Amit Masurkar’s acclaimed political satire Newton has been selected as India’s official submission for the Best Foreign Film language category at the Oscars. The selection committee of the Film Federation of India, one of the country’s major trade bodies, announced the decision on Friday, said Suparna Sen, the organisation’s secretary general. The committee was headed by Telugu producer CV Reddy, the first member from the Telugu film industry to occupy the position.
“Newton was chosen unanimously by the committee out of 26 entries” Reddy said. “Everyone in the committee liked it.”
Rajkummar Rao plays Newton Kumar, a presiding officer who is determined to hold a free and fair election in a Chhattisgarh village despite the threat of Naxalite violence and all-round cynicism. The movie, produced by Drishyam Films and distributed by Eros International, also stars Pankaj Tripathi, Anjali Patil and Raghubir Yadav, and was released on September 22.
“I hope this brings more attention to what is happening in Chhattisgarh right now,” Masurkar said, adding,“We are a democracy. It works in certain parts and it doesn’t work in certain others. And that is very unfair. I want people all over India to understand that there are imperfections and we have to be constantly vigilant and working to correct it.”
Masurkar also expressed his gratitude for the selection. “I’m very grateful to the committee for choosing Newton,” he said. “We are in the theatres today and this announcement will help in making more people watch the film. After all, this is a film we made for India.”
Newton will compete, among others, with Ruben Ostlund’s The Square from Sweden, Fatih Akin’s In the Fade from Germany, Angelina Jolie’s First They Killed My Father from Cambodia, Sebastian Lelio’s A Fantastic Woman from Chile, Farhan Alam’s Sawan from Pakistan and Robin Campillo’s BPM: Beats Per Minute from France among others.
The 90th Academy Awards will be held on March 4, 2018, in Los Angeles.