‘Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar’: A runaway film
‘Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar’ is perched on an interesting intersection of class, culture, educational, economic, gender and urban-rural divides, representing the many faces of extremes in India
Some interesting, unexpected stuff brews in Dibakar Banerjee’s Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar. The hero is called Pinky (Arjun Kapoor) and the heroine is named Sandeep (Parineeti Chopra). He is a young, burly but dissipating suspended cop; she is a svelte and dainty banker with not just intelligence and education but stature and status to boot. He can dance and cook and has a heart that beats. She displays little by way of emotion but has a brain that ticks away to engineer shady schemes.
Pinky is given the job to kidnap Sandeep by his handler and senior Tyagi (Jaideep Ahlawat), on the instructions of Sandeep’s boss who she has had a fallout with. So, Sandeep and Pinky end up on a ride together from Delhi to Pithoragarh and onwards to Nepal with the consequences of some shadowy happenings giving them a chase. A reimagination of Bunty and Babli but protagonists here are running in the opposite direction—from the big city to the small town than vice versa.
Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar is perched on an interesting intersection of class, culture, educational, economic, gender and urban-rural divides. Representing the many faces of extremes in India, so to speak. It also unravels how the decisions of corporate honchos and power brokers in the Capital could have unfortunate trickle-down effect on innocent, unknown lives in some border town. The contemporary resonance couldn’t have been louder, focused as the film is on a financial scam and bankrupt bank, shady schemes, manipulated figures and accounts. Words like parivartan (change/transformation) and swabhimaan (self-respect and pride) then sound pompous and ironical than meaningful reminding one of several other such hollow phrases that are doled out to us in reality.
But having set up an interesting premise, Banerjee is not able to dive deep enough to take the action forward compellingly. The film feels detached, inert and clinical with a hurriedly put together finale. The intrinsic ambiguities and enigmas, if explored well, would have made the film distinctive. However, the urgency of an easy closure makes the narrative clumsy and the familiar crime and redemption arc is disappointing and predictable.
Of the two characters in focus, much about Sandeep remains needlessly impenetrable and mechanical, while Pinky feels inexplicably human, even in the worst of situations. Banerjee continues to display an eye for the minor characters who, despite the limited length of the roles, feel more vibrant than the leads—like the elderly couple in the hills, Neena Gupta and Raghubir Yadav. Be it the brokers of Gurgaon in Khosla Ka Ghosla or of Pithoragarh, Banerjee gets the small-time hustlers spot on—the hotel owner, for instance, and other sundry business he is doing on the side. But despite their likeable presence, Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar remains a runaway film that eventually careens into an artistic and imaginative void.