Review: ‘The Sky Is Pink’ Is A Celebration Of Life Whilst Staring Into The Face Of Death

We all have our own patch of sky, paint it the colour we want it to be! So, what would a family in the face of death see life through? A prism of darkness would be the first thought, but not the Chaudhury’s, their sky is a vibrant shade of Pink.

Filmmaker Shonali Bose’s The Sky is Pink is based on the true story of a couple, Aditi and Niren Chaudhury who bravely, stoically face the harsh reality, that their daughter, Aisha, who is diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis as a child, does not have many years to live. Death is inevitable, but the parents leave no stone or opportunity to get their child a few more years to live and make her short life-span worthy and enjoyable, since they have already faced a similar tragedy with their firstborn, who dies in infancy, but have been lucky with their third born, a son. The opening sequence makes it clear, Aisha is an unplanned child, and though the parents are a bit weary not to face another tragedy, know this one is being born for a reason.

The film starts with Aisha Chaudhury’s (Zaira Wasim) voice over, as she humorously announces she is dead and it’s not her story or her courage under fire, rather about her parents Aditi and Niren, played by Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Farhan Akhtar, who she affectionately calls Moose and Panda. The film is a look at the their relationship, they have been married for 25 years, madly in love since they were teens, who face the debilitating illness of their child and move heaven and earth. And as Aisha herself in her narration says, she is the reason of the ‘kaand’ in their life.
Aisha is present in spirit through the narration, not somber or bleak is matter of fact. The focus is not on the deceased child, but the bereaved parents and their single-minded mission to save their child, as their own relationship weathers the storms. Cracks are developed, but the film does not lapse even once into melodrama, there are teary moments, but there are laughs too.

It’s a challenging screenplay, as is usually the norm. Films dealing with a subject like this would narrate the sequence of events as they happened, but The Sky Is Pink takes a detour. It never digresses from the fact that Aisha a gifted child is the catalyst, but it’s a story through her eyes of her parents, what they go through as her mother devotes her self to instill in her daughter the will to live however short her life. Her father, who tries to give her the luxuries. The film is an emotional roller coaster about a life that’s hanging delicately, and a family that is determined not to crumble, as they reconcile to their fate, but celebrate the life of their child in her presence and absence.

The void of her death takes its toll, but Aish’s cherry narrative does not let you mourn. For me, the most touching scene was of the family-pet sprawled on Aisha’s now empty bed, as the mother walks towards her daughter’s room and hugs the dog, the father silently watches from the door, and helplessly walks away. Zaira Wasim as Aisha is a delight, and though she announced her decision to quit films soon after, I sincerely hope she rethinks her decision in time.

Priyanka Chopra Jonas, back on screens after three years, gives a lot to playing Aditi. Yes, she may not have aged, but then there is no reason to assume she needs to look grey and withered. She sheds her inhibitions and plays a mother who is protective, driven and focussed.

Farhan Akhtar is emotive, he moves you when he makes a plea to raise money for his daughter’s treatment on the radio and breaks down when they manage the donation. Priyanka and Farhan are in sync, complementing each other and doing justice to their characters. Shonali Bose’s last, Margherita With A Straw, dealt sensitively with the issue of illness and sexuality, and The Sky Is Pink does a great job in addressing a subject which could have been heavy, by giving it an emotional, yet subtle touch.

Get your handkerchief, but don’t forget the popcorn. It’s a bittersweet journey, a celebration of life and the rainbow of colours.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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