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Rajkummar Rao's Newton to make world premiere at Berlin Festival

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MUMBAI: The New Year is beginning on a high note for Drishyam Films, the makers of much loved films such as Masaan, Dhanak and Waiting. Their latest film Amit V Masurkar’s Newton is all set to make its World Premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival, one of the world's most prestigious film festivals to be held from 9-19 February 2017. The film will have a red carpet premiere with its cast and crew on 10 February, during the opening weekend of the top-tier festival.

The public programme of the Berlin International Film Festival shows about 400 films per year, mostly international or European premieres. Films of every genre, length and format find their place in the various sections: great international cinema in the Competition, independent and art house in Panorama, films for the young audience in Generation, new discoveries and promising talents from the German film scene in Perspektive Deutsches Kino, avant garde, experimental and unfamiliar cinematography in the Forum and Forum Expanded, and an exploration of cinematic possibilities in Berlinale Shorts.

Newton, starring Rajkummar Rao in the title role is a sharp political black comedy that takes place on an election day in Central India. Rajkummar Rao, whose star is on the rise following with strong, highly appreciated performances in films like Aligarh and Queen, plays Newton, a rookie clerk on election duty in a conflict-ridden jungle of Chhattisgarh, who tries his best to conduct free and fair voting despite the apathy of security forces and the looming fear of an attack by Maoist rebels.

The film also stars acclaimed actors Anjali Patil (of Mirzya fame), Pankaj Tripathi (of Gangs of Wasseypur fame) and Raghubir Yadav (veteran actor from Peepli Live).

Newton is Amit V Masurkar’s second film after the sleeper hit Sulemani Keeda in 2014. The film produced by Manish Mundra will be screened in the ‘International Forum of New Cinema’, considered as the most daring section of the Berlinale featuring avant-garde, experimental works, political reportage and yet-to-be-discovered cinematic landscapes.

Newton was part of the Co-Production Market (CPM) at Film Bazaar 2015 and also one of the Film Bazaar Recommends titles at Film Bazaar 2016.

Interestingly, all of Drishyam Films’ films starting from Ankhon Dekhi, Masaan, Waiting, Dhanak and Umrika have made their world premieres at top-billed international film festivals. Masaan (2015), directed by Neeraj Ghaywan premiered at the Cannes Film Festival 2015 and won two awards -- FIPRESCI, International Jury of Film Critics prize and Promising Future prize in the Un Certain Regard section. Umrika won the audience award in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition section at the Sundance Film Festival, in 2015. Newton is Drishyam Films’ second venture to make its world premiere at Berlinale after Nagesh Kukunoor’s Dhanak (Rainbow) which made its world premiere at Berlinale 2015 and also received a special mention from the jury.

Amit V Masurkar, who has co-written and directed Newton, says, “We’re all excited to have a grand premiere of Newton in Berlin which is a very prestigious festival and has launched some of the most interesting films from across the world. Newton is a political film with a generous helping of quirky, dark humour which reflects the absurdity of the world we live in. We’re sure it will resonate with audiences at home and abroad.”

Starting 2017 with such great news, Founder of Drishyam Films and the producer of Newton, Manish Mundra says “Newton stands true to our vision of telling powerful stories that are rooted in our culture yet universal in their appeal. We are thrilled to be back at Berlin with this special film, and plan to bring it to our audiences at home soon after.”

Drishyam Films aims to build a platform for unique voices of Indian independent cinema and create global content with rich Indian flavours. Their filmmaking journey started with the award-winning film Ankhon Dekhi directed by Rajat Kapoor. Its success was followed by Umrika directed by Prashant Nair which premiered at Sundance Film Festival 2015 and bagged the Audience Choice Award.

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