Amit Masurkar’s highly-acclaimed Newton has been selected as India’s official entry to the Oscars. The movie, starring Rajkummar Rao, Pankaj Tripathi, Raghubir Yadav and Anjali Patil, tells the story of polling officer Newton Kumar, whose aim is to hold free and fair elections in the jungles of Chhattisgarh.
And Amit couldn’t be more thrilled. “It’s like a windfall,” he says, elated. “We got all those amazing reviews days before the release. Then, on the day of the release, we get to hear that the film is going as our entry into the Oscars. What more could I ask for?”But what made Amit do a film on the electoral process?
“After my first film, Sulemani Keeda, I wanted to do something within the political spaceI didn’t want to make a movie about corrupt netas, scams, and grafts. We’ve seen enough of that. As I thought of what to do next, visions of polling booths, voting machines and presiding officers kept coming to my mind. That’s how Newton was born. I wanted to go into a place where we still don’t ever go. The electoral process is still not practiced properly in many areas. Unless we sort that out, we cannot hope to plot ahead with the democratic infrastructure.”
So, how will Amit take Newton to the Oscars, when many of our films don’t make it beyond the entry gate? “For now, the fact that Newton has been selected in itself is a big deal for me. I’m still trying to process this information. It’s still to sink in,” he says. “Whether we make it to the shortlist, win or not, are thoughts that are far away from my head right now.”
The filmmaker is confident his producers will do whatever it takes to give Newton a fair chance at the Oscars. “My producers, Manish Mundra and Aanand L. Rai are people with vast knowledge of cinema, and how to take it where it needs to go. They will do the needful.”
Meanwhile, Amit hopes to see Newton get some eyeballs. “At the moment, the film’s box office results are most important. We’re hoping that Newton gets an audience,” he says, adding that he is keeping his feet firmly on the ground. “I have the most matter-of-fact parents and girlfriend. They’re making sure I stay grounded,” he concludes....