Amit Masurkar’s Newton is India’s official selection for the Oscars, 2018. The political satire starring Rajkummar Rao, was unanimously selected by the Film Federation of India for the foreign film category amidst 26 entries this year. The movie shows a young arrogantly honest public service worker trying to hold free and fair elections in a Naxalite hit village in Chhattisgarh.
Rao took to twitter to share his happiness.
“Newton was chosen unanimously by the committee out of 26 entries. Everyone in the committee liked it,” said C.V. Reddy, head of selection committee of the Film Federation of India.
Rajkummar Rao’s portrayal of an election commission service worker is on point when it comes to being an eccentric rigid who loves rules and makes sure everyone under him follows it.
For Bollywood, 2017 has been a year of singing the anthem of the government through movies like Toilet: Ek Prem Katha and Jolly LLB2. Newton too does it, but with a dose of difference by neither crediting nor discrediting a government yet highlighting an existing machinery which brings fair election to India’s 84 crore or in the words of Pankaj Tripathi, “goons may be elected through these elections but it is our duty to ensure free and fair election.”
Chhattisgarh’s home-grown Naxal insurgency has long been an ugly lesion India has not shown before the world unlike the unrest in Kashmir. Newton’s selection for the 90th Academy Awards could very well be seen as a way of shaking off its insecurities. Remember the harsh criticism Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire invited for selling India’s poverty to the world.
Newton may be a safer option in that regard as the movie seems to be created out of the philosophy of show and not tell.