Film: The Sky is Pink
Cast: Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Farhan Akhtar, Zaira Wasim, Rohit Suresh Saraf, Lushen Dubey, Rajshree Deshpande,
Director: Shonali Bose
Rating: * * *
Shonali Bose’s third feature after the critically applauded Amu and Margarita with a Straw, follows the trajectory of a true life - this one, based on the life and times of Chaudhary family, Niren(Farhan), Aditi(Priyanka) who grappled with agonizing losses through their marriage, yet endured together despite the unending turmoil in their lives. The film spans 25 years of their lives and is told through a voice over from their ailing daughter Aisha (Zaira Wasim) who eventually succumbs to chemotherapy induced complications after successfully surviving Pulmonary fibrosis/SCID for 18 years of her young life. The couple have an older son Ishaan (Rohit Saraf) and have lost a daughter Tanya to SCID, a few years after birth. So it’s doubly challenging for them when news of an unplanned pregnancy and possible complications, hits them in the face.
Bose’s narrative takes us back and forth in time with smooth intercuts of bitter-sweet, sometimes humorous, enduring love, care, romance and anguish. It’s a sentimental journey that begins from the womb, delving into individual perceptions about terminal illness, pro-life decision making and the sacrifices a family makes to keep their offspring hale and hearty against all odds. The love story between Aditi and Niren may seem a little unreal given their differences in opinion, the distance (both physical and emotional) that separates them from time to time and the seemingly impregnable hardships they endure to get their daughter out of the woods, so-to-speak. Bose, though, is quite unabashed about the nostalgic feel-good sensibility she wishes to impart through this unique telling of a tragedy.
The efficient writing makes the 143 minute runtime totally involving, while the performances, music and cinematography enliven the rather morose subject that deals with death, grief and after. The film could have been a copious weepy but Shonali Bose’s deft helming keeps the melodrama at bay while infusing sentiment, colour and humour in generous measure. This isn’t a dark depiction in any form – instead, Bose infuses the narrative with enough light-hearted, playful, poignant moments that keep the bleakness of death and loss in balance. Bose also makes reminiscence (even if it is ghostly) a vitalizing tool for her story-telling. The characters are drawn with immense respect for individuality. The actors – be it Farhan, Priyanka, Zaira or Rohit, highlight their effectiveness with innate understanding about the characters they play and lend them a sense of purpose that is survivalist in nature. The tone of the film rests entirely on the teenage sassy, spunky and dead Aisha’s ‘spirited’ viewpoint “Get over it.” She says “ It`s quite cool actually. You`ll see when you get here.” And the fact is, Shonali Bose makes you experience it. This is a life and love affirming journey and Shonali Bose and her team must be congratulated for making it so.