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Sandeep & Pinky Faraar Is A Lot Better Than You Think

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Sandeep & Pinky Faraar Is A Lot Better Than You Think

Sandeep  Aur Pinky Faraar

Starring Arjun Kapoor, Parineeti Chopra

Director  Dibakar Bannerjee

Rating: ***

After  a  really shaky  prologue—the  film begins with  a bunch of louts in  a moving car  crackling over  sexist jokes about women wearing lipstick,  obviously shot in a studio with clumsy  back projection—Sandeep  Aur Pinky Faraar gathers its wits  midway, to deliver a last 45 minutes which are  most effective, though  not brilliant.

 This is  the problem  with Dibakar Bannerjee’s long-delayed homespun  Bonnie & Clyde. It means well, but it falls  short  of expectations, perhaps its  own expectations more than ours. The writing  by Bannerjee and the redoubtable Varun Grover  is  sinewy muscular  and adventurous. Pitching two warring  co-travellers  in  a journey away  from  trouble is  nothing new. The treatment  of the weatherworn subject is  sometimes surprising, at other times plain exasperating.

After  getting over the  juvenile irony of the hero with a  feminine name Pinky and  the heroine  with a masculine name Sandeep/Sandy  the narrative rapidly stops  getting impressed by its own uniqueness and stops laughing at  its own jokes to deliver  a rousing finale where Arjun Kapoor , in what must be considered a  bold attempt to play against gender stereotyping,  gets into an elaborate  Kathakali-styled  costume  and makeup  to facilitate  his fugitive partner’s getaway.

Of course  Pinky and Sandeep are warring constantly. How  could they not be, when she is a pregnant corporate banker  on the run after her boss/lover turns  against her. In a classic twist   of  the  murderous knife, Pinky who is  supposed to  assassinate  Sandy becomes her  saviour. The  film is  shot  at a scenic little town called Pitthoragarh  on the  Indo-Nepal border where  Sandy and Pinky take refuge in a kindly couple Raghuvir Yadav and Neena  Gupta’s place.Neither of the actors  seems inclined to  flesh out their  sketchy roles. This  is the most treacly aspect of the otherwise  surprisingly clenched  unsentimental  drama.

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 After that  over-the-top al-kohl-ic performance in The Girl  On The Train , Parineeti Chopra delivers a  finely tuned  portrait of  a woman on the verge of  a nervous  breakdown.Pregnant, pennyless, desperate and defeated, she is  unlike any  female hero we’ve seen  in  recent times. The same goes  for Arjun who portrays the unselfconscious metro-sexual man with a quiet conviction. He is  specially effective in  the  closing  scenes where  his feelings for Sandy bubble to the surface.Also watch out for Sukant  Goel as an ostensible docile  bank manager. He is  a revelation.

 Admirably  Kapoor and  Chopra are never  shown to be cuddling closer to one  another. In one  sequence Kapoor is shown cleaning Chopra’s  blood after a violent miscarriage. It’s a brilliant  moment of gender  introspection done with a quiet  sense of regret and loss. Sadly such moments  show up in the erratic film and then  vanish  into bylanes  as zigzagged as  the town where the  implosive saga unfolds.Sandeep & Pinky Faraar  is  nonetheless worth a watch. It should have been released  on the digital  platform  where  it has the potential  of being a  cult hit.

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