The pain of losing one’s child in the prime of life is undoubtedly devastating for the parents. Director Shonali Bose, having gone through the heartbreaking experience herself of losing her son, musters up the courage and displays much sensitivity as she looks at how a couple cope when their daughter is diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder that has already taken away the couple’s first born. The Sky Is Pink, Bose’s third film, is a sentimental tearjerker that shows much maturity and grace in its cinematic treatment.
Based on a real life story, The Sky Is Pink explores about 25 years of married life of a Delhi-based couple, Aditi and Niren Chaudhary (Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Farhan Akhtar). When Aditi finds that she is pregnant for the third time, the couple wonder if they should go ahead with the pregnancy or not. They had already lost their first born, a girl, to Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID), a rare genetic disorder. They have since had a normal son, Ishaan (Rohit Saraf), and live a humble life in Delhi’s Chandni Chowk area. They decide to go ahead with the pregnancy and Aditi gives birth to a daughter, Aisha. Tragically, Aisha is also diagnosed with SCID. The film looks at how Aditi and Niren move heaven and earth to keep Aisha (Zaira Wasim) not just alive but happy as well till she succumbs to pulmonary fibrosis at the age of nineteen. To do all they can for Aisha, the couple shift to London where Niren struggles to generate funds for the expensive treatment even as Aditi dedicates her life to looking after Aisha.
The film is narrated by Aisha after her death and goes back and forth in time as Aisha, with much wit, spunk and casual nonchalance, provides us with a detailed look into the life of her parents – whom she calls Panda (Niren) and Moose (Aditi) – from a little before her birth to after her passing away. It is a device that director Shonali Bose uses rather effectively and one that brings much lightness to some of the film’s heavier moments. And while there are sequences in the film that are emotionally compelling and are handled with great subtlety and sensitivity – the standouts being where Aisha is confronted with her mortal finality and of course, her death sequence – there are also large parts that are not only drab but also unnecessary. The sequences about how Aditi, a South Delhi girl, was introduced to the Chandini Chowk family of Niren, their subsequent marriage and first night are simply irrelevant to the plot and make the film lengthy and sluggish. This mars an otherwise emotional gripping journey of a family grappling with a tragedy over which they have no control but which they gamely try to prevent.
As far as performances go, Zaira Wasim as Aisha and Rohit Saraf as Ishaan are natural and full of life and spunk that we associate with the new age kids of today. Farhan Akhtar for his part tries hard to be the ‘unsentimental’ man but struggles at most places as neither his restraint nor his outbursts look convincing. But overall, The Sky Is Pink belongs to its lead actress and producer Priyanka Chopra Jonas, as Aditi, the mother on a mission to save her daughter. She lives the part of a mother trying to latch onto every ray of hope no matter how dim it may be. Often, her reactions to the situation she faces make our eyes moist. Not only us but also Aisha wants to live for her ‘Moose’.
The production design with its period recreations is fine while the background score of the movie is competent. Juhi Chaturvedi and Nilesh Maniyar’s dialogues are light, sharp, witty and moving, keeping in mind the overall flavour of the film. Kartik Vijay and Nick Cooke’s cinematography is warm and beautifully enhances the mood of the scenes while keeping the spaces intimate. Surprisingly though, the music by Pritam and lyrics by Gulzar are bland to say the least.
All in all, director Shonali Bose maintains her streak of making good, sensitive films. However, had she got rid of some of the unnecessary flab, The Sky Is Pink could have been an even more effective film. Still, it’s well worth a watch.
Hindi, Drama, Color