Anuraj Kashyaps’ “Choked: Paisa Bolta Hai” is a film set in the tumultuous times of Demonetization, portraying one middle class family’s struggle in coping with it.
Sarita, a bank teller, is the sole bread winner in her family. Her husband gambles away both his time and money, and her son is still in school. One day she finds wads of money being gurgled out from her sink, along with black muck (it’s literally black money). This becomes a regular event and soon she finds her financial troubles going away. However, the ultimate villain shows up and turns her life upside down- Demonetization.
Kashyap has uniquely narrated and aptly portrayed the middle class struggle in a realistic way, however, as the movie progresses and the story-line regresses.
Our rating: 3/5
why it deserved the 3/5
1. Gripping, Unique Story
Choked: Paisa Bolta Hai deals with a topic that very few films focus on, demonetization. And it does so in a very unique way. Sarita’s drain becomes her golden goose and actually coughs up wads of 500 and 1000 rupee notes every day at a set time. How weird is that! Only Kashyap could pull it off.
The irony is remarkable as well. Just when Sarita started enjoying her free drain cash, demonetization came in to ruin it. Her stress, mental tension and overall incapacity to help herself was perfectly symbolic of every lower and middle class family.
Kashyap also explored the themes of marriage and the male ego. Despite being a good for nothing idler, Sushant, her husband felt threatened when the money started coming in and started doubting Sarita’s every expenditure. Overall, the story was gripping, gritty and one of a kind.
2. Stellar Acting
Saiyami Kher as Sarita Pillai has done a great job. She’s expressive, yet subtle and pulls off the roll of working middle class wife convincingly. Roshan Mathew as her husband Sushant perfectly suited the character of sympathy seeking no-good nobody. Amruta Subhash as Taai, the annoying, kind of selfish, nosey neighbour makes you want to strangle her by the end of the movie, but that just means she’s done a great job with her role.
3. Great Production
The production is on point. The long drawn out shots are used perfectly to add suspense, the ominous use of Tabla beats keep the viewer on the edge, and the tight close-ups add to the tension. The whole film is colour corrected in cool tones, which further adds to the grim background it’s set against. Watching it is an extremely immersive experience.
why it lost the 2/5
After hitting it’s peak midway, the story line becomes dragged and loses it’s focus. The writing becomes lazy. Towards the second half, the viewers will start reading those Whatsapp messages on their phone which they had initially not even looked at. Additionally, the movie ended on a rather weak and extremely rushed note.
Overall, “Choked: Paisa Bolta Hai” is worth watching once. It gives a very realistic middle class perspective on demonetization, while keeping intact it’s artistic nuances. It’s Anurag Kashyap in a subdued avatar. I mean it was 2 hours of Kashyap without a single abuse. Not even one! It’s not the kind of Anurag Kahyap film we’re used to, but regardless, it was refreshing to watch. The story is very different, novel and unique to the core. Despite it’s faults it is an entertaining film that deserves to be seen once.
Watch it on- Netflix