Dibakar Banerjee had a stellar directorial debut with Khosla Ka Ghosla . He followed this up with worthy films like Oye Lucky Lucky Oye , LOVE SEX AUR DHOKHA , shanghai , and Detective Byomkesh Bakshi . He also did a short venture in anthology films like Bombay Talkies , tales of lust  and ghost stories TITLI in addition to paying fast fare . These films helped her build a fan following of her own and now her long-awaited film, Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar, finally released in theaters today. So is Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar as exciting as Dibakar Banerjee’s previous films? Or does this film prove to be the exception? Let’s analyze.
Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar is the story of a woman whose life is in danger. Sandy Walia aka Sandeep (Parineeti Chopra) works in a very senior position for Parivartan Bank. He has an affair with his boss, Prachitra (Dunker) and helps the bank get lots of investments by running a Ponzi scheme. Sandeep gets pregnant with Pariksha’s child and refuses to abort. She also blackmails Parichay about the Ponzi scheme. The introduction decided to eliminate him. He hires a corrupt police officer, Tyagi (Jaideep Ahlawat), for this job. Tyagi gets a suspended cop, Satinder Dahiya aka Pinky (Arjun Kapoor) on board. The plan is that Pinky will come to pick up Sandeep and take him to Parichay’s house. On the way, he will be murdered by the police. However, Pinky doubts Tyagi’s intentions. So, when he is on the way, he deliberately gives Tyagi the number of the car in front. From afar, Sandeep and Pinky see Tyagi’s men mistaking Sandeep and Pinky to eliminate the people in the car ahead. Sandeep and Pinky then run away and become speechless. Sandeep requests Pinky to take her safely to Nepal in exchange for Rs. 10 lakhs. All of Sandeep’s cards are blocked but she assures that she will find a way to give him the promised amount. Pinky then takes Sandeep to Pithoragarh in Uttarakhand. It is situated on the border of India and Nepal. Pinky then starts looking for a way to cross the border. Meanwhile, Sandeep meets an old couple (Neena Gupta and Raghubir Yadav) in Pithoragarh. Sandeep tells the woman that she is pregnant and needs a good place to live. She lies that the hotel she is staying in Pithoragarh is dirty. The couple takes pity on them and allows them to stay in their house. What happens next becomes the rest of the film.
The story of Dibakar Banerjee and Varun Grover has great potential and could have turned into an intense thriller. Dibakar Banerjee and Varun Grover’s screenplay, however, is dry and dull. A lot is happening in the film but its script is bad. The writers seem to have deliberately made the proceedings boring. Dibakar Banerjee and Varun Grover’s dialogues are fine and some of them laugh.
Dibakar Banerjee’s direction is not good. The filmmaker has made some great films in the past and knows his craft. But here he is not seen in form. His talent streak shines only in a few scenes like the long drawn opening sequence, beautifully shot in one take, or the one where Sandeep breaks down in the first half. But he falters in most parts of the film. The first half is bearable and fireworks are expected in the second half. However, the second half is flawed and unnecessarily stretched. Fails to understand what is happening in many places. It also happens because the sound mix is terrible. Many dialogues are not heard. It is shocking why reputed producers would release a film with a bad voice.
Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar begins on an exciting note. The opening scene is shot in one take and is around 4-5 minutes long and the way it ends is spectacular. The entry of Sandeep and Pinky in the story is also interesting. The scene where Sandeep breaks down in front of the old lady, the scene where Sandeep and Pinky convince the old couple to stay in their house are lovely. After this point, the film goes downhill. The track of corrupt bankers is not really involved. In the second half, the only scene that attracts attention is when the bank manager Sumit (Sukant Goyal) attacks Sandeep. The climax is a letdown.
Parineeti Chopra is in good form. This is in stark contrast to the roles she is known for, but she manages to put on a solid performance. Arjun Kapoor delivers a restrained performance and strikes a chord with the character he is essaying. Jaideep Ahlawat is comfortable in a supporting role. Neena Gupta and Raghubir Yadav are lovely. Dinker is part friendly. Sukant Goyal did a great job. Suruchi Aulakh (Poorva; journalist), Archana Patel (Sejal; who replaces Sandy in the bank), Rahul Kumar (Munna) and Dev Chauhan (Nyal; who owns Pathik International) are decent. The film stars Sharon Prabhakar for a second.
The songs are mostly relegated to the background. ‘Faraar’ leaves an impression. ‘iPhone’ Nobody gets noticed. ‘Come to Mother Earth’ and ‘Maa Ka Bulaava Aayega’ The film is neatly woven. Dibakar Banerjee’s background score is minimal and good.
Anil Mehta’s cinematography is lovely and he captures the locations of Pithoragarh very well. Rohit Chaturvedi’s costume is non-glamorous and it works for the film. Aparna Sood and Garima Mathur’s production design is straight out of life. Bakul Baljit Matiani’s editing is not great. The second half should have been tighter.
Overall, the first half of Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar is bearable but goes downhill in the second hour. Will face a very tough time to find audience at the box office.