The writer of his destiny

Updated: May 24, 2020, 08:17 IST | Aastha Atray Banan | Mumbai

A once-upon-a-time medical aspirant from Ahmedabad got Anurag Kashyap to turn an idea he was struck with on a Mumbai local into a Netflix film

Nihit Bhave convinced Anurag Kashyap to let him work with him on Sacred Games when it looked like the film would take a while to go on floor
Nihit Bhave convinced Anurag Kashyap to let him work with him on Sacred Games when it looked like the film would take a while to go on floor

It was while on a Mumbai local that Nihit Bhave got an idea that would become a film directed by Anurag Kashyap. It was 2013, and he, then a writer at an entertainment newspaper working out of an office in Lower Parel, would travel 45 minutes daily from Bhayander. As writers usually do, he would observe those around him, but was particularly interested in one group. "They are neither rich nor poor, not even middle class. They are the lower rung of the middle class. They don't have the luxuries, or basic necessities.

The frustration of this section gave me the idea," he says in a telephonic interview.

Choked, starring Saiyami Kher and Roshan Mathew, releases on Netflix on June 5. It's the story of a woman, who finds money flowing out of her kitchen sink every night. "She works in a bank, is surrounded by money, but doesn't have much of it. She starts off by questioning the miracle, but then gives ip. She has a jealous, jobless husband who is getting curious about the money, and the more inquisitive he gets, the more secretive she becomes. That's when the marriage just starts falling apart."

Whether the source of the money is supernatural or not, will only be revealed when we watch the movie, says the 31-year-old. "Its also making a comment on why people who belong to that section don't go their separate ways despite painful marriages. The couple is choked in the marriage, but won't leave it," he adds.

In 2013, Bhave didn't know it would take seven years for the movie to find its future, or if it would even get made. He had arrived here from Ahmedabad to be a journalist, disillusioned by his ambition to become a doctor. "Here, I was meeting actors, and writing about the industry; dreams felt more tangible, and real." He soon quit his job and made the time to write Choked, and then started pitching it. Someone asked where they could place an item song; another thought it would be better as a Marathi film.

Choked stars Saiyami Kher and Roshan Mathew
Choked stars Saiyami Kher and Roshan Mathew

It was at a pitching gestural held by FICCI Frames that he got to present his script to Phantom, and received a call for notes on the script by Vikramaditya Motwane. His partner, Kashyap, would direct the film. And that's when the waiting game began. "Anurag had to finish the work he was already busy with. So it went on the back burner. I was left doing odd jobs as I waited for the shoot to begin." On 27 August, 2017, at 5 am, Bhave sent a frustrated text to Kashyap, that said even if the movie wasn't happening right away, could he work with him. "Three days later, I was on the sets of Sacred Games 1. I was the script supervisor, assisting him. I would help decode the Hindi dialogues. But since I was around him, I kept hounding him, and he decided to make my movie next. I was also made a writer on Season 2."

Choked was shot last year over three months, and found its way to Netflix under Kashyap's new production house, Good Bad Films.

From doing data entry jobs for the Shopper's Stop website to having a movie of his own means Bhave is living the Mumbai dream. As he works on his next film, a sci-fi thriller with Kashyap, he also hopes to direct his own short film. "From listing types of lingerie and their prices for that shopping website, here I am. There will be people who will believe in you and want to work with you. You'll have to be patient and have faith."

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