I had no idea about ‘Secret Ballot’: ‘Newton’ director
Mumbai: “Newton” Director Amit V Masurkar says he was completely unaware of the Iranian film “Secret Ballot” and that people should watch both the films and compare to find out if they are copied.
“Newton” has been chosen as India’s official selection for Oscars 2018. A day after this news was announced, several reports came out claiming that the film has been inspired by a 2001 Iranian movie titled “Secret Ballot”, helmed by Babak Payami.
It focuses on the life of a ballot officer who visits a barren and desolate place to plead with voters to cast their votes and take part in the elections.
Asked if he was inspired by the Iranian film, Masurkar told IANS: “I wrote the story in 2013 and after that, for eight months I along with Mayank (Tiwari, the screenplay writer) worked on the script.
“The intention of the story is to talk about a section of the population in our democracy who has a desire to vote but how, under which situation, missed out on the equal rights. The story was born from my heart. I had no idea about ‘Secret Ballot’.”
The director added: “I think two days before the shooting starts, someone told me if I watched that Iranian film. I went through some of the clippings online and our film has no similarities to that.
“Newton” had its world premiere at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival and won the International Confederation of Art Cinemas Award for best film in the ‘Forum Section’.
Masurkar says that the film has been watched by several critics.
“The film has travelled to 40 countries. Audiences and critics have watched it across. They could have said that then… they haven’t because it is a different film. I think people should watch the film to compare and find out if my film is copied from that one (‘Secret Ballot’),” Masurkar said.
“Newton”, which stars National Award-winning actor Rajkummar Rao, revolves around a government employee who struggles to supervise voting in a forest area of Chhattisgarh, controlled by Maoists.