August 15, 2022
Choked Review: Rocky Marriage, Rocky Netflix Movie

Choked: Paisa Bolta Hai, releasing today on Netflix, is the latest film from Anurag Kashyap, one of the most renowned Indian directors internationally. That’s so big because of the dozen movies Netflix has made in (or acquired from) India so far, the streaming service hasn’t managed to land any A-list talent as a face in front of or behind the camera. Mainly because subscription-based online platforms like Netflix do not enjoy the same ubiquity or power in India as they do in more mature markets like the US. Bollywood still focuses more on theater and satellite rights to make most of its money. But that changes with Netflix’s latest Indian original film – Choked: Paisa Bolta Hai. [Hindi for “money talks”],

Choked – Kashyap’s first feature-length film to go direct-to-streaming – is possibly the director’s shortest scope film to date, next to Manmarziyaan. The screenplay by Nihit Bhave (Oh Prabhu!, and Sacred Games 2) is primarily about a marriage on the rocks, involving a bitter couple with broken dreams. Choc sees how differing worldviews — in his case: accepting and moving on versus not letting go — can put a huge strain on relationships. The Netflix film turns the traditional Indian family structure on its head to lay bare the systemic blame-lines and frictions at its core, including the invisible labor of women, which are a direct result of deeply-patriarchal societies such as India.

Unfortunately, Choke is never able to make the most of its contents. And as it moves beyond the personal, it falters even more. The events of the Netflix film were set against the backdrop of a “massive failure” in late 2016 that was demonetisation, as economists Called it later. Kashyap Told Firstpost that he had acquired the script of Choked in 2015, but he took up the film only after PM Narendra Modi’s unprecedented announcement. Unfortunately, Choked has nothing to say about the socio-political effects of demonetisation. Instead, it is only used as a plot device.

From Satya to Choked, Anurag Kashyap’s Journey

The film opens in a middle-class housing society in the suburbs of Mumbai, next to the airport. An unseen man stuffs plastic-covered cash into a trap and sticks them in the bathroom drain. On the floor below them live a dysfunctional husband Sushant Pillai (Roshan Mathew from Anandam), who quits his job, and his bank cashier wife Sarita Pillai (Saiyami Kher from Mirzya), who wears pants at home. Sarita is also in charge of managing the house, which is in need of a number of improvements, including a closed sink. The whole matter is humiliating Sarita, not just because Sushant doesn’t point fingers around the house for the day’s goofiness.

Naturally, Sarita and Sushant end up at each other’s throats whenever they end up in the same room, and their fights reach boiling point over trivial matters. In a brilliantly acted opening scene, the couple wakes up their half-asleep son Sameer (Parthvir Shukla, Sarabhai Vs Sarabhai: Take 2) to give evidence on their behalf, taking care of the child in their vain quest to prove the other. do not. Wrong. Over a 110-minute runtime, their arguments and other people’s interactions slowly reveal the past fueling a bitter rift between the two. This is what gives the film its title, it outlines the themes of the film, and annoyingly, it includes a fair bit of Autotune.

Tired of quarreling but unable to sleep one night, Sarita goes to fetch water in the kitchen. And when she hears sounds coming from the drainpipe connected to the above-closed sink, she leans down and yanks it out in a moment of despair and curiosity. As the water flows on the kitchen floor, Sarita glances at two plastic bags that pop out. On closer inspection, he discovers that it is a bunch of cash made of Rs. 500 note. Sarita is delighted and to her surprise, more money pours down the kitchen sink drainpipe every night. She uses the money to settle her husband’s debts and decorate the house but soon the question arises as to where it is coming from.

Choked, Dark, 13 Reasons Why, M:I Fallout, and more on Netflix in May

Choked Netflix Review 2 Choked Netflix Review

Roshan Mathew, Saiyami Kher and Amrita Subhash in Choked: Paisa Bolta Hai
Photo Credit: Tejinder Singh / Netflix

All this has been extended a month later, as PM Modi takes over the airwaves and makes an end of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes with four hours’ notice. Unfortunately, Choked doesn’t do a good job of explaining what’s happening, or why people are flocking to the banks. It does a little better with its political criticism, which does nothing more than lash out at people who admire the PM a couple of times. Choked can’t bring any meaningful depth to any of that, and it fails to find those opportunities elsewhere.

Demonetisation also fails to address the individual cost. Sarita is horrified after PM Modi’s announcement, but her worries are the least. He also has to deal with Sushant’s loan shark (Upendra Limaye from Jogwa), and neighbor (Amrita Subhash from Gully Boy), who lives on the floor below. Using those building blocks, Choked creates a dramatic twist that reads like a plot feature, and the path it takes to get there isn’t even very satisfying, what with some unnecessary musical montages. And barring Kher, who helms the leading female role, Choked doesn’t serve its other actors well. Though Subhash is brilliant as ever, it’s a bit of a part, and Mathew has stuck with the one-note role.

For what it’s worth, Choked attempts to give its characters an interesting spin at the very end, offering redemption for some and showing how others with a handsome mask are. Choked is very capable in the technical department, be it Kashyap’s direction, the cinematography (Sylvester Fonseca, from Sacred Games), and especially the background sound (Karsh Kale from Gully Boy), but it’s clear as day that the script could have been used more. Work. It is arguably the most polished Indian film Netflix has ever produced, but it really fails to deliver as of the highest note. Although given how low the bar is set first, this is easily one of its best efforts, possibly second only to Sony,

Choked: Paisa Bolta Hai is streaming on Netflix worldwide on Friday at 12:30 PM.


Can Netflix force Bollywood to reinvent itself? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts either RSS, You can also download the episode or hit the play button below.

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