Priyanka Chopra’s return to Bollywood is spectacular in Shonali Bose’s drama that confronts vulnerability, recognises pain, but leaves you with a ray of light at the end of the tunnel.
The Sky is Pink, based on the true story of 18-year-old Aisha Chaudhary, who passed away of pulmonary fibrosis, a complication she developed later in life as a side effect of a bone marrow transplant, she underwent as an infant.
This is a film that’s based out of illusion. It’s a happy film about pain and agony, a film that uses pastels to convey the dark shades of sadness. It makes you uncomfortable with the truth in the most comforting way. In hindsight, the film follows what we call the ‘intent v/s impact’ theory. Shonali Bose sets up the universe, where everything means its opposite. Laughter has a pinch of salt to it, and even the pain is felt with a smile.
In a scene, Aisha (Zaira Wasim), calls up her brother Ishaan (Rohit Saraf), weeping on the phone about her fear of dying. He consoles her by saying that she will just have to wait sometime before one of the remaining three come to her. He adds on by saying that even after she dies, she will still have the same family, maybe just the roles will reverse.
The Sky is Pink is told through the voice of Aisha (Zaira Wasim), their teenage daughter who is already dead when the film begins. However, it’s established right at the beginning that death is an inevitable cause and one should learn to embrace it.
This film gratifies a teenager’s life and the selfless nature her parents go through, to not embark on their past, which is remarkably similar, and also in a way, the reason for her to be born in the first place. Zaira pulls off this smug, upfront character who speaks the harsh truth without blinking an eye. However, she is this way because she feels her life has been in the spotlight, which has cost her family enough. Hence through her voice over, she speaks about the two people who left no stone unturned in giving her the best life, till her last breath, with or without a cylinder.
Shonali Bose, with co-writers Nilesh Maniyar and Juhi Chaturvedi, also chose to make the narrative non-linear, which just adds onto the selfless journey that Niren (Farhan Akhtar) and Aditi (Priyanka Chopra) take to shelter their children. The dialogues and the voice over follow a particular pattern to not let any one emotion overflow, by immediately compensating with the opposite. As soon as you feel even a little overwhelmed, the film releases the tension with a frivolous joke.
With ‘Pink’ in the title of the film, the film’s colour palette varies and works in sync with the beats of the film. From gloomy, depressing winters in London and red phone booths, to the vibrant yellow and other pastels in Chattarpur, Delhi, and even a ZNMD moment with the deep-sea diving. These colours also help in forming a protective bubble of pleasant vibes midst the painful thought of losing your dear one.
A story is as good as its characters, while here, the characters have given this story a new life, by being selfish and putting their best performances, while also being selfless in pushing their co actors to do a splendid job.
Priyanka Chopra said in an interview, that the character she plays is inspired quite a bit from her own mother, who, being a doctor, gave up on her practice for Priyanka had ambitions, and she was the reason, Priyanka is where she is. This shade clearly shows in the film. Priyanka’s energy hits all the right notes. She effortlessly shifts between being an over the top parent one minute, to being a selfless mother in pain in another minute. Priyanka presses the right buttons at the right time to play Aditi, the way she does on screen.
Farhan Akhtar as Niren does what he is known for. He plays the father who doesn’t hesitate to be for money for his daughter’s treatment, working day and night to shelter his children and give them everything he once struggled to get. He plays his role with sheer conviction of being the father who fears confrontation, and is more internal and understanding than his counterpart. Zaira Wasim pulls off this confident, smug Aisha, who’s voice overs are enough to love her, when she’s not on screen
Shonali Bose’s The Sky is Pink, a drama about life and death becomes the means of catharsis for the viewers, wherein they may feel that even they have their own sky, and it can be of any colour that they want.