The World Needs More Newtons

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The World Needs More Newtons

Illustration: Akshita Monga/ Arré

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mit V Masurkar’s sophomore black comedy, Newton, is helmed by a character who is a strange sight in our world a young man who is an idealist. The film’s eponymous lead is an anomaly not just in the surrounding he inhabits a conflict-ridden, Naxal-infested zone nestled deep inside the jungles of Chattisgarh but also in the context of the leads afforded to Hindi cinema.

When was the last time we saw an idealist in Hindi cinema? Perhaps, 13 years ago, when NASA engineer Mohan Bhargava (Shah Rukh Khan) took a detour to Swades, and chose a country, imperfect in so many myriad ways over the comfort of an alien United States of America. But, even Bhargava’s brand of idealism wasn’t inherent. Instead, it was an acquired taste, one that he had to dig deep inside himself to recover, after many instances of criticising his country. For, he, like countless other Indians, complaining about the dismal state of the country, have been conditioned to be disillusioned. It’s almost like we’d been given a manual that screams, “Be anything but idealistic.” And, we’ve been following it blindly, without complaint. We’re too lazy to cause change, but not lazy enough to be products of armchair activism. Hindi cinema, and the cruelty of the world around us, has wrought in us a lucid understanding of idealism: It’s on its way to extinction.

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