Film: Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar
Director: Dibakar Banerjee
Cast: Parineeti Chopra, Arjun Kapoor, Neena Gupta, Raghubir Yadav, Jaideep Ahlawat
Coming from Dibakar Bannerjee’s stable, Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar (SAPF) is no regular formula chase story. It’s different, just like Khosla Ka Ghosla or Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! Whether this measures up to them would be an unfair comparison. Right as the titles roll, one knows it’s going to be a strange ride; just that it’s too slow to match up. Like it or not, when the film opens, whatever that has to happen has already transpired. We oscillate between the present and the past, and the film ends on what could be!
The story of a Haryanavi ‘suspended’ cop Pinky (Arjun Kapoor), out on a ‘task’, ends up with banker Sandeep Kaur (Parineeti Chopra); together they beat death and must run to safety. But they are no Bunty aur Babli, mind you, out having fun; there is a sombre tone and a grave theme. SAPF is as much the story of Pinky and Sandy as much as the bickering old couple – Bijli wale babu and his wife (played by Ragubir Yadav and Neena Gupta). Class divide, ruthless corporates beguiling innocent investors and office romance gone wrong are the other themes that play along.
The cast impresses – Parineeti plays a cold banker on the run, trying to undo the wrongs of the Ponzi scheme she was part of. Pretty far from her earlier bubbly outings, hers is a sincere effort to portray guilt and loss. Arjun sure has grown in act, or probably we can safely credit both these performances to consummate director Dibakar. Neena Gupta-Raghubir Yadav makes an endearing old couple.
It’s the dialogues that strike a chord, though our protagonists barely speak. Music is on point. While the only song, Faraar, takes the story forward (and thank God for that), full marks for the background score. Right from the noisy trains crossing to the eerie quiet of the corporate boardroom dealing with crisis, the shift enhances the contrasts. The village Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand, right on the India-Nepal border comes alive – traditional costumes; innocent, sincere characters inhibiting the singing hills – courtesy cinematographer Anil Mehta. Anu Malik and Salman Khan (despite not being there) register a strong presence.
On the downside, nothing much happens. The story unfolds painfully slowly. In one significant scene, as Kapoor dons a woman’s avatar, one almost fears it might be reduced to a farce, but the young actor carries the act with confidence. This one is one-time watch just for some powerful performances!