EXCLUSIVE: Anurag Kashyap on Netflix's Choked, struggle to keep politics out of films, OTT vs theatre

In an exclusive chat with Pinkvilla, Anurag Kashyap opened up on his struggle to keep his politics aside while directing Choked, he also opened up on Choked and the entire OTT vs theatre release of films debate. Read.
EXCLUSIVE Anurag Kashyap on Netflix's Choked, struggle to keep politics out of films, OTT vs theatreEXCLUSIVE: Anurag Kashyap on Netflix's Choked, struggle to keep politics out of films, OTT vs theatre
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Anurag Kashyap is undoubtedly one filmmaker who has always been pushing the envelope when it comes to showing content on celluloid. Be it Gangs of Wasseypur, Udta Punjab, Sacred Games, and now Netflix original film Choked. The movie stars Roshan Matthew and Saiyami Kher in lead roles and is a film highlighting the dent a marriage faces in a middle-class setup and the politics of the region with demonetisation as the subtext. It took the filmmaker almost five years from the writing stage to finally finding the right cast and wrapping it for release. 

Revealing that the script (written by Nihit Bhave) came to him in 2015 wherein, "we essentially wanted to make it around this woman who works in a bank and a marriage facing dent due to financal crisis. One day the woman finds money-- 'magically'. We were working on it for long as I felt something was amiss and then demonetisation happened. By then, we had already worked on like 3-4 drafts for the film, and we realised that this will be the perfect background to it. Essentially the story is about a middle-class family and their struggle with money with demonetisation building up the story but that is not the prime focus."

He also revealed that he found it extremely difficult to keep his politics out of the film but he has always been objective. "I struggled to keep my politics out of the script. It was a struggle, no doubt. I would keep telling myself you cannot mix the two. This is a story of Sushant and Sarita and not Anurag. But, I always try to keep my personal politics out of my films and stick to reality. I try to be objective. We don't want to preach through our films," he asserted. 

In the end, we see that it takes a crisis and a little communication for the marriage to find its way back again. Anurag explained, "I had learned to openly discuss things very young when I opened up on abuse. So that has always been a thing with me and my relationships. In India, we have this tendency to keep things hidden in society. But then we realise that opening up is all it takes sometimes to mend things which happen in the last scene. When you realise everyone is actually hiding something and going through the same thing. You are not alone."

Also Read: Choked Movie Review: Anurag Kashyap's attempt to unclog life after demonetisation is hard hitting but it drags

Coming to the entire OTT vs theatre debate, Anurag said that while both the parties are justified, the biases are clearly seen. He has been a filmmaker who has found it difficult to find screens for his movies. "There is a different pressure on every film. Exhibitors and filmmakers are both correct in their ways. Those who can hold their films, they are. Films like Sooryavanshi, 83' are holding on. There are others who can't are figure a way out. The thing is that it is somewhat wrong because once all the films get piled up and things don't get better, they will have to release, right? And the importance will be given to the big films. It is not as easy as it looks on the surface. I have been a filmmaker whose films hardly got screens in theatres."

He continued, "Mukkabaaz did not get screens in UP despite being a film based in UP. I have faced all these hurdles throughout my journey, and I have found my audience actually on digital platforms. So, I feel their pain is one-sided. The reaction that came for Gulabo Sitabo did not come for Bumfaad. It is a biased reaction. I don't want to give importance. We have the same pressure as a Salman Khan film has but we don't get enough screens or shows but the pressure is the same."

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