Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar had a rather subdued release due to the ongoing pandemic but the film has got a new life ever since its release on Amazon Prime Video. In a conversation with indianexpress.com, director Dibakar Banerjee and actor Parineeti Chopra spoke about the representation of traditional gender roles and how the film cuts through that in a unique way.
Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar challenges gender stereotypes right from the beginning, even as it introduces its lead characters – Sandeep, played by Parineeti Chopra, and Pinky, played by Arjun Kapoor. In a significant scene in the film, a pregnant Sandeep is attacked by a predator (the bank manager) as she finds herself trapped in his cabin. For those who have seen the film, this scene is a big jolt as it changes Sandeep’s trajectory in the story. Talking about the genesis of that scene, co-writer and director Banerjee shared that during his discussions with co-writer Varun Grover, they knew that “at one point, somehow, we want Parivartan Bank to rape Sandy, at a very core structural level.”
Banerjee elaborated, “So from there, probably, came the concept of the bank manager who represents the power (he has) over her, which is the power of money, finance, patriarchy. Sometimes, we write something from deep within our conscience, and those things end up scaring us. So we went there and it was scary.”
Parineeti, who has performed rather brilliantly in this scene, was quick to point out that this scene was possible only because she is a woman and the character of the bank manager was that of a man. “It can only be written because I am the girl and he is the boy,” she shared. At this point in the story, Sandeep has negotiated a deal with the bank manager wherein he will let her hack into the system, in exchange for money. The situation shifts drastically when he attempts to rape her. “If I was a man, or if Arjun was in this scene, the bank manager would never have done it. Or if the bank manager was female, and the character who goes to do the hacking was male, this scene couldn’t have been written. If the bank manager was a girl and I am a girl, they would have had a cup of tea, done the hacking, and moved on,” Parineeti explained the possibilities.
The Saina actor further spoke about the “inherent patriarchy” that’s accepted in our society. “Through Arjun and my characters, and Raghu sir (Raghubir Yadav) and Neena Ma’am’s (Neena Gupta) characters, there is this very inherent, accepted patriarchy in India (that’s shown). This is what a woman does, and this is what a man does, and the roles can never be reversed,” she shared.
“The fact that women in India have to constantly live like this, where it’s accepted that ‘I can’t do something because I am a woman and only a man can do this’ is the reason why I signed this film and I am so proud its come out so well. Sometimes, you make a film and the impact is not what you wanted, but the impact of this film is what we wanted it to be. I am on such a high because I feel like we have done what we set out to do,” she said.
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