Most of the reviews or newspaper reports about Amit Masurkar’s Newton is about its entry to Oscar’s or it has been labelled as “black comedy”, “Satire” and the critics even went on to say that it has been plagiarised from an Iranian film called Secret Ballot (2001). I sometimes wonder how many movies, songs; beats are just copy cuts of many Hollywood or foreign cinema in Indian film industry. So, why make such a fuss about Newton being a copy?
But in Indian context it is not about whether the movie wins any well acclaimed award or not; in India it’s about the impact the movie makes on the audience. Viewer’s response matters most in cinema than how many awards a movie can win. And Newton is such a movie that can show the mirror to the audiences and build a certain perception about the whole socio-political infrastructure of this country. By calling it a copy is to discredit the message it delivers. If we see from the lens of a movie reviewer, the movie’s form and content and cinematography is excellent in all sense. By saying this I mean it isn’t propaganda. But a critique and a tragic disillusioning state of affairs in the heartland of this country.
To begin with let’s forget that the movie is a copy, and see around ourselves whether the movie depicts the reality or not. Every realistic movie is a copy of reality and it generates similar emotions and pain as reality seen and lived in everyday life. It is this reality most of the middle class or the un-empathetic class of people would like to escape from and label the reality shown on screen as “disturbing” or “not entertaining”.
From past few decades the corporate media is trying their best to restore the political will of the people in the freedom to at least vote or accept electoral politics as the only form of democratic set up. The disillusionment within the masses from the present socio-economic-political and cultural institutions has gone to an extent that the State machinery is trying to gear up its coercive instruments to repress any form of dissent. The farce of voting in the so called tribal belt of India and being notoriously labelled as the largest “internal security threat” by our Ex-Prime minister is visible in the movie. It is like John Pilger’s movie The War on Democracy (2007)where America claims to be fighting for Democracy, but it is actually the other way round. It is killing democracy in the name of bringing democracy. It is the loot of mineral resources and destruction of millions of lives to feed the bellies of those who live up in the sky. As in the movie Upside down (2012)the apple is flying towards the sky and not falling downwards. The Sky belongs to the oppressors and the Earth belongs to the oppressed. The imposition of the so-called democratic way of governance through electoral politics becomes a tragic scene in the movie when the adivasis are forced to choose a new chief of governance and they innocently press the buttons arbitrarily without knowing what will happen in the future. And our idealist Newton who was reprimanded before for boasting about his honesty or imaandarilike a desperate UPSC aspirants these days who wants to change the world for better, ends up picking a gun himself and gets the voting done.
Well the idealism of electoral democracy in India is the biggest tragedy of Indian masses. And the movie doesn’t leave us in limbo of hopelessness. The tribal girl Malko conveys this message that “it takes time to bring any positive change, just like it takes years for the forest to develop.”
The movie is not propaganda as I mentioned above, it requires a different kind of lens to understand the reality which newspaper and mainstream media will never delve upon as it is again governed by the political forces who wants the preserve the capitalist way of system and protect their hegemony by displaying that people consent to the ways of governance.
Red Panther is a social activist