I’ve never cried while watching a film or TV series in my lifetime. Admittedly, there have been a couple of times I’ve gotten quite close. The Sky Is Pink will count as one of those times. As I heard the sniffles and sobs all around me and a lump formed in my own throat, I caved to the realization that despite my issues with this film, it had succeeded in moving and striking a chord in me. We follow along with our protagonists over a decades-spanning journey as they come to terms with every parent’s worst nightmare. While it’s based on a true story, if you happen to have avoided any details, I’d suggest keeping it that way and going in blank for this emotional rollercoaster.
For this film to really work and warrant your complete investment, it requires the cast to bring nothing short of their best. Thankfully, they completely deliver. Priyanka Chopra brings a wide range of emotions to Aditi in an authentic act that never feels like a “performance.”As her character matures and changes over the course of the film, adapting new looks and attitudes, she adjusts herself appropriately to be in sync. Farhan Akhtar as Niren is the more subtle and restrained foil. He often says more with his eyes and expressions than dialog. It takes a while to get used to seeing them both together as a couple. The chemistry isn’t immediately there. But they eventually find their groove and play off each other well.
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Zaira Wasim playing Aisha is the soul of the film. She has a very challenging part to play. She succeeds with a joyful yet tender performance that never goes overboard. Rohit Saraf does a fine job in a supporting role. He nails a scene that to me was among the most memorable in the film.
My two biggest issues with this film were the creative choices to tell the story in a non-linear fashion and the narration. I don’t see how the film is improved by jumping between time periods in this story. If anything, it breaks the momentum at points in the screenplay when tension is developing. Lots of films employ the tool of having a narrator to guide you through a tale. I’m perfectly okay with that. However, The Sky Is Pink makes the mistake of overdoing the narration at points. With a good script brought to life by fine acting, I don’t need a narrative track telling me how to think or feel. It robs the characters of letting them speak for themselves. However, these are minor annoyances in what’s otherwise a polished and well-made film.
The screenplay understands it has a lot of ground to cover and the story’s always progressing at a brisk pace. None of the plot points seem dragged out. In fact, there are a few that I wish the film went into deeper. The dialog is mostly well written. The script offers plenty of opportunities for the characters to interact and develop alongside each other. You truly start to feel like a part of “their family” by the end of it, that’s how intimate and tender some moments are.
One of the most commendable achievements is the balance struck in tone. Despite revolving around quite a downer of a plot, it never succumbs to becoming a dour or depressing watch. There’s plenty of moments of humor and light-heartedness that are created organically. These work towards offering a viewing experience that’ll make you laugh and cry. The production design is well done always offering a solid impression of the environment our characters are in as they move multiple times through the film.
This was a very personal film for director Shonali Bose, who lost her own son a couple of years ago. The care she’s put into her direction and meticulously crafting this tale in a sensitive and yet engaging manner really shows. The Sky Is Pink is a well-acted, heart wrenching and moving viewing experience that’ll stay with you long after you’ve walked out of the theatre.
‘The Sky is Pink’ WAS SCREENED AT THE 2019 TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
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DIRECTORS: Shonali Bose
CAST: Zaira Wasim, Priyanka Chopra, Farhan Akhtar
RUNTIME: 134 MINUTES
LINKS: TIFF, IMDB