In what seems to be a suspiciously well(?)-timed move to hurt Amit Masurkar’s highly lauded Newton, a sudden plagiarism charge hit the film out of nowhere on Saturday triggering off a heated internet debate on how eligible Newton is to represent India at the Oscars.
While director Masurkar dismisses the charges of Newton being inspired by the Iranian film Secret Ballot as “baseless”, Supran Sen, the Secretary-General of the Film Frederation Of India which selects the film to go to the Oscars each year, wonders where these allegations of non-originality against Newton suddenly surfaced after the film was selected as India’s official entry to the Oscars and was given a grant of Re 1 crore by the Indian government.
“The Iranian film has been around for 16 years.So all the learned critics who watch global cinema were aware of its existence. Newton was premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in February. If at all there were similarities between Newton and the other film, why didn’t anyone at Berlin notice it? Why did this question suddenly come up after the film was selected by us to go to the Oscars?” asks Sen.
Sen says this controversy doesn’t change anything for Newton. “No rule for the Best Foreign Film category at the Oscars states that any likeness to any other film in any form is a disqualification.We’ve full faith in the team behind Newton and we stand by the film, as of now.”
A source close the developments finds the timing of the plagiarism charges very suspicious. “The minuteNewton was selected for the Oscar, the Iranian film came into the picture.Almost as if the attempt to pullNewton down was planned.”
Interestingly the film that missed being India’s Oscar entry by a hair’s breadth is the Aamir Khan blockbusterDangal.And if Newton misses the bus, Dangal goes.