Sandeep aur Pinky Faraar - a Thriller and a Scathing Takedown
The mistrust and scorn India’s different classes have for each other
Dibakar Banerjee’s latest offering Sandeep aur Pinky Faraar brings the filmmaker back to his favourite milieu of Delhi and North India. As always, he squeezes the juiciest nuances out from this setting, and as always the film goes to hitherto unexplored territories.
It tells the story of Sandy (Sandeep) Walia, a successful woman on the run from her boss, played by Parineeti Chopra, and the suspended cop jovially nicknamed Pinky by his peers, Satinder Dahiya played by Arjun Kapoor.
While on the surface a cat and mouse chase between these two contrasting characters and their captors, underneath the thrill is a scathing takedown of the mistrust and scorn that India’s different classes have for each other.
Sandy is a wealthy corporate honcho, a product of corporate India’s success story. And Pinky is a lower level cop, a true blue Jatt from the heartlands of Haryana. Despite being forced into a situation where their safety and survival depend on each other, the two find it impossible to trust and respect each other. Do they finally manage to do that? Do the two Indias finally come together? That’s what this film is really about.
Parineeti Chopra, after way too long, gets to show off her histrionic skills with a script and director that back her. Her Sandy is a far cry from the typical ‘successful Indian woman’ we see in countless Bollywood films these days. She doesn’t have a soft heart underneath the tough outer layering, and her toughness is not a cover or excuse. She is both conniving and empathetic, real and flawed.
But the real surprise package of the film is Arjun Kapoor’s Pinky. Perhaps the greatest cinematic achievement of this film is proving that Arjun Kapoor can actually act. He not only holds his own in scene after scene with actors such as Raghubir Yadav, Neena Gupta and Jaideep Ahlawat, but more than once ends up being the true scene stealer of the film.
Watch out for the sequence where he loses his inhibitions and starts dancing his heart out at a barely known acquaintance’s wedding. He will make you not only root for an India you don’t know, but understand and empathise with them too.
Though originally planned for a theatrical release, the film seems tailor made for the OTT generation. It is a slow burn narrative, with twists and turns and nuances better suited to audiences like India’s Netflix generation.
Though it is not his best film, Banerjee manages to pack enough chutzpah and understated social commentary in the guise of a heist film to make Sandeep aur Pinky Faraar one of the unmissable treats on Amazon Prime right now. Drop whatever you were doing and give this film a chance. You’ll be glad you did.