SHOMA A.CHATTERJI | 26 OCTOBER, 2019
The Sky Is Pink - Too Syrupy Sweet!
Entire span of human emotions
“The sky can be any colour you want it to be,” says Aditi to her little son Ishaan when he says he was punished in class because he painted his sky pink. The film takes off on this small sentence and shoulders the responsibility of turning a sad story from real life into a feature film. The “pink” is turned into a metaphor in a film that begins with, is centred on and ends with death – that too, of a very young girl who is bubbling over with life and infecting everyone around her who are alive but not exactly “kicking” - with her energy and her enthusiasm.
The story is narrated through a voice-over by the dead girl Aisha who tinges her narration with a lot of tongue-in-cheek describing in great detail, how her parents she calls Moose (Priyanka Chopra) and Panda (Farhaan Akhtar) held themselves together when they were told that Aisha was born with the same genetic challenge that snatched away her older sister soon after she was born. But Aditi, the mother, aborts her husband’s entreaties to abort the third pregnancy and Aisha is born.
The entire film is focussed on the traumatic situation the married couple is constantly being challenged with, that even leads to a severe nervous breakdown in the mother who has spent her entire life focussed on Aisha. She surfs the net and keeps learning of the new advances medicine has made in the ailment that is pushing her child to sure and painful death. She buys her a pup much to her pleasant surprise. She even tries to “fix” her with a boy Aisha likes from school.
But the plan misfires when the boy says that he likes her like a good friend! Aisha, apparently appears cheerful and plucky and tries constantly to keep her worried parents in good cheer but faces the pain of going away and breaks down once in the presence of her elder brother Ishaan. One very strong statement the film makes is in the characterisation of Ishaan who readily accepts his marginalisation by his parents and backs them up in giving priority to his ailing sister.
In a manner of speaking, Sonali Bose who has lost a child in the not-so-distant past also uses the film as a ‘venting off’ of her personal grief which however, spills overtime into the film and makes it a soppy, sentimental and sweet love story of a family that tries to sustain a “happily ever after” mood knowing fully well that the end will be ragic. But the very idea of making a film on a different true story with her own inputs instead of wallowing in self-pity and grief is an excellent example of moral courage in the face of severe mental stress and agony.
This is a performance-centric film invested totally on the entire span of human emotions but sadly, over the 25 years that we grow with Aditi and Nitin, they defy signs of ageing except a few strands of grey in Nitin’s hair towards the end. Priyanka as Aditi gives the character 101% of her concentration and commitment but at times, she is a bit too much in the face and dominates the screen space much more than necessary which makes the film much longer than it should have been.
Farhaan as Nitin is good also but at times, appears uncomfortable and his sudden rise into affluence and wealth that enables the family to move from Chandni Chowk to London seems to be a bit too much of a filmy compromise. When the family shifts to London the second time round as Nikhil gets a promotional transfer from there, one can find them practically rolling in wealth unaffected by the enormous expenses incurred on Aisha’s treatment and frequent hospitalisation.
Zara Wasim as Aisha is just what she has been briefed to be – young, bubbly, cheerful and fun-loving, rarely going into depression except in the last stages of her life. The best performance comes from Rohit Suresh Saraf who plays Ishaan in a multi-layered performance that balances the mindset of an aggrieved older brother pushed to the edge as he has to helplessly watch his kid sister dying and a brother who offers solid support as brother and friend and family.
There is a lot of riff-raff such as the pre-marriage romance of the parents, meaningless comparisons thrown in by an insensitive family friend, the huge party scene and so on. The real family members including the real girl when she delivers her touching TED speech are shown after the film ends.
The music is okay along with the lyrics but not great, never mind Gulzar-ji at the helm. The cinematography is quite in keeping with the title of the film, bright and colourful and glittering juxtaposed against the pall of death that hangs over the family within the film and the film itself. The editing effectively cuts through time and spaces with jet-paced speed without affecting the story-telling in any way.
At the end of it all, The Sky is Pink is so syrupy and sweet that it may trigger diabetes in some of us. But Sonali Bose deserves a deep bow all the same for the courage she draws from her personal tragedy to make a film like this.
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