Movie Reviews

The Sky Is Pink…We Hear You, Shonali Bose

The Sky Is  Pink

Starring Farhan  Akhtar, Priyanka  Chopra,  Zaira Wasim, Rohit Suresh Saraf

Directed  by Shonali Bose

Rating: *****(5 stars)

 In a moment of anguished  amusement a concerned family friend during dinner tells  the  bereaved  couple  who have lost their 18-year daughter how much she feels  for them.

After  all,  she  has  lost her  72-year old mother-in-law too.

I didn’t know whether  to be  angered or amused  by this moment, as  the  lady  meant  well.But then we all mean well even when we are  inattentive to  others’ distress.

 In The  Sky Is Pink there are innumerable  moments when the gravity  of  the  situation is  punctuated  by bouts  of  dry humour.  It’s as though director Shonali Bose(who has  gone through the  unimaginable  grief  of losing a  child)  wants  us to not go away without hope, to not feel the burden  of  the couple’s grief as they battle death to save their  child , and fail. This is  no spoiler. We  all know  the  film is a  fascsimile of a true-life  story.

And yet this conscious  effort to keep the  going bouncy and bright in spite of  the looming presence  of death,  could have gone horribly wrong.It could  have   ended  up   like Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker who  just can’t get the laughs  that his tragic life cries out for.

 The war-cry to stay  positive is implemented  with  exceeding delicacy  in The Pink Is  Sky.We never  feel the  burden of  their  grief  as   Aditi and Niren,played with an unostentatious  vivacity by Priyanka  Chopra and  Farhan Akhtar,  repel  the family’s  collective anguish with loads  of  joyous  laughter.There  are loads  of  family holidays  in exotic places.And London is a  living character  in the plot.

And   yet the  dilemma  of  mortality is  never  trivialized, glamorized  or underplayed. We  feel the presence of death  underlining every moment  in this celebration of  life. Shonali Bose’s  narrative sparkles  with  a joie de  vivre. There is an  unstoppable gusto woven into the  story’s  somber spirit, like  a shot  of  rum in   coke. Bracing and clarity-inducing.

A  great deal of  the  credit for the  effective display  of  the  family’s  unbridled  determination to colour the  blue  sky pink, goes to the principal  actors(the supporting cast could have been better). While Farhan and Priyanka, specially the latter, are powerful in their expressions of parental anguish, I have to confess that at times they look unconvincing  as parents of two grown-up  children.

 To their credit the couple never lets us feel the actors’ inexperience with the  tragedy  on-hand. Zaira Wasim as  the  dying daughter(passably good) is also the  film’s narrator speaking to us  from death in a manner that’s  never ghoulish, always  engaging.

The  flashbacks showing the  couple’s past courtship and  sexual indiscretions are  a bit of a  distraction we  could  have done without.When Farhan and  Priyanka  play they hormonally charged-up  lovers  they look like  people who could do with a room  that has a nice view into  the outside world. In one over-long sequence Farhan sneaks  Priyanka her head concealed in a helmet  into his  parents’ home. What starts  off  as a mildly amusing lovers’ flirty flight becomes  a lengthy nuisance.

 In one sequence the dying girl’s brother(Rohit Suresh Saraf, some strong emotional moments come from this  newcomer)  consoles his sister on the phone by telling her she  can be  re-born as one of the  other  family members, or else  they will join her soon anyway.

Such  moments,  prone to be interpreted as insensitive  create an opposite impact . The director  knows  bereavement  closely. She  alchemizes grief  into something much more strong and durable. This film is  so close to life ,  so laugh-like , if I may,  that  I  felt the  grief  of  the Chaudhary  family as though I  was part  of it.

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