If Newton is disqualified by the Academy, Indian cinema has a ready replacement — or two
Amit Masurkar's film Newton — India's official entry to the Oscars — could be rejected by the Academy Awards jury. Which is a crying shame, because by rejecting Newton, the Academy will effectively reject two movies — the Rajkumar Rao-starrer which would be India's official entry to the Oscars, and the Iranian film Secret Ballot, which Newton is said to have used for inspiration.
Now, we have not seen either movie, so we will do what any self-respecting film reviewer does: Assume the worst. Best case scenario, we will be proven right. Even worst case scenario, we will end up saving a lot of time, which we can utilise for other, more intellectual pursuits, like watching that video of a cat playing piano! I mean, it's a cat! And it's playing the piano!
On second thoughts, we should have just sent that to the Oscars.
What? You can't send random viral videos to the Academy? What about that video of the fat guy doing parkour? What do you mean strict rules in place? They are just coming up with these random new rules to deny fine Indian cinema.
If only we could have a movie which checks all the boxes. But where can we find a film of such outstanding quality which is entirely original? So original that every scene, every frame, every dialogue is entirely from the fertile imagination of a battery of writers? Do we know of a single movie which can send out a social message to the masses, while at the same time create an enthralling cinematic experience? Which can be an advertisement to the idea of India, glorify the land of plenty, while at the same time show the world how we Indians tackle our problems here?
MSG has the added advantage of having had two movies within the review period. While every other movie in the running is handicapped by the fact that it's just ... well, a movie, MSG comes in a pair — MSG Lion Heart 2, and Jattu Engineer. Not that either movie is anything but flawless, but together they are just about a world beating team. What MSG Lion Heart 2 couldn't do, Jattu Engineer would, and where Jattu Engineer fails, MSG Lion Heart 2 would pick up the tab. You get the drift? It's like having a two-headed person, with both heads possessing equally arresting qualities, to a beauty pageant, knowing all other competitors are encumbered by a solitary head. The possibilities are dizzy and endless. Makes us lose our collective heads.
What's more, both films come with equally strong social messages. MSG Lion Heart 2, which released in February, showed the world the truth about Pakistan and terrorism and virgins. The Academy's love affair with war is no secret (How else do you explain Saving Private Ryan winning anything?), and a war movie that shows them the truth about Pakistani girls intending to do sexy time, and Pakistani terrorists realising their bombs won't burst is just what would win them over.
Jattu Engineer, on the other hand, released in May, and told us people with black faces are evil. After all, isn't the colour of a person's heart reflected in their face? Race is again a concept which has been richly rewarded by the Academy (we won't even insult your intelligence with examples here), and in Jattu Engineer, they have the perfect antidote to the Spike Lee school of filmmaking.
Still not convinced? Their utter originality will convince you then. In Jattu Engineer, for instance, we are introduced to people who speak in donkey-like brays. Show us another movie, from anywhere else in the world, where you have a character whose raison d'etre is to bray like a donkey, and we will show you a shameless plagiariser.
So, without any further ado, here we present India's alternative entries to the Oscars: MSG Lion Heart 2 and Jattu Engineer! A country can only send one entry? What about Saving Private Ryan then? That was just one really long movie? No way!