Banners: RSVP, Roy Kapur Films
Producers: Ronnie Screwvala, Siddharth Roy Kapur
Director: Shonali Bose
Cast: Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Farhan Akhtar, Zaira Wasim, Rohit Suresh Saraf
Writers: Shonali Bose & Nilesh Maniyar, Juhi Chaturvedi & Nilesh Maniyar (Hindi dialogue)
Death. It’s sombre, painful and dark. And in Hindi movies, it is often the premise for high-intensity melodrama. ‘Main marnewala hoon’ when uttered by the protagonist or someone close to him or her is enough to send the entire story into a tizzy of emotions. But when the title of the film is The Sky Is Pink, you are prepared for a rather light take on loss and grief. Not in a dark humour kind of way, but in a ‘tear in the eye and smile on the lips’ kind of way. And Shonali Bose’s film gets you there.
At the very beginning, we meet Niren and Aditi Chaudhary, a couple who has lost their 18-year-old daughter Aisha. The couple is in grief but before you can delve into their sadness, we hear Aisha’s voice. She introduces us to her parents whom she fondly calls Panda and Moose and her older brother Ishaan whom she calls Giraffe.
Aisha is born with SCID – Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, a genetic disorder that does not give her more than a year to live. Niren and Aditi know that to save Aisha they have to take her to London for treatment. Despite financial issues, the couple manages to give Aisha the treatment with help pouring in from family, friends and even strangers. But the couple soon discovers that the treatment won’t last for a few months but years.
Amidst all these struggles what stands out is the love that Niren and Aditi share. Yes, there are trying moments and like Aisha puts it, ‘The death of a child usually results in 80 per cent couples getting divorced or living together as strangers’. How Niren and Aditi deal with the loss and how they manage to stay afloat and together despite the several crises they face is what The Sky Is Pink is all about.
The narrative follows non-linear storytelling. We are taken back and forth in Niren and Aditi’s lives. Having Zaira as the narrator with her wry humour and engaging tone keeps you glued to the proceedings on screen. The film at no point gets overly dramatic or has forced emotions. The writing is well-paced and builds up to an emotional end almost perfectly. Yes, there are times when certain aspects of the screenplay seem a tad stretched, even hindering the story, especially Niren and Aditi’s life before they get married. Their interaction before they tie the knot is funny and adds to the lightness quotient of the film, but talking more about their relationship post-marriage would have helped in understanding their dynamic better and the love story that the film is based on would have come across much more effectively.
The music of the film adds to the story without being an obstacle to the smooth flow. The camera and the art department have also done a good job. Niren’s home in Chandni Chowk, the small London apartment, the farmhouse in Delhi, the changes in the lifestyle of the Chaudharys is captured not just in their emotions but in the locations as well. A special mention must be made about Priyanka and Farhan’s look in the film. As the story progresses both actors undergo changes in their appearance and when you see the film you will realise how it is in sync with the arc of their characters. Be sure to not miss the end credits, because it is every bit special as the movie is.
Coming to performances, Priyanka Chopra Jonas sinks her teeth into Aditi. She is perfect in her emotions, maybe too perfect. There are times when we see the star pop-out, but then she lets the character take over soon enough. She is sassy and sentimental and is a delight to watch on screen. Zaira Wasim as Aisha does a wonderful job, both when she is on screen as well as when it is just her voice communicating with us. She makes Aisha her own. She emotes wonderfully with her voice and brings a smile to your face every time you hear her. She does not make Aisha a sad and sickly girl. Even with the oxygen tube, she rocks it! Rohit Saraf as Ishaan may not have a lot of screen time but he is unforgettable. Two of his scenes really stand out, one when he talks to Aisha over the phone and another is his conversation with his father, Niren, after Aisha passes away. He does a fantastic job. And finally, Farhan Akhtar as Niren is amazing. His transformation from a young man from Chandni Chowk to a corporate guy in London is nuanced. He brings in the right amount of humour and gravitas to the role.
Verdict: Must Watch!