This film could well be as well remembered (by those who are wise enough to see it) as the person after whom it is named. Even as news trickles in that it is our official entry at the Oscars you know that it will stand up to international scrutiny. This is saying a lot about a Hindi film. Any film with Raj Kumar Rao in the cast is an insurance for quality. So you know that your ticket is a guarantee to some fine cinematic moments. Rao ensures that and there are others in perfect sync with him.
Director Amit Masurkar tells a simple story with huge implications and leaves the rest to the understanding of the viewer. Newton (Raj Kumar Rao ) is a greenhorn babu pressed into election duty . He is required to go to the middle of nowhere – an area suffering from Naxal activities (and unstated police excess) in Chhattisgarh. Danger is looming large. The para military is out there to police the scenario. We have Aatma Singh (Pankaj Tripathi) in charge of security and is obviously of the strong belief that he is the king of the situation. While he places safety as a priority, Newton says the conduct of elections in strict compliance of the rule book is imperative. The situation throws up the conflict.
The entire film is shot in the tense atmosphere of the forests of Chhattisgarh and without a whisper of the Salwa Judum group. The police vs the electoral office comes for a sharp yet subtle impact. What raises the level of the narrative is the perfect presence of Raj Kumar Rao as the officer on duty and the amazing (not a minute wrong) performance of Pankaj Tripathi. The tragedy of our cinema is that such films and such actors do not get the attention and recognition they deserve. This is glorious cinema and is told without exaggeration, told with sincerity and without intellectual dishonesty. Kudos to the support staff (Raghuvir Yadav, Anjali Patil Sanjay Misra) for playing their roles to a nicety. Even if you are alone, make bold and watch the movie. Savour the experience of good cinema. It does not happen too often here. If this film flops it is not an indication of the film, it reflects the mental unpreparedness of the audience and that is no cultural compliment to the aggregate.