To portray the devastating death of a kid on screen is no easy task. It takes a mere scene for it to look cringy, while the heartwarming depiction does require a series of sequences for a build-up which finally hits the audience emotionally in the final scene. The able director Shonali Bose has done the latter, and how well an execution it does turn out to be. Treading the path between loud and subtle, her latest venture ‘The Sky is Pink’ tells us the story of the ‘Chaudhary’ family that stands tall while the youngest of them, Aisha (Zaira Wasim), faces the uninvited reality that death is.
In the end credits, Shonali Bose has been described as someone who wears her heart on her sleeve. The same is vividly evident in her writing, for the movie gives enough moments to test one’s emotional quotient – almost forcing you to cry while the actors express the grief through their eyes while putting a smile on their face. Also, the movie does have a clear anecdotal and sensitive touch of Shonali which is merely not about her effort in direction or writing. It comes from experiencing the loss of her son who died at a young age. But here, it’s not entirely about the death of the child. ‘The Sky is Pink’ rather focuses on the journey of life, spanning through decades, of the star couple Aditi – Niren, played by the forever cool people Priyanka and Farhan.
Being the ‘cool’ comes naturally to these actors. This is where the star-crossed case of casting does its magic. Their bond never looks plastic, for they both vaguely play somewhat themselves only, sharing their naturally charming camaraderie. Priyanka Chopra as Aditi is the boss lady of the house. She is the dominant and loud guardian with that everlasting confidence ceasing to leave her. Every emotion in every scene – she expresses it to perfection. The expected magnificent screen presence of hers is only an add on. Also because she’s the Priyanka, she ceases to age with the character. When she wakes up midnight in the opening scene being the broken mother, a different hairstyle is all the job done to show her old age, because you know who’s the Desi Girl! Perfectly complementing her dominance is Farhan Akhtar, who chooses to underplay his part Niren, thus being the ice to her fire. So, when the perpetual blame is put on him by her wife for not caring much for the kids, it’s easily believable. Amidst the couple’s journey, a melodious song by Arijit-Gulzar-Pritam depicting their teen love ensures a welcome treat for ears.
Zaira Wasim as Aisha is the voice of ‘The Sky is Pink’, the sun of the Chaudhary family, that unintentionally isn’t able to reflect much light upon her loved ones. Born with a ‘Severe combined immunodeficiency’ (SCID) disorder and later diagnosed with ‘pulmonary fibrosis’, Aisha gets the family doing all the hard work to her dismay. Though her part’s fate is revealed in the opening of the movie, Zaira’s narration is religiously kept all lively to convey the loud merry vibes even while the movie subtly emanates melancholy. Though how much the same is sugarcoated, even usage of drums and trumpets for background music couldn’t overpower the visual of her death scene for me. Zaira’s act as the courageous and another crazy member of the family is first-rate and praiseworthy, upscaling the sympathy one does feel for her.
Subtly supporting the movie and the family is Rohit Saraf in his act playing the all-healthy elder kid Ishaan. For the entire attention was naturally seized by Aisha, he eventually grows up as much lesser crazy a kid of his parents and more of a nurturer of his sibling. Holding back his emotions most of the time, he finally bursts out in tears alone at a station in London, far away from the family in Delhi. This got me crying along with him. Rohit’s effective acting is the icing on the cake, thus completing the talented cast playing the resilient family.
In a runtime of 135 minutes, ‘Thy Sky is Pink’ though explores the romance of the couple, the theme of ticking off a list of adventures before you die, plugs lots of intended superficialness to lessen the impact of death mourning, and manages a loud quirky narration with some comic moments about enjoying your life before death. Still, the big-picture idea that the movie and Aisha’s life are about to end ceased to leave me. Being a huge feeler that I am, perhaps this thought for me couldn’t be suppressed by the joy on celluloid that the proceedings celebrate – until balanced by what is called ‘The End’.
P.S.: Special shoutout to the scene where the different Christmas Carols are used to express the current emotions of the family. The ‘conventee’ in me sang along with them, feeling happy to understand the emotions conveyed, and sad too – for the thought lying deep was melancholic.
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