In our last piece, we listed down upcoming movies by ace director, producer, screenwriter, and actor Anurag Kashyap. Kashyap, known for his bold outlook towards cinema has come out with two movies in 2020 – Ghost Stories and Choked.
Ghost Stories was a collection of horror stories released on January 1. The film was co-directed by Anurag Kashyap. Despite a stunning panel of directors and actors, the film failed. Considering it was the first time we were seeing a horror anthology in Hindi, it’s lackluster performance was disappointing.
Choked, also a Netflix Original, came out in the first week of June. Another entrant in Anurag Kashyap’s directorial filmography, Choked covers the story of a lower-middle-class family from Mumbai. The movie captures the effects of demonetization. As engaging as the topic is, is Choked a good take on DeMon?
Choked: the throat or drain?
The protagonist of the story is Savitri. She is a government bank employee working hard to make ends meet. Furthermore, her husband Sushant is a struggling music artist hopping between jobs hoping to make it as a musician.
The common life of common people
Before working at the bank, Savitri was a famous singer and also a part of a reality TV show. Upon failing to sing one day in front of a full-house, Savitri gives up on singing, stows her talent, and works to support her family.
The apartment complex the family lives in has poor drainage. The protagonist is ever so often seen clearing out the mess. On one such night while clearing out her kitchen, Savitri finds bundles of cash pouring out of her basin pipe.
The drain of treasure
Much to Savitri’s surprise, the notes coming out of the pipe are real. This sudden change and influx of money leaves Savitri yearning for more. Every night, she waits for the house to sleep and goes out to collect more from the seemingly never-ending treasure.
From paying off some of her husband’s debts to buying little things that make a house a home, Savitri starts living a different life. While happy enough to get rid of the life she was beginning to detest, she fails to ask the one question that matters. Where was this money coming from?
Savitri’s happiness is short-lived. Soon after she starts getting bundles of money almost every night, the Govt. of India declared DeMon. 500 and 1000 Re notes are banned and Savitri becomes convinced the free rain of money will end.
Much to her surprise, the rain did not end and with it brought freshly minted 2000 Re notes. As the movie progresses, Savitri begins arousing suspicion, becoming a victim of gossip and infidelity rumors.
Do Dooni Chaar
About 10 years ago, Do Dooni Chaar hit the screens. The film, similar to Choked, shows the life of a middle-class family in Delhi working hard to make ends meet. The father, a maths teacher, works tirelessly to keep his family happy and to own a car, having spent his entire life running around on a scooter.
Do Dooni Chaar is a comic, feel-good film, that will leave its viewers smiling. It captures the reality of so many Indians, the little moments of laughter and happiness while struggling to earn enough.
The movie went on to win the National Award for the Best Feature Film.
How does Choked match up
While some tenets of both these movies may have been similar, the difference in the tone of the films is stark. Do Dooni Chaar is a comedy through and through, whereas Choked offers a more realistic, comprehensive picturization of the life of common people.
Choked is the first feature film that covers the historic act of Demonetization in India, and it does it well. The film captures the chaos and desperation of common people after November 8, 2016.
It successfully portrays the lives of middle-class Indians, something rarely seen in present day cinema. The tone of the film and glimpses of reality make it a true Anurag Kashyap film.
You can watch both movies here.
As platforms like Netflix, Disney+ Hotstar, and Prime Video are becoming mainstream, production houses are opening up the opportunities of releasing films here.
More and more movies, some that come and go unnoticed in theatres, find a home on OTT platforms. The coronavirus scare has forced movie buffs away from the cinema, but it seems the cinema will not disappoint. Gulabo Sitabo starring Amitabh Bachchan and Ayushmann Khurrana will release on Prime Video on 12th June. Similarly, the screening rights of Laxmmi Bomb starring Akshay Kumar have been taken over by Disney+ Hotstar
Final Words: Choked
The film, although not a blockbuster, is a good watch. The story is good, the plot is direct and the actors give a good performance. The movie seems relatable on several levels, and works beyond a typical drama.
The fresh faces have done a good job bringing reality to the screens and justifying the plot as well as their characters.
(Featured Image Credits: Wikipedia)