric and fantastic while the editing by Shweta Venkat Matthew is quite sleek.
I know Rajkummar Rao is the protagonist but I would like to talk about Pankaj Tripathy first because he was the best thing in the movie. Tripathy’s trademark is his calm composure and his ability to be naturalistic in any kind of scenario. He seldom dramatises his act even though his character had plenty of scopes to go over-the-top. Brownie points to him for the same.
Rajkummar Rao is a talented actor and has done more complex roles than most thespians in Bollywood. Give this fact, playing the eponymous character in the film was a cakewalk for him. I didn’t like the one dimensional and unsophisticated characterisation of Newton in the film though I would blame the writers for the same.
Raghubir Yadav has always been magnetic and so is he here. He is absolutely lovable as Loknath and his comic timing is spot on.
Anjali Patil and Mukesh Prajapat have done pretty well with their respective characters. Sanjay Mishra shines in his cameo.
Final Verdict: –
Newton surely has its loose ends but that doesn’t undermine its beauty and all round excellence. Almost everyone has done a great job in it, making almost everything seemingly perfect. Had it not been for its climax, Newton could have scored a fiver in my ratings. Nonetheless, I am awarding an extra 0.5 for its realism and honesty.