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Newton Deals with Ideological Differences on Democracy: Director

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Newton Actor Rajkummar Rao
Newton Actor Rajkummar Rao. IANS

Mumbai, Sep 22, 2017: “Newton” director Amit V. Masurkar, whose movie has been selected as India’s official entry to the Oscars, says he always wanted to explore a story in a political space which is otherwise lesser known to urban India.

“Newton”, which deals with the ideological battle between the government and Maoists, has been selected by a 14-member jury constituted by the Film Federation of India and will represent the country at the Academy Awards in the Best Foreign Film category in 2018.

The story of the film revolves around a young government employee Newton Kumar — essayed by the critically acclaimed Rajkummar Rao — who is sent out to execute an election in a Maoist-prone area in Chhattisgarh.

“Newton” is Masurkar’s second film after “Suleimani Keeda”. What made him choose a political subject that’s quite complicated and not as popular in the cine space as the Kashmir issue or the political crisis of northeastern states?

Masurkar told IANS: “I wanted to tell a story in the political space. The reason for choosing Chhattisgarh is that the issue here is different from the two that you have mentioned. Naxals are not asking for a separate country or fighting for development or seeking an answer to any injustice.

“The battle is from the ideological differences on democracy. Naxals want to bring a change in democracy by establishing a communist rule.

“Therefore, the story of the film is quite clear – a government, an opposition to the government and then there is a man who represents the government, who is honestly trying to do his duty and struggling on his way.”

The movie, which released on Friday, has been raved about by critics and the film fraternity. It had premiered at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival.

Recounting his struggle to find a producer to the make the film, Masurkar said: “I showed the script to a couple of studios who said that ‘Oh, it’s politics… Youth have no interest in it’. The moment I narrated the story to Manish (Manish Mundra of Drishyam Films), he said ‘Yes’ in no time.

“He has got a great taste for stories and understands the pulse of the audience.”

It was later that producer Aanand L. Rai and a banner like Eros International Entertainment came on board.

“I showed Aanand sir the film and he liked the film and decided to be a part of its release. And of course, I am thankful for that. But what touched me is, how he remembered me. I once assisted him 14 years ago for one of his telefilms.

“He is such a gem of a person. He came out after watching the film, remembering me, saying, ‘I am so proud of you Amit, tu kitna bada ho gaya (You’ve grown up so much)! You made this film.”

Rajkummar plays the lead character in “Newton”, but according to the director, all the characters in the film have been written substantially to build the story.

“I made some small changes according to the talent of the actors. Like Pankaj Tripathi is such a brilliant actor who has a command over Hindi, so we wrote the dialogues for him accordingly.

“The character of Raghubir Yadav was also elaborated according to his calibre. And Rajkummar was the first choice because there are some of the strong similarities of personality between him and Newton. They are both quite sincere in their job and idealistic,” Masurkar said.

He hopes that in a scenario where the taste of the Indian audience is changing, they embrace a movie like “Newton”. (IANS)

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Actor Rajkummar Rao Doesn’t Give Importance to Stardom

Rajkummar, who is dating actress Patralekhaa, said: "Yeah. I wish I could give more time to my personal life but I have got some really understanding people and they know we all came to the city to do this. You have to have an understanding with your friends and loved ones."

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Rajkummar rao
Rajkummar Rao.

BY DURGA CHAKRAVARTY

He has mastered the art of striking a balance between critically acclaimed films such as “Shahid” and “Aligarh” on one hand, and quality mainstream entertainers as “Stree” and “Bareilly Ki Barfi” on the other. Rajkummar Rao, one of the best actors in Bollywood, calls himself a “normal guy leading a very normal life” and he doesnt waste time dealing with stardom.

Rajkummar made his Bollywood debut with a prop role in the 2010 film “Love Sex Aur Dhokha”, Dibakar Banerjee’s quirky experiment that courted critical acclaim. Over the next few years, his rise has been steady, thanks to impeccable performances in films such as “Shaitan”, “Aligarh”, “Kai Po Che!”, “Shahid” and “Stree” among others.

In his nine year run in Bollywood, how does Rajkummar deal with the stardom? “I don’t really deal with it,” Rajkummar told IANS.

Does he give stardom importance? Pat came the reply: “I don’t give it (importance). I am very happy because I get a lot of love whenever I go anywhere now. That love is irreplaceable. A lot of gratitude for that. Apart from that when I am on sets or at home, I don’t think of anything else. I just be myself. I am a very normal guy and leading a very normal life. I am just doing my job and nothing else.”

Before venturing into the glitzy world of Bollywood, Rajkummar, a product of Delhi University, was doing theatre. In 2008, the “Omerta” star graduated from the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune, and shifted to Mumbai for a film career.

Of course, it wasn’t always a smooth ride. He has had his quota of struggle, too.

“My struggle started in Delhi. I hail from Gurgaon and I used to travel in really crowded buses or sometimes cycle from Gurgaon to Mandi House to do theatre . My struggle started from there. When I landed in Bombay for two years, there was a lot of struggle. I would meet a lot of people and face a lot of rejection. It wasn’t really an easy route.” he said.

'Shahid' clocks 5 years, Rajkummar nostalgic
Actor Rajkummar Rao poses at an award function. Wikimedia Commons

Today, Rajkummar has carved a niche for himself in just nine years, and is labelled a Rs 100-crore actor-star.

“These are tags created by people. I just want to do good work nothing else. I am not chasing anything else,” said the actor, who has managed to maintain a balance between commercial space and indie cinema.

Is Rajkummar consciously maintaining two pockets in his career? “No. The only conscious choice is to be a part of exciting stories. When ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi’, which in a way was a gamechanger, released and people saw me in a different avatar for the first time it just happened. I did not really decide to do that film because I wanted to break some image and do a big commercial film,” he said.

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With a bag full of different work kinds of films coming his way, Rajkummar has never felt saturated.

“I am very happy. There are so many people out there who want to do what I am doing. So, when I am getting a chance to live my dream everyday there is no saturation point. I love it,” he said.

But with a packed work schedule, does he feel that his personal life has taken a backseat?

Rajkummar, who is dating actress Patralekhaa, said: “Yeah. I wish I could give more time to my personal life but I have got some really understanding people and they know we all came to the city to do this. You have to have an understanding with your friends and loved ones.” (IANS)