‘The Sky Is Pink’ Is Heartwarming, but Succumbs to Star Power
After its premiere about a month back at the Toronto International Film Festival, The Sky is Pink is set for a worldwide release on 11 October, 2019.
The film is based on the real-life story of Aditi (Priyanka Chopra) and Niren Chaudhary (Farhan Akhtar) and their daughter Aisha (Zaira Wasim), who was diagnosed with a serious immune deficiency that eventually dictated the course of her life and her entire family. Director Shonali Bose, who made the brilliant film about a girl with cerebral palsy, Margarita with a Straw, here focuses on the love story of Aisha’s parents and how their marriage and lives get affected while tending to their daughter.
The Sky is Pink begins with Aisha’s voiceover, declaring that she is, in fact, dead. The wry humour and wit in her narration draws us in immediately. Referring to her death she says, “Get over it. It’s quite cool actually.” Aisha then goes on to discuss her parents’ sex life with us - Panda and Moose as she prefers to call them - hinting cheekily that she might have something to do with the fact that there isn’t much to talk about. The non-linear narrative frequently skips and jumps, telling us how Aisha is born, then focusing on the inter-caste marriage of Aditi and Niren.
It’s revealed that the duo also lost their first-born daughter to SCID (Severe Combined Immune Deficiency). Their second child, Ishaan, escapes the genetic disorder that Aisha is unfortunately diagnosed with. It’s a tragic situation for a family to deal with the impending death of a loved one. It’s painful for the viewers too, who already know about Aisha’s life trajectory. It’s not so much the denouement but the events leading up to it that keep us invested in the story.
Shonali Bose and Nilesh Maniyar’s screenplay has many moments that are truly moving sans melodrama but there are crucial points in the film which seem manipulative and contrived, giving this real-life story a starry feel.
Priyanka Chopra plays Aisha’s mother with utmost honesty. She succeeds in portraying Aditi’s dedication to keep her daughter healthy, but her perfectly done hair and make-up are distracting. Farhan Akhtar is measured, especially in a scene where his voice falters as he makes an appeal for help through a radio show in London. However, both Chopra Jonas and Akhtar haven’t aged a strand over the course of the film, which details at least two-and-a-half decades of their lives. Some overwrought scenes dampen the impact and makes us wonder if it’s because the film put stars above the story.
Some would argue that people have different ways of coping with grief or pain, and Aditi’s perfect outer self is just her defense mechanism to somehow hold herself from succumbing to the grief. But sadly it never comes across like that on screen and feels more like a story that lets “star power” rule . Priyanka Chopra is good but looks every bit the star that she legitimately is. Zaira Wasim as the guileless and charming Aisha, who doesn’t lost her sense of humour even while facing death, is excellent. As is Rohit Saraf, who has limited screen time as her elder brother but makes the most of it. Their scenes together, especially the one where Aisha calls Ishaan up to confide in him about being scared, have been beautifully crafted.
Ultimately The Sky is Pink is heartfelt with some enriching and powerful performances, but also flawed in its uneven narration.
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