It’s all about sound and images but that’s what Cinema is all about, isn’t it? ‘Choked, Paisa Bolta Hai’ by Anurag Kashyap is primarily about the sound that leads the film combined with a gripping narrative. Set in the backdrop of India’s demonetization of currency, the film traces the angst, aspirations, ambition, values and beliefs, dreams and ‘dares’, greed, relationships, failures and success of middle-class families in Mumbai.
Sarita (Saiyami Kher) a bank employee lives with her jobless Musician husband Sushant (Roshan Mathew) and a young son Samir. Sushant’s failures to secure a job reflect badly on their relationship which is reduced to communication through their son. This is compounded by Sarita’s failure as a Singer during an audition which keeps returning to haunt her as a failed dream. The entire apartment building is choked by an old pipe. When Plumbers fail to repair it, Sarita tries it herself only to find Currency Notes neatly wrapped in plastic packets stuck in the drain pipe.
Sarita’s discovery is her little secret from her frustrated yet content husband and the neighbors. The Aunt living on the floor beneath referred to as ‘Tai’ (Amrita Subhash) is Sarita’s constantly compelling companion. Tai has a marriage in the family and constantly worried about the arrangements. Sarita’s sudden splurge on replacement of household things, her clearing of her husband’s debt, begins to give rise to suspicion all around. Just then the demonetization is announced. While India celebrates the development, Sarita’s life in the bank turns into a nightmare with increased workload and chaos. Sarita is threatened, bribed and cornered only to rediscover Sushant’s love and care for her.
To being with the strong points, one sees the glimpses of Anurag’s directorial craft clearly in the Film yet it cannot escape the typical Bollywood weaknesses, the Songs. ‘Choked’ uses metaphors like the ‘bolt’, ‘switches’, ‘clock’ and others well. The film is brilliant, to say the least as the sound design, sound and silences and the camera work carry.
It is well-edited and paces the story well. Fast motions used at places were not required especially when Sarita is purchasing household things and being followed. Actually slow motion would have worked better. The film fails at the dialogue level. While dialogues like ‘Yahan koi aata jata nahi’ and ‘Sushant Ye daal tujhe khilati hoon’, work well, most others, don’t. For example, Reddy tells Sarita in a meeting, of 1,000 rupees you keep 240 and I will keep 160.
Overall, the film is good, well-crafted and absorbing. ‘Choked Paisa Bolta Hai’ is scripted well, with a clear narrative, proper characterization, clear beginning, climax and resolution of it. A must watch!!!
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