Film: The Sky Is Pink

Director: Shonali Bose

Cast: Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Farhan Akhtar, Zaira Wasim, Rohit Saraf

 

The Sky Is Pink is a genuine attempt to pay tribute to the memory of a lost one and the life she lived. Narrated in retrospect by Aisha Chaudhary, played by Zaira Wasim, the story of the film is about the life and death of Aisha lived through a couple and parents, played by Farhan Akhtar and Priyanka Chopra, Panda and Moose respectively.

The chemistry of the pair is natural and is a delight to watch. But, the emphasis is more on Priyanka playing the mother. Farhan has his role etched out as husband and father well and is a one-in-a-million doting partner.

The Sky Is Pink does not waste time or screen space, especially in the first half to establish its setting and the answer to ‘why the film’.

However, the pace of the film does get a bit slow and stretched as the film comes close for the interval despite the makers trying to uplift it in the second half.

The opening sequence of The Sky Is Pink established the tone of the film, which ensues throughout. The music and colour palette all complement the scene they are designed for.

In an instant shift to London, the palette shifts to grey-scale and closed spaces of the flat that Priyanka and Farhan live in, exhumes of suffocation, of claustrophia of an enclosed life-space that literally and metaphorically revolves around their 6- month-old daughter.

A shift to Delhi into a large farmhouse, a change of space, letting all characters explore the freedom of their lives—if only momentarily—is a breather in the film. All happy songs play out in that context, as does the mood of the film which lightens in parts.

While Farhan is all out there from the very beginning in the father zone, it takes Priyanka time to settle in. Initially, her parts feel scripted, but as the film rolls on, the doubt fades away. A long-distance telephone call to her son (Rohit Saraf) in Delhi establishes her warrior mother figure, and the reason why she is addressed to as ‘Shera-wali-mata’.

Farhan Akhtar’s performance deserves a special mention. He plays the role of both father and husband responsibly and at designed moments, steals the show. There are those glances that compliment the tone of the film and the context, and not just in regard to the moment when he breaks down on hearing that funds have been collected for his daughter’s transplant, but also in being there for his wife. There is a certain depth to his performance that shone from a lack of performance pressure that was otherwise, one felt, different for Priyanka.

Priyanka’s character, on the other hand, centres on her daughter. Her entire life revolves around playing mother-doctor-friend to her daughter and sometimes, son. Despite the air around her being promoted as the tigress of the family, her performance is calm and understated. In that regard, Priyanka tried to underplay her vulnerability as a mother by undertaking the performance of ‘Never Back Down’ Mother India of sorts. The mother card of then and now is the same, difference being that there is a tinge of grey matter, and scope of bringing to light, even if marginally, the humane nature of a woman outside the fabric of motherhood.

While makers tried to ease the effect of the inherent heaviness of the text, the melancholia exists. Never in a single frame of the film do the parents or the audiences are made to forget that Aisha will eventually die. That sense of common suffering is shared by those who are watching the film and the ones participating in it.

The Sky Is Pink rolls out at its own pace, and for a film trying to span 25 years of someone’s life, that’s a big task. The physicality of the actors does not change much, but the portrayal of the state of mind of individuals in such circumstances as shown by both Priyanka and Farhan is commendable.

There are moments in the first half when one actively waits for the fortune tide to sweep over the sadness of the lives on-screen, but that big hopeful moment never arrives. Life, as real as we know it, rolls out at its own whims and fancies as part and parcel of the realities of the characters.

The post-interval film opens with a bucket-list agenda and does uplift the mood for a bit only to dive headlong into dealing with what happens after most narratives close with death. The lingering sense of trauma, struggle to start afresh at an age when it seems not-worth the cause or wait, and the strength to live life again are all explored through small instances and brief moments intended and undertaken to not just make Aisha believe that there is more to life than just destiny, but to make the parents believe in hope and life.

Music of the Shonali Bose’s directorial is uplifting in times of need. The romantic tracks in Arijit Singh’s voice and the sad background score around Aisha complement the mood of the film. But, the weight of music is bogged down by the drama of life-death that holds the film.

Dialogues of the film are contemporary and suit the setting, as does the design. Apart from a few phrases here and there, like, “Chandni Chowk ke bache rote nahi hai” etc. , all suited the narrative of the film.

Zaira, as daughter to the pair, plays her parts well as does her sibling Rohit Saraf.

Inspired from true-life events, as the credits flash in the beginning of the film and the end credits with real footage of Aisha Chaudhary and her parents give a different air to the film. The Sky Is Pink does justice to their story, as honestly as it can despite being bogged down by audience expectations per se. To judge a piece of life recreated as truly as possible by the makers, makes it a little difficult to situate the film.

What would the film be called and remembered for? For its truthful portrayal of the honesty and uncertainty of human experience, or for some special cinematic value that the film brought into their indomitable spirit story by bringing it to the world? Apart from the outreach, what else does cinema do to a life’s recorded diary? Does the reality of their story constrict the potential of the film of this kind, or its ‘truthful’ portrayal justifies it, are some of the answers one could explore if you walked out of the theatre unaffected.

Rating : 3