The treatment of the movie Choked felt like it wants to shift the gears from third to fourth but never really got that clean stretch to make that shift. The new Anurag Kashyap movie will leave you wanting for more excitement in the tale. The build-up here is clever and it has multiple elements that can hold your interest. But somewhere the movie feels a bit confused about whether to act like a satire or a thriller.
Sarita works in the bank and her husband Sushant doesn’t have any job. His lack of responsibility and the debts he has created has made life hell for Sarita. At one point Sarita starts to get black money kept in covers popping up from her sink’s faulty connection. As this extra money gradually started solving her problems, the demonetization declaration happens. How Sarita deals with that unprecedented situation is the soul of Choked.
The trailer of the movie is definitely a smart one. Because the story I sort of constructed in my mind was broken within the first few minutes of the movie. Even though the screenplay is approaching the urban middle-class lifestyle in a believable way, the excitement wasn’t getting created. We are curious to know about the kind of struggles Saritha will face with this greedy attitude, but not much is happening in that track to thrill you. There is a subplot that deals with the fragile male ego. And also the satirical angle on the inefficient demonetization that caused chaos. But in totality, the movie kind of loses its focus.
Saiyami Kher has managed to capture the essence of her character brilliantly. I really liked the way she used the body language of the character to convey so many things. The confidence level of the character at different phases in life is clearly understandable from the way she talks and also the body language. Roshan Mathew plays the role of the husband who is a Tamilian. His slightly off Hindi can be justified because of that origin. But since him being a Tamilian doesn’t have much to do with the content of the movie, I felt Sushant could have been a Malayali. I am saying this because his Tamil wasn’t that smooth. In being that lazy egoistic character he was really convincing and the transition to that insecure silly husband was nice. Amruta Subhash as the neighbor is brilliant in the movie. The way she portrays the anger and the angst is hilarious and believable.
In a recent interview, Anurag Kashyap had said that he sort of removed too much of talk about Narendra Modi from a sequence in the movie so that it doesn’t look like a movie where he is desperately squeezing in all his political views. And you can clearly sense Anurag controlling himself from staying away from that. Anurag’s style of improvisation and the way he shoots the film in tight and crowded spaces makes the movie look rugged on the surface. The script by Nihit Bhave has done a fairly good job of etching out the characters. But the lack of excitement we get to experience towards the last quarter of the movie reduces the charm. Sylvester Fonseca has made sure that the Anurag Kashyap signature is there in the movie. As always there is that wackiness in the soundtracks.
Choked has a backdrop that keeps you curious for the most part and it definitely has certain moments too to its credit. But the inability of the story to create a climax that justifies the tension they built till that point can disappoint you. This confusion of whether to be a satire about the demonetization or to be a thriller about a normal middle-class woman’s survival reduced the focus of the movie.
This confusion of whether to be a satire about the demonetization or to be a thriller about a normal middle-class woman’s survival reduced the focus of the movie.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended