Tissues: check; Emotions: not in check.
‘The Sky Is Pink’, a stirring and sincere tale of a loved-up couple grappling with a daughter born with a serious illness, evokes a string of contradictory sentiments.
It presses all those buttons — that of joy, sadness and finality — without any of those grand manipulative gestures that are usually employed in tear-jerkers dealing with a terminally ill teen.
‘The Sky is Pink’ one of those rare films that’s sobering yet upbeat. Its material is grim, but its treatment isn’t.
Enacted wonderfully by Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Farhan Akhtar, Zaira Wasim and Rohit Saraf, director Shonali Bose paints a portrait of a modern, progressive family that takes life and its challenges head on. This talented quartet, who form the Chaudharys, are collectively fierce in their roles and breathe life into this film that’s never bogged down by its tragic undertones. We know how it ends, yet you are invested in them for most parts of the film. The beauty of this film is that they don’t seem like they are trying too hard to make us like them.
Chopra Jonas plays the winsome Aditi Chaudhary, a mother to precocious teens Aisha (Wasim) and Ishaan (Saraf), who will move mountains to help her ill daughter survive.
Akhtar plays Niren, her sensitive and stoic husband with aplomb. Their chemistry as a couple and as a family unit is heartbreakingly real. You find yourself rooting for the Chaudharys — based on a real-life account — from the word go. The scenes between Aditi and Niren, who don’t have the resources to treat their second newborn in London when she’s diagnosed with a rare genetic immune disorder, tugs at your heart. They are genuinely charming as a couple.
Their conflicts and their relentless fight against fate also feels organic.
Chopra Jonas excels in the role that requires her to be vulnerable and vicious in her fight to save her daughter.
The scene in which she breaks down when her daughter’s condition deteriorates irrevocably is heartbreakingly real. Akhtar shines in his role and injects tremendous warmth and grace. Watch out for the scene where he holds his son Ishaan’s hands, weeps and fights to gain closure. For a change, it’s heartening to see a male hero in the deeply patriarchal Bollywood show signs of weakness and vulnerability. He cries, he shouts and gets occasionally frustrated, but that makes him all the more relatable.
Wasim and Saraf have this innate chemistry as siblings, too. Your heart goes out to Ishaan (Saraf is in his element here), who’s often overshadowed by his parent’s overprotectiveness towards his sick sister. It’s natural that he isn’t given as much attention as his younger sister, but his well-rounded attitude towards his skewed reality is spot on. None of these subtexts are spelt out, but that’s what makes ‘The Sky is Pink’ beautifully nuanced.
Wasim, who has announced her retirement from films, has done well in her swan song. While her character’s tendency to obsess over her parent’s sex life or lack thereof is disturbing, she communicates a solid grit and gumption.
But be warned, it’s a long feature. Clocking in at more than 140 minutes, it feels bloated at certain places. Don’t give up on the movie though. ‘The Sky is Pink’ is a keeper.
Don’t miss it
Film: ‘The Sky is Pink’
Director: Shonali Bose
Cast: Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Zaira Wasim, Farhan Akhtar and Rohit Saraf
Stars: 3.5 out of 5