Dibakar Banerjee on 'polarised' reviews of Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar: 'Gatekeepers need to be more nuanced'

Published on May 29, 2021 07:04 AM IST

Dibakar Banerjee in an interview with Hindustan Times spoke about the 'polarised' reviews that his film Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar got after its theatrical release, and why he is okay with 'misplaced' critique than not being critiqued at all.

Parineeti Chopra and Arjun Kapoor in a still from Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar.
Parineeti Chopra and Arjun Kapoor in a still from Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar.

Dibakar Banerjee has addressed the 'polarised' reviews that his film Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar got upon its release, before it was accepted more enthusiastically on streaming. The filmmaker feels that the 'gatekeepers' should be more nuanced in their opinions.

In an interview with Hindustan Times, he said that he would much rather be negatively critiqued than not critiqued at all. Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar, starring Arjun Kapoor and Parineeti Chopra, languished on the shelf for some time before being given a compromised theatrical release earlier this year, amid the coronavirus pandemic. It later debuted on Amazon Prime Video, where it was received more enthusiastically by audiences.

Dibakar said he isn't concerned as much with 'validation' as he is with a sense of gratitude that people are finally watching the film. "I don't know what would have happened if Sandeep Aur Pinky had released theatrically in a non-Covid environment," he said. "That ship has sailed."

He continued, "What happens is that on theatrical, probably the gatekeepers and the opinion makers are not very democratically distributed. If a 100 people saw it, and 10 articles came out -- and they weren't mixed, they were polarised; it was either loved or not loved at all -- and out of the 100 people who watched the film, and 70-85 people are coming out and saying they liked it, that means that the gatekeepers are saying, and what the watchers are saying, have developed a lag. The gatekeepers no longer represent what watchers want to watch."

Dibakar admitted that for theatrical releases, the 'gatekeepers' voice' matters in 'shaping public opinion' about a film, 'unless it has a huge star cast or spectacle promise'. He said, "A gatekeeper reaction has to be a more nuanced reaction, because a gatekeeper has taken on the onus of interpreting for the audience that if they're looking out for something, this might have that." He said that on streaming 'there is perhaps a more democratic evaluation of the film'.

Also read: Dibakar Banerjee recalls being 'at loggerheads' with Parineeti Chopra on Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar

Beyond that, Dibakar said, "I don't think a director has the right to comment on the critique that he is very justly and fairly subjected to because I would rather have the director critiqued wrongly than not have the director critique. It's better that misplaced criticism exists than no criticism."

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