Choked: Paisa Bolta Hai

Movie review by
Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media
Choked: Paisa Bolta Hai Movie Poster Image
Confusing Indian drama has language and violence.
  • NR
  • 2020
  • 104 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

An idle mind is the devil's workshop. Money speaks the loudest.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Sarita is responsible and hardworking, but she has allowed old wounds to poison her attitude toward her husband.

Violence

A shady character tries to pressure someone to commit crimes. He stalks a woman. Someone threatens to turn him over to the police. Another shoves him. A bank is robbed by armed criminals. Two friends shove each other over money.

Sex
Language

Infrequent use of "f--k," "s--t," "ass," "damn," and "bastard."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink beer.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Choked: Paisa Bolta Hai is an Indian film with English subtitles that tries to show the effect of political and economic policy on the lives of an Indian couple struggling to make ends meet. A bank teller married to an unemployed musician finds a cache of money that complicates their relationship. Language includes "f--k," "s--t," "ass," "damn," and "bastard." A shady character tries to pressure someone to commit crimes. He stalks a woman. A bank is robbed by armed criminals. The plot hangs on an understanding of "demonetization," which may be confusing to teens unfamiliar with the concept.

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What's the story?

As with many couples, money is the big problem for Sarita (Saiyami Kher) and Sushant (Roshan Mathew) in CHOKED: PAISA BOLTA HAI. Sushant is an aspiring composer and guitarist, but last time he accompanied singer Sarita at a competition, she saw the crowd and choked, putting an end to Sushant's dream. Since then, he's been out of work, driving occasionally for Uber and contributing little to expenses, housework, or childcare, increasing tensions between the two. When Sarita discovers that their plumbing is backed up because huge sums of wrapped-up currency were hidden in the drains, Sarita starts paying bills. She even pays off one of Sushant's gambling debt, lying to him about where she got the money. When the government, in an attempt to defund terrorists, suddenly "demonetizes," another of Sushant's shady lenders starts stalking Sarita. He tries to pressure her into exchanging large amounts of his old bills illegally at her bank and splitting the profit with her. How can Sarita untangle herself from this mess?

Is it any good?

This movie feels long and confusing and filled with seeming irrelevancies to the main story. Although Saiyami Kher is convincing as the annoyed wife who can't trust her husband, we never understand why Sushant doesn't get a job or help around the house. The backstory of Sarita's inability to sing before a crowd has little relevance to the more important story about the found money. Half the time we have no idea what Sarita's plan is -- legal or illegal -- so we don't know if we should root for her. And the origins of the money are unexplained through much of the movie, leaving the audience confused and, with no information to go on, a bit bored.

Residents of the apartment building lock and unlock doors secretly and walk in and out of apartments, yet we rarely know where we are or why. We don't learn until the end of Choked: Paisa Bolta Hai that Sarita's parents are rich and Sushant's aren't. At that point in the action, how does that information even move the plot along? There are better foreign films for teens to enjoy out there.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the role money plays in our lives. How much money do you think people need to be happy? Do you think additional money after that number makes you happier? Why or why not?

  • What's the movie's attitude toward politicians? How can you tell?

  • The plot of Choked: Paisa Bolta Hai hangs on our understanding of "demonetization." Do you think changing what money looks like can help defund terrorist and other illegal activities? Does the movie explain all this sufficiently?

Movie details

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