RATING 7/10 CHOKED
Choked centers around an issue that affected millions and millions of Indians: the 2016 demonetization policy. This movie stars Saiyami Kher as Sarita, a scrappy matriarch from Mumbai, who is the chief breadwinner of her family and supports her husband Sushant (Roshan Matthew), an unemployed carom addict. Sarita and Sushant can be any middle class Indian family, complete with their fair share of squabbles, greed, jealousy and personal vulnerability. Sarita scrapes for every penny until their drainage is choked (hence the title) with 500 rupee notes. The money becomes her secret lifeline until November, when Modi delivers his shocking announcement. Sushant supports it, believing in ‘ache din’ while Sarita’s world starts falling apart. Everything is suddenly plunged into chaos. This film doesn’t take digs on anyone, but rather showcases exactly what havoc was wreaked on people’s lives due to hasty implementation. Kher is absolutely fabulous in her role. Everything from her attitude to her little forays into Marathi and determination screams Sarita. Matthews is also convincing in his role and their relationship dynamics are great. Every fight feels insanely realistic and nuanced and you find yourself rooting for them. The cinematography is also great and our favorite shot was when Sarita was sitting and counting her money, which captured all the chaos and sadness. Where this film fell flat is the end. The buildup to demonitization was great but after… not so much. The end is a bit clumsy but the statement this film makes kind of makes up for it. More than anything, it’s a story about people. A story about social corruption, sadness, relationships, hopes and dreams more than a satire or a political commentary. This is a great watch, but only if you ignore the end.