India is world's largest democracy, and indian elections play a huge role in that. Amit Masurkar's film NEWTON is a satire, which shows a face of that election process. The good thing is the film is able to present that with lot of humor, clubbed amazing performances. the film is also beautifully shot, in some remote parts (actual locations) of India, which gives it lot of authenticity. Rajkumar Rao, who has become a powerhouse in Indian independent cinema now, is quiet wonderful as the righteous, strength and no-nonsense election officer. His nuanced performance is wonderful to watch. But the biggest hook of the film is it's beautiful story, told quite spectacularly by the director Amit V Masurkar. The film acts as a comedy, a thriller, a drama and a political commentary, all-in-one!
The film is story of Newton, who is a stickler for principles – whether with respect to his unusual name or the not entirely orthodox way in which his arranged marriage has been handled. He’s given the job of a volunteer election worker and entrusted with a mission that demands the utmost flexibility if it’s to succeed. Newton is flown by helicopter into the jungle. The village where he’s to make sure that the election is carried out properly turns out to be a democratic stress-centre, where he must keep devious military personnel and oddball bureaucrats in check – even as the voters, the very people the whole thing is about, remain strangely absent. The Adivasi – as the indigenous people of India are called – are wise to keep their distance from this staged spectacle of democracy and put up resistance with a cunning game of hide-and-seek. Newton remains true to his principles. When a foreign election monitor arrives, the tide turns in his favor – but only temporarily.
With a feel for the special, multifaceted humor of his compatriots, Amit V. Masurkar succeeds in making Newton into a black comedy about the pale specter of democracy in dark times. We had a chance to talk to Amit. You can watch it here:
Amit V. Masurkar was born in Bagalkot, India in 1981. He studied Engineering at the Manipal Institute of Technology in Karnataka, India from 1999 to 2002. He then worked as an assistant director on films made for television, before writing comedy sketches for TV and film screenplays starting in 2003. From 2003 to 2006, he also studied History at the University of Mumbai. NEWTON is Amit V. Masurkar’s second film after the sleeper hit SULEMANI KEEDA in 2014.
NEWTON was part of the Co-Production Market (CPM) at Film Bazaar 2015 and also one of the Film Bazaar Recommends titles at Film Bazaar 2016.
About Drishyam Films
Drishyam Films aims to build a platform for unique voices of Indian independent cinema and create global content with rich Indian flavours. The company's filmmaking journey started with the award-winning film Ankhon Dekhi directed by Rajat Kapoor. Its success was followed by Umrika directed by Prashant Nair which premiered at Sundance Film Festival 2015 and bagged the Audience Choice Award. Soon after, Dhanak directed by Nagesh Kukunoor won the Grand Jury prize at Berlinale 2015, and Masaan directed by Neeraj Ghaywan picked up two big awards at Cannes 2015. Drishyam’s next film Waiting directed by Anu Menon, premiered at the prestigious Dubai International Film Festival. All their films have been released theatrically to universal critical acclaim. Their upcoming productions include Atanu Mukerjee’s Rukh starring Manoj Bajpayee and Amit Masurkar’s Newton starring Rajkummar Rao. Drishyam Films had partnered with the Sundance Institute, USA between 2015 to 2016 to organize Screenwriters’ lab for Indian writers in its endeavor to promote content-driven cinema. They have set up a VFX studio specialising in post-production and visual effects for feature films and commercials. Drishyam VFX has provided end-to-end VFX services for tent-pole Bollywood films such as Abhishek Kapoor's Fitoor, Ashutosh Gowariker's Mohenjo Daro and Vishal Bharadwaj's upcoming feature Rangoon, among many others.