Newton Movie Review By Divya Solgama
Our Hindi films are divided between the stars and the actors. The stars and the superstars have their loyal fans who despite of all odds go and watch their loved matinee idol’s film. Similarly, there are few actors who are known to be part of good and meaningful cinema where critical acclaim is more important over the box-office success. Along, with these stars and actors there are few actors who are a perfect blend of mild stardom and known for their good acting skills. Sanjeev Kumar, Naseeruddin Shah, Amol Palekar, Abhay Deol, Tabu, Manoj Bajpai and few others are one such bankable actors who have managed to shine high even in mediocre films. Thus, their presence on the poster used to be enough for the crowd to be assured of watching a good performance in the film. In today’s times we have many bankable actors belonging to this category in the form of Irfan Khan, Nawazzudin Siddiqui and few more including Rajkummar Rao. Rajkummar Rao recently has been portraying different types of characters which varies from an old man tribal man to a man trapped inside a room and others. His latest film ‘Newton’ narrates a tale of an honest man in today’s times with a backdrop of election commission. Thus, let’s find out whether ‘Newton’ will deliver something unique or might be one of those films where besides a different one liner plot there is nothing else to cherish.
‘Newton’ is a story of Nutan Kumar / Newton (Rajkummar Rao), a government officer who has been assigned the task of conducting fair and square elections in the tribal zone of India. As soon as Newton reached the army base, he is introduced to the terror of Naxalites by army commanding officer Aatma Singh (Pankaj Tripathi). Aatma Singh and his troops take Newton and his team to the polling area and help them in establishing the polling booth. Sadly, none of the local tribal people are aware about the election and fails to be part of it. What happens next is what the entire film is all about.
Screenplay & Technical Details:
The basic story line is interesting and the theme is something unseen in Hindi films. The whole topic of commencing fair elections in the tribal area with the backdrop of the Indian army and Naxalites is amazing. The quirky humour in the movie works in the favour of the film. Generally, such film are either preachy or dramatic, but ‘Newton’ is presented in a light and breezy manner. Though, the metaphors or indirect references are outstanding. You have to look out for the different layers which are hidden inside the dialogues, still shots, lyrics, facial expressions and more. There are some enjoyable scenes such as Sanjay Mishra explaining the qualities of Newton (which establishes the whole theme and soul of Rajkummar Rao’s character in the film), Rajkummar Rao rejecting marriage proposal for a minor girl, Pankaj Tripathi convincing Rajkummar for not carrying out the voting activity, Jungle ride including halt for Raghubir Yadav followed by him explaining the process of voting, Raghubir Yadav cooking up stories in the polling booth, PankaJ-Rajkummar tiff, Anjali explaining the villagers about voting followed by Pankaj Tripathi’s sharing it in his own way, Rajkummar getting voting done at the gunpoint and few more. These scenes keep you entertained as well as highly engaged in the film. The whole scene where the media and foreign delegates come to witness the voting has many layers attached to it and displays the real condition of such tribal areas with the roles of government, army and local villagers. On the flip side, the narrative part is slow and at times bit lethargic. The minimal screen happenings dilute the flow of the film and would not be appreciated by the regular movie watching audience. Also, after a given point the movie goes on a monotonous mode. The ending should have been a bit better and not as abrupt as it was shown in the movie. The cinematography is good and keeps the mood of the film intact. The movie is less than two hours, but still there could have been some improvement in the editing department.
The background music of ‘Newton’ works as an additional screenplay. There is one song ‘Panchi Udd Gaya’, which has been brilliantly shot and the lyrics in this song is soul-stirring.
Director Amit V Masurkar comes up with a unique concept and extracts some fine performances from the lead protagonists. The soul of this film is clean and pure. Cinematically ‘Newton’ is among the great films from our country. The movie stays with you for a long time and makes you think about all those rural conditions where such activities keeps happening. The movie also portrays the power of an election officer and reminds us the power of T.N. Seshan. If only the pace would have been bit generic and not pleasing the film festival audience, the impact would have been super high. The screenplay also needed a bit more detailing and a better ending. The soul-touching part in the finale goes missing.
Rajkummar Rao adds one more feather to his cap. Right from his eye blinking to super curiosity over his face, Rajkummar adds every body expressions to enhance his character. His character reminds you of Dharmendra’s character from ‘Satyakam’. The honesty is visible on Rajkummar’s face, which is a great achievement for an actor. Pankaj Tripahti’s performance is amazing. His cool temper adds charm to his character. Pankaj’s dialogue delivery goes well in the favour of his character. Raghubir Yadav lends good support and shines out in his small part. Sanjay Mishra’s cameo was impactful. Anjali Patil was fine in her part. Omkar Das Manikpuri was wasted.
So on an overall basis ‘Newton’ lifts you up with its unorthodox theme and gives you a satisfaction of watching something different, something new, something thoughtful. The movie might not appeal to all those who love escapist cinema and even for the ones who relish only on fast-paced films. This one will test your patience and also has its flaws, but at the end of the day will be loved by all those who love meaningful cinema.
Rating – 3.5/5 [Source – Bollywood Times]