Masculinity is tropical to false aggression, conservative conformity, and defiance to unconventionality in its comparatively nontoxic veil. Toxic masculinity is the aggravation of all the aforementioned, along with an urge for violence against everything that is away from the terminal point of the gender spectrum where masculinity resides. The bittersweet-coconut-man trope has been exploited to the extent that it has become a normalized personality type most men want to acquire as they ascend into adulthood. Dibakar Banerjee’s Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar is a typical cat-and-mouse thriller with efficient utilization of genre tropes, but his thematic agendas undeniably form much of the film’s flesh. As much as he is concerned about the fate of his characters, he wants to overhaul much of the traditional characteristics of Pinky, one of the two principal characters, by challenging him into situations his male privilege shielded him from. Situations that are statistically relevant because they are what women go through every day but have been trivialized by apathetic men.

Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar is evidence of a director’s capabilities. A film is definitely the outcome of a collective effort, but the director helming almost all creative decisions possesses the power to make or break a certain screenplay. Dibakar Banerjee’s forte comes into play and he makes this film a generous offering beyond what you would like to expect.

Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar
While Arjun Kapoor is not the finest actor to perform as Pinky, Pinky turns out to be a character that works wonders for his abilities. The mannerisms that restrict him as an actor become essential requirements for the character, and it starts to appear as if he is rendering an admirable act. And given where it’s due, he actually does. Parineeti’s act, on the other hand, is a little non-uniform. She falls flat while giving a monologue but expresses herself efficiently and cries quite organically to make us feel for her. However, to aid her act, there is a complementary lens focusing on her while deviating from the surroundings such that you experience how she is experiencing a certain environment/situation herself. If you widen the angle in the same sequences, the surroundings will become overt, and you will become aware of them, causing a disconnect from her plight. This tactic stems from Dibakar’s motive to keep the film strictly about Sandeep and Pinky. But this is not to say that supporting characters are disposable. They are written in a very unapologetic way to represent normal people under abnormal circumstances and, henceforth, are devoid of any overly sentimental savior/killer aura.

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Surprisingly, I am most overwhelmed by a sequence that celebrates and mocks a masculine icon. For a few minutes, the film becomes about cinema and its far-reaching effect on the masculine audience. This meta-cinematic sequence is thoroughly enjoyable, but it doesn’t throw you out of the narrative. It takes place within it and plays a pivotal role in establishing the film’s epilogue.

This film is a successful product of Varun Grover’s clever writing and Dibakar’s awareness as a director. Its potency is expected to remain undiluted with time, even if it can’t offer ambiguous interpretations. Everything it offers is explicit, and there is a lack of hidden meanings and closeted metaphors. There is a dearth of cynicism that gets registered by the senses more like a compromise than relief, but Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar does a praiseworthy job of sustaining anxiety throughout its runtime.

Links to Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar (2021): IMDb, Wikipedia

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