Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar: Parineeti Chopra and Dibakar Banerjee dissect the ‘bank manager scene’

Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar had a rather moderate release due to the ongoing pandemic, but the film has been given a new lease of life 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 them in a unique way.

Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar challenges gender stereotypes from the start, even as it introduces its lead characters – Sandeep, played by Parineeti Chopra, and Pinky, played by Arjun Kapoor. In a key scene in the film, a pregnant Sandeep is attacked by a predator (the bank manager) while trapped in his cabin. For those who have seen the film, this scene comes as a big shock because it changes Sandeep’s trajectory in the story. Speaking of the genesis of that scene, co-writer and director Banerjee shared that during his conversations with co-writer Varun Grover, they knew that “at some point, somehow, we want Parivartan Bank to rape Sandy , at a very structural core level.”

Banerjee explained, “So from there probably came the concept of the bank manager representing the power (he has) over her, which is the power of money, finance, patriarchy. Sometimes we write something deep from our conscience, and those things make scared us. So we went there and it was scary.”

Parineeti, who has performed quite brilliantly in this scene, was quick to point out that this scene was only possible because she is a woman and the bank manager’s character was that of a man. “It can only be written because I am the girl and he is the boy,” she said. At this point in the story, Sandeep has struck a deal with the bank manager in which he will let her hack into the system in exchange for money. The situation changes drastically when he tries 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 a woman, and the character who’s going to do the hacking was a man, this scene couldn’t have been written. If the bank manager was a girl and I was a girl, they would have had a cup of tea, hacked and moved on,” Parineeti explained the options.

The Saina actor went on to talk about the “inherent patriarchy” that is 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 (which has been demonstrated). This is what a woman does, and this is what a man does, and the roles can never be reversed,” she said.

“The fact that women in India have to constantly live this way, where it is accepted that ‘I can’t do something because I’m a woman and only a man can’, is why I drew this film and I’m so proud that it fits so well. Sometimes you make a movie and the impact isn’t what you wanted, but the impact of this film is what we wanted it to be. I’m so high because I feel like we did what we wanted to do,” she said.

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