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Samira Nadkarni (Independent Scholar), "Chhattisgarh as India’s Frontier: Reading Masurkar’s Newton (2017) as Postcolonial Western"

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Samira Nadkarni (Independent Scholar), "Chhattisgarh as India’s Frontier: Reading Masurkar’s Newton (2017) as Postcolonial Western"

Amit V. Masurkar’s 2017 film, Newton is simultaneously a satire and reconfirmation of the myths of democratic nationhood, exploring a postcolonial narrative of internal colonisation in the creation of national hegemony and law-making. The plot follows a young government clerk, Newton Kumar (Rajkummar Rao), whose attempts to honestly run a voting booth in the jungles of Chhattisgarh is hindered by the Indian army’s morally-ambiguous protocols, the constant threat of attack by Naxals (the soldiers of India’s Maoist-revolution), as well as his own rigid preconceptions of the democratic process and its best practice. As such, Newton functions as an evocation of the traditional Hollywood Western repurposed to Indian cinema and its local concerns; exploration of the Frontier is shifted to the seemingly lawless jungles of Chhattisgarh where the morally ambiguous and potentially corrupt Indian army attempts to combat the threat of Naxal uprisings. We see that (1) Chhattisgarh stands in for the wide expanse of seemingly lawless land to be explored and eventually mastered; (2) Newton’s as the outsider, particularly through his subtly indicated Dalit status (Wankhede 2017), whose perception of existing norms precipitates upheaval; (3) his challenge to the corrupt existing system of law and order (in this case, the Indian army as well as the Naxals) due to his role as male individual and outsider, representative of the nation, democracy, and the (false) promise of egalitarianism; (4) the film culminating in a standoff and violent altercation between him as an individual and a larger group of lawful outlaws (represented in this instance by the Indian army); and, most notably, (5) the indigenous people of the region (Adivasis) are reduced to largely voiceless caricatures (Minj 2017).


    Date de réalisation : 16 Novembre 2018
    Lieu de réalisation : Université Paul Valéry Montpellier 3, Site Saint Charles
    Durée du programme : 29 min
    Classification Dewey : Asie du Sud. Inde, Histoire générale de l'Amérique du Nord, Cinéma - Histoire, Films (analyses et critiques des films), Aspects particuliers des films (adaptations cinématographiques, genres de film...)
    Catégorie : Conférences
    Niveau : Tous publics / hors niveau, niveau Licence (LMD), niveau Master (LMD), niveau Doctorat (LMD), Recherche, Concours (Agrégation, CAPES...)
    Disciplines : Civilisation anglaise et américaine
    Collections : Transnationalism and Imperialism: New Perspectives on the Western
    ficheLom : Voir la fiche LOM
    Langue : Anglais
    Mots-clés : impérialisme, transnationalisme, analyse de film, India, Cinéma, études cinématographiques et vidéo, Histoire des États-Unis


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