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!
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.
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.
Even the likes of Anurag Kashyap and other stood in support of the film. He tweets, in the punny flavour of the movie:
"Newton" is as much a copy of "Secret Ballot" as The Avengers is of Watan Ke Rakhwale— Anurag Kashyap (@anuragkashyap72) September 24, 2017
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.