“Choked: Paisa Bolta Hai” is one more in the seemingly never-ending supply of unadulterated crap from Netflix (and from the hyped Anurag Kashyap, of course). This film says nothing, does not pass on any message, certainly does not involve, forget entertain, and has only invited pseudo-intellectual reviews with high-falutin’ terms that allocate deep meaning to sequences in this mundane non-event and the lumbering form it takes.
A couple, Sarita (Saiyami Kher—someone should counsel this comely lady on how to choose movies and filmmakers, because she acts quite well) and Sushant Pillai (Roshan Matthew) are failed musicians—she has choked when on a reality show, and could not sing a word when the lights fell on her, and he has never been able to have a career or even keep a non-musical job.
Sarita now works as a bank teller. They have a son (Parthveer Shukla), and seemingly pestilential neighbors, including a super-weird and hysterical woman (Amruta Subhash) whose daughter is getting married. Sushant tries to do various things in partnership another good-for-nothing man living in his building (Uday Nene).
Turns out there is a man who hides notes in zip-lock bags in the drain in the apartment above and Sarita discovers them a few days later in a choked drain in her kitchen. She surreptitiously collects them and spends the money on some luxuries for the family, even as she is being almost blackmailed by Reddy, to whom hubby owes money.
Kashyap, the man who always attacks the demonetization that happened in 2016, makes use of this fact to present a scenario where people are raving about the attack on slush money but instead focuses on the temporary troubles and chaos the people went through. He inveigles this into the plot, and after that, we finally (yawn!) come to an Utopian end where the politician’s ill-gotten gains makes the couple get a percentage as a reward. How much, asks Sarita. The screen goes blank. It is The End. Thankfully—the end of our tolerance as well.
And yes, many other humdrum things happen before that, but in fear that my keypad might get choked, we will refrain from enumerating them.
A persistent (noir? Or something else?) leitmotif of Kashyap is to show murky, grimy, unappetizing visuals in all his movies. In the name of middle- and lowe-class reality, get it? Since there is no scope in this “story” for his favorite expletives, violence or sexual sequences, he concentrates on bilge (literally), showing the choked drains overflow again and again like some spoilt diesel, and a lot of that choked muck gurgles over into his film, starting with the script, which forgets that in a story there should ideally be a beginning, middle and end. Here. there is only a beginning, which Kashyap exploits to about five percent of the potential.
The performances, given everything, are alright but not spectacular. Amit Trivedi’s background score is well-done, and the rest of the technical aspects are ho-hum. But the film isn’t even that.
It can choke you with its sheer pointlessness and sense of wasted resources.
Produced by: Anurag Kashyap, Dhruv Jagasia & Akshay Thakker
Directed by: Anurag Kashyap
Written by: Nihit Bhave
Music: Amit Trivedi
Starring: Saiyami Kher, Roshan Matthew, Rajshri Deshpande, Amruta Subhash, Tushar Dalvi, Upendra Limaye, Milind Pathak, Uday Nene, Parthveer Shukla & others