Movie Over Matter
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Movie Over Matter

Newton — Idealism or Practicality?

In one of my favorite scenes from the movie, Newton’s supervisor asks him, “Do you know what your problem is?”

“My honesty and sincerity.”

“Your vanity in your honesty and sincerity.”

Newton is a film about Newton (Nutan Kumar), perfectly portrayed by Rajkummar Rao who wants to make a difference. He is a fresher and as his first assignment he volunteers to serve as the presiding officer of an election booth in one of the Naxals infested areas. He does everything by the book to ensure the operation is a success. And when the operation doesn’t go as per his expectations, he is devastated. In a scene towards the climax, you can witness his anguish and feel the pain of shattering of his worldview and idealism.

The polar opposite is Aatma Singh, played beautifully by Pankaj tripathy. He is a practical man who from his first conversation with Newton tries to discourage him from pursuing his operation. He understands the safety risks of the area under his supervision and was not interested in losing any more of his men or civilians to Naxal attacks. He even promises him a successful (fake) report for the election operation, to ensure that both of them maintain the image of a work well done.

Why did he do that? Was he not interested in serving his country by ensuring fair elections?

In one of my favorite scenes which was the main reason I went to watch the movie, Aatma Singh offered Newton to hold his rifle in his hands, “It is heavy, isn’t it?” he said, and continued, “this is the burden of safety of our country, and this burden is on our shoulders.”

It may not seem this way but Aatma Singh was as patriotic as Newton. The difference was in their perception. Newton was an extreme idealist, perhaps being a fresher and driven to make a difference. Aatma Singh, with years of experience in Kashmir, Mizoram and other terror prone regions, understood the risks of holding such election operations and used that to make practical decisions. Both were doing their duty, and that is why this clash between idealism and practicality makes for a riveting watch.

Even though Newton is being praised worldwide and is India’s official entry as a foreign film to the Academy Awards in 2018, to me this film excelled to depict the clash of idealism and practicality that was a great learning and a useful takeaway for me.

What side do you choose, idealism or practicality?

And how far are you willing to go for your idealism or practicality?



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Abhishek Sainani

Abhishek Sainani

An aspiring writer who often juggles between his inner world, his dream world, and the real world. Writes poetry, humorous observations and opinion pieces.