The 2020 lockdown led to a lot films heading to OTT platforms since theatres remained shut for several months. They began reopening in October, but audience occupancy is far from ideal, which makes film releases a riskier business than before. However, Dibakar Banerjee, whose directorial Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar is heading to the theatres this week after a long wait, was never tempted to take the OTT route.
The film with Arjun Kapoor and Parineeti Chopra in the lead had wrapped up in 2018.The delay in release got an extension due to the pandemic in 2020. Though disappointed, the director was sure he wanted a theatrical opening. “The delay in release was disappointing, yes, but we were always decisive on the fact that it will have a theatrical release,” he says.
Dibakar’s last theatrical release was Detective Byomkesh Bakshy in 2015. He has been part of two anthologies for Netflix – Lust Stories and Ghost Stories. The director says his process doesn’t change with the medium, whether it’s the theatre or a streaming platform. “Nothing changes for me. I have to make a film and be relevant. That remains the same,” he says.
The black comedy follows the story of a man and woman from two completely different backgrounds. Pinkesh “Pinky” Dahiya (Arjun Kapoor) is a Haryanavi Police Officer while Sandeep Kaur (Parineeti Chopra) is from the corporate world. The film has been shot majorly in North India.
Explaining how he helped the actors get into the skin of their characters, Dibakar says, “With Parineeti it was a series of long conversations about who Sandy is. And with Arjun it was a long process of preparation for the role because he had to physically change himself. He had to get a new dialect, he had to know the world that he was about to portray.”
“So we had to take him to Delhi and sort of orient himself with and do workshops with a lot of police officers from Delhi and Haryana. He researched about the way they talk, they dress, where they put their guns, how their eyes move when they look at people, how they are trained to suss out people. So Arjun went through a lot of those trainings and workshops,” he adds.
Pinky and Sandeep might seem quirky names for a man and a woman, respectively, but Dibakar insists they are not unconventional at all. “A lot of women in Punjab are called Sandeep, and a lot of men in North India are nicknamed Pinky.”