Saturday, June 09, 2018


It was the election day. 
I set out with my voters id card and booth slip to cast my precious vote to the usual polling booth just 200 mts away from home, only to be told by the officials that my polling booth had changed to VIBGYOR School. ( yes the one made infamous by the leopard visit a couple of years ago) .

I check on Google maps and it says 1.8 kms 21minutes by walk.  Navigating through the treeless concrete jungles of Bangalore in the oppressive heat of May is’nt exactly very appealing.

My-vote-is-not-going-to-make-a-difference… or-does-it . Should-that-really-matter … 

Truth be told, I was not always a very conscentious citizen, however I have been taking my voting rights seriously off late. 

Thanks to Newton.  

The vehicles parked on the main road,exactly 200 meters away from the polling booth with the symbol of a certain flower would have a happily offered me a free ride to the other polling booth. But I obviously could not take their favour. 

Newton would certainly not have done that.

And so  I set my pedometer app and walked the 1.8 km stretch, cast my vote and walked back the 2.0 km stretch ( 1.8  + 0.2 m) back home. 

With the mission accomplished, I was proudly showing the voters
ink mark on my index finger and I let my niece know that I had breached my quota of 10000 steps for the day.

‘What does a polling booth look like’ asked my curious 17 year old niece who is worried she would narrowly miss her voting eligibility for the elections next year whereas her classmate older to her by two months would not. 

I started to describe the polling booth … and I paused.

Instead, that evening on Amazon Prime … we watched the movie ‘Newton’. 

I was watching it for perhaps the third or fourth time, but who cares, some more laughter therapy could only do you good. 
Newton – Nutan Kumar is a small town millennial boy who is idealistic and follows his idealism with stubborn conviction . With a protagonist like that, Newton could as well have turned into a serious boring art movie, which it is not. If anything it is a satire and I am told falls under the Genre of ‘Black comedy’. 

Told from the view point of a Presiding officer who is randomly appointed to conduct elections for 76 tribal voters  in a remote  area in Madhya Pradesh infiltrated with Maoist insurgency, there is not much to tell by way of the plot.

And that is the plot.

It takes guts to make a movie on a topic as mundane as the election process.

But that is what is so heartening about the new age cinema in India.  Every once in a while you have a small budget movie that hits the box office with yet another refreshing perspective and makes you wonder, if this is what could be the new phenomenon called disruptive cinema. 

The icing on the cake was that Newton is India’s nomination to the Oscar this year. ( thank god it was not bahubali )
Rajkumar Rao is not exactly what one would call a typical ‘Hero’ of the movie.  Nutan kumar is his original name that he claims to have deliberately misspelled in his tenth marksheet application and got rechristened as Newton kumar. 

Idealistic, stubborn, rule-book abiding and fearless, Rajkumar Rao plays the role of Newton to the hilt that it gets difficult to differentiate the actor from the character for a long time. 

Atma Singh the cynical, hardened army officer who is entrusted to provide security for the polling officials to carry out their duty is played by Pankaj Tripathi and he too leaves a mark way after you have finished watching the movie.

Malko, the local school teacher has a small but significant role. Played by Anjali Patil , the girl from the forest leaves an imprint on you, especially with her gorgeous eyes and realistic acting.

It would be unfair to leave out mentioning Raghubir Yadav who plays the middle aged, cynical and lethargic polling officer that we must have all across sometime or the other in a government office.

He is a genius of an actor. No role is too small for him and he proves it yet again in this movie.
I just stumbled upon this trivia sometime ago.  Of the four movies from India that have hit the Oscar nominations circuit three have starred  Raghubir Yadav.
Mother India made it to the Oscar much before his time. Apart from that Salaam Bombay, Lagaan and Water have featured this lucky Oscar charm … Raghubir Yadav.

Newton is introduced to us in the first scene eating an apple, but it is the punchline at the very end of the movie that leaves you ROFL as the credits roll on. 
‘Ji kuch nahi ... yeh mere kuch actions key reaction hai …

When you search the deeper meaning to the movie, just like I did you may google around to refresh the three laws  by the original Newton (that scientist fellow ) .  The third one is very popular, but it is the first and the second one that are tricky especially if you have not paid attention in your physics class in school)

1. Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it.

2. The rate of change of momentum of a body is directly proportional to the force applied.

3. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Watch Newton (the movie) and interpret the Newton’s ( the scientist) laws in the context of contemporary India. 

There lies the beauty of the movie.

Loved it.

P.S : Oscar or no Oscar, It is a movie that all TV channels should telecast 24-48 hours before the election day after all campaigning has stopped.   
It will stir something in every citizen’s conscience and will get them to strut their butt and get out to the polling booth and vote.

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