A government clerk on election duty in the conflict ridden jungle of Central India tries his best to conduct free and fair voting despite the apathy of security forces and the looming fear of guerrilla attacks by communist rebels.
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Set in the small-town of Bareilly, Bitti is a free-spirited young girl who lives life on her own terms and refuses to be pressured into getting married. Her life takes a shift when she meets Chirag Dubey and Pritam Vidrohi.
As India, the world's largest democracy, braces itself for another general election- with 9 million polling booths, more than 800 million voters, and costing nearly $5 billion -- Newton Kumar, a rookie government clerk finds himself entrusted with a task that appears deceptively simple: conducting elections in a remote village in the jungles of central India. The bushes teem with Communist guerrillas, who have been waging a decades old war against the state, even as the indigenous tribals live without any access to mainland amenities. Conducting 'free and fair' elections in a minefield like this is no child's play, as Newton learns over the course of this eventful day. Unfazed with the cynicism and danger all around him, Newton is determined to do his duty. But, as they say in the jungle, 'The more things change, the worse they will get'. Written by
India's Official entry as best foreign language film for Oscars 2017. See more »
When Malko ( Anjali Patil ) along with other staff members goes out for lunch she stops and talks with Newton ( RajKumar Rao ) in the background is seen makeshift voting Booth with "small round shaped pattern of light" in the very next shot with Newton and Loknath ( Raghuvir Yadav ) it's gone. See more »
Nothing happens, no one comes, no one goes and it's not awful
When I entered the theatre, it lifted my heart to find the hall filling up well. Good for a small budget film, I thought. May be its Oscar nomination has boosted the crowd, the cynic in me commented.
My neighbour in the theatre came late and made us all stand up. He remained seated, however, during the National Anthem. He had, perhaps, always wished to do it but never gathered the courage or got seated in the last row with minimum risk of being seen. His courage seemed a product of darkness and less visibility. His wife stood up, he didn't try to resist her from doing that.
When the movie began to roll, the man chuckled. First, unsure ones, after all the topic seemed serious to laugh out loud. His volume as well as pitch of laughter increased as the movie progressed. His shrill laughter made me uncomfortable I was amused with the narrative, but was this something to laugh out loud? Is the film pro establishment or it has its leaning towards the other side? What is the agenda of this film?
For about two hours, the director played with my well versed, end predicting mind. He made me wait for the action. After all, there are Maoists around and military forces in every frame. The government officers trying to conduct polling have to be protected. May be, the protagonist will find the Maoists human. Where are the Maoists? When is the action due? How long shall we wait? Amit Masurkar reminded me what Brecht had said, there is no Godot.
Screenplay, script, dialogues,camera and the other crafts are right in place in this film. Director exhibits singular restrain in adhering to a single narrative. Raj Kumar is maturing as an actor in every film. Anjali Patil is a revelation and her character is the soul of the movie. Veterans Raghuvir ji, Sanjay ji and Pankaj ji kept the narrative grounded in real time.
The way the film uses silence and anticipation is unique. The director has shown a lot of courage here. In fact, silence stands out to be the antagonist in the setting of the jungles. It takes time for jungles to become a jungle, a character said. Dialogues are colloquial, still memorable. I remember now quite a few of those verbatim even after a couple of hours of watching the film. The body which passed the film in the current Indian ambiance and that which selected it to represent India in the Oscars must as well be lauded. Newton is a critique on Achhe Din peddling politicians, yet delivers the strong cure wrapped in a coloured, soluble capsule. My son dislikes the contemporary melodramatic Hindi movies. When he learnt that this has been nominated for an Oscar, he nodded his head and pursed his lips in appreciation.
Well done, Team Newton, ab Einstein banke dikhao in your next venture. All cine lovers shall keep a watch on this director, screenplay writer and, of course, Anjali and Raj, wait, Raj, Anjali? Hmm
Watch this film with no expectations. With millions of viewers, you will see the place and hear its sounds through Rao. After all, how many times it so happens that a film discovers a new space and language for its audience?
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