In Conversation With Nagpur's Rakesh Totla, From The Production House Of The Much Acclaimed 'Newton'!

Amit Masurkar’s latest is a black comedy that gives us a satirical take on the Indian democracy.

Nagpur, Drishyam films, Newton, production, company, Oscar, awards, movie, cinema

Nagpur’s moment of pride hasn't stopped rolling in for a while now. The latest news to join the bandwagon is its association with the movie ‘Newton’ which made it to the Oscars last week as an entry in the Foreign Films category.

Nagpur houses the production film company ‘Drishyam Films’ that made ‘Newton’. Founded by Manish Mundra, Drishyam Films is a company that aims to build a platform for unique voices of Indian independent cinema and create global content with rich Indian flavours. It has produced critically-acclaimed movies like Dhanak, Masaan, Waiting and so on. The latest to join the list is ‘Newton’.

After Nagpur’s tryst with successful directors, it’s now time to take pride in our producers!

 Source: mouthshut

How often do we come across a movie where the hero is the storyline of the movie? Shrugging to say ‘barely’, are you?

Well, ‘Newton’ stands this test of the quality of a good Indian cinema. Amit Masurkar’s latest is a black comedy that gives us a satirical take on the Indian democracy. It is a story of an honest government clerk who lands up in a situation of conducting a free and fair election in a conflict area of central India.

What follows next is Newton’s journey to the village, his encounters with tribals and the CRPF, the eventful pre-election time and the election days. It brilliantly portrays two different aspects of contemporary India. Newton’s idealistic approach and his nemesis, CRPF commandant Atma Singh’s doubter attitude mould the story.

Taking a deeper look at the film, one realizes that the film is nuanced in not only its script but also its cinematography. In my opinion, Newton’s character personifies the Indian democracy that is being pulled and prodded according to the needs of the politicians.

 Source: pinterest

Before you start thinking the movie as something preachy or moralistic, let me tell you, it’s surprisingly not. To begin with, Masurkar has ensured that the humour is subtly laden in just like an olive oil drizzle to a salad. So there and yet not there! Even Newton himself wasn’t spared while the movie took potshots at the system, government and everything in between.

Newton has been in news for some reasons right while some wrong. The movie is Raghubir Yadav’s 8th entry to Oscars. Some of the other seven films being Bandit Queen and Water.

Even as the praise kept pouring in for being a piece of art and also of making it as the official entry to the Oscars, the movie has also managed to garner some controversy. Some pointed that it is similar to an Iranian film ‘Secret Ballot’, while some cheekily say its “inspired” and not copied.

Rakesh Totla, of Drishyam Films quickly denies this. “Newton' is a totally original work set in the backdrop of 2014 general elections. It may look similar but is definitely not based or inspired by any other film," he says.

 Source: imdb

Even the likes of Anurag Kashyap and other stood in support of the film. He tweets, in the punny flavour of the movie:

The makers of ‘Secret Ballot’ too defied the claims. Says the producer of the movie, Marco Mueller, there is no hint of plagiarisation in Rajkummar Rao's Newton, amidst claims that the movie has been inspired from his 2001 Iranian film Secret Ballot.

And this was Babak's answer to an indian journalist who wanted to know what Babak felt( without having seen the film) .....

Posted by Anurag Kashyap on 25 सप्टेंबर 2017

We caught up with Rakesh Totla whilst congratulating him for the feat. This is what he had to say:

Q) How did ‘Newton’ come your way?

A) Amit Masurkar and Mayank Tewari came with the script. It was the concept of the movie that allured us to work on it. If you go to see, all our movies are have been only content-based movies and ‘Newton’ just fit the bill.

Q) Did it look like a starter when the movie went on floors?

A) We were surely confident about the movie but never did we think that it would be selected as an entry for the Academy Awards.

Q) What’s your next move now that movie made it to the Academy Awards?

A) We are now working on the foreign releases of the movie. It is very important to have the right kind of PR going into creating just the right buzz. So yes, we will be going for international releases.

Q) How has Nagpur contributed in ‘Newton’ apart from housing the production company ‘Drishyam Films’?

A) When Amit approached, he was absolutely sorted about wanting a forest area or a tribal area for the movie to go on floors. Through Nagpur, we could assure Amit that his requirements would be met as there are quite some forest areas around the district and that Nagpur would be a great option operations wise and even logistically.

Title image source: youtube, indiatoday

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