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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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
Not everybody can master the art of being pragmatic
I saw this fabulous Indian film called "Newton" last night which by the way is the only Indian film to be screened at this year's New Zealand International Film Festival. This film was screened at Cannes and I guess this is the second festival after the Festival de Cannes where it is being showcased. In a nutshell, this film is about an election officer who takes the responsibility of going into a forest ridden with armed revolutionaries in order to collect votes from the local residents.
I had read somewhere that Isaac Newton, the genius scientist, was actually a very complicated man. His namesake in this film seemed no different. While his intentions were good, his method of executing them was questionable. Which is why when you see this film, you will wonder if the protagonist is actually the antagonist. Everything in cinema is a matter of perspective. The film is infused with dark humour from start to finish and Rajkumar Rao is nothing short of a brilliant actor.
Because this was a festival film, I saw this film with a primarily Kiwi audience which is always a great thing. I want Indian films to have a global audience. If main-stream Bollywood films don't attract a foreign fan-following, art-house festival circuit low-budget films certainly will. It is so ironic that I saw this film at a time when New Zealand is preparing for the upcoming elections This film appeared so minimalist yet was nothing short of a funny edge-of-the-seat thriller.
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