MUMBAI: The Covid-19 pandemic spelled doom for several films across the world as theatres closed in 2020. In India, the Hindi film industry was hit the hardest. Even as Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam film industries bounced back the following year, it took Bollywood a little longer to recover.
In the meantime, several big and small films suffered as audiences were reluctant to return to theatres. Deleayed releases, restrictions, social distancing requirements, and recurring waves of the pandemic tanked several films. Among them was this one dark comedy that ended up becoming Hindi cinema’s biggest disaster.
Dibakar Banerjee’s Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar began production back in 2017. The film, which starred Arjun Kapoor and Parineeti Chopra in the titular roles, was slated to be released in March 2020.
But as the Covid-19 situation worsened in February and March, the makers decided to postpone the release till May. Soon after, several lockdowns and shutting of cinema halls for months pushed the release date further.
Eventually, the film released on March 19, 2021. However, given the restrictions in place and the return of Covid in the second wave later that month, the film found no takers.
Made on a budget of Rs 20 crore, Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar made only Rs 40 lakh net in India and Rs 58 lakh worldwide. This 2% return of investment is one of the worst in Indian cinema history.
Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar did hamper the careers of both its lead actors but they did manage to bounce back. Arjun Kapoor saw a few more setbacks with Kuttey, Ek Villain Returns, and The Lady Killer.
But he is now reportedly playing the antagonist in Rohit Shetty’s Singham Again. Similarly, Parineeti also suffered the box office failures of Saina and Code Name: Tiranga, but is now working with Diljit Dosanjh in Amar Singh Chamkila’s biopic.
Director Dibakar Banerjee, however, has not directed a film since the release of Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar, making it his longest break between two films since he started with Khosla Ka Ghosla in 2006. His next, Love Sex Aur Dhokha 2, will release in 2024.
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Credits - DNA