- Movie Name:The Sky Is Pink
- Critics Rating: 4 / 5
- Release Date: Oct 11, 2019
- Director: Shonali Bose
- Genre: Drama
Almost one-and-a-half hours into the movie, Zaira Wasim's Aisha asks her father if dying at 28 would be easier than at 18. Her father, Farhan Akhtar's Niren -- like most people would -- doesn't have anything to say. Dying -- accepting the end of a life -- is never easy. More so, of a loved one.
Making a motion picture on life and death and on this very "un-easi-ness" of accepting a death is a dichotomous proposition. One wrong emotion, one wrongly-placed sentiment or one overly done gesture can lend you in a soup -- of your audience not finding your movie worth continuing to watch for 149 minutes.
But, fortunately for Shonali Bose, The Sky Is Pink hits every note right -- when it comes to emotion. The family that stays together fights together -- and if the family is portrayed by four efficient actors, it's a winner.
The Sky Is Pink is a difficult, rather complex, film to present -- but Bose, along with master-writer Juhi Chaturvedi (who has Piku and October to her credit) and Nilesh Maniyar climb their Everest with utmost ease.
And then there are Kartik Vijay and Nick Cooke who perfectly capture the various contrasts of Delhi and the liveliness of London through their camera.
There is a song sequence in which Priyanka Chopra's Aditi visits the quaint neighbourhood of Delhi, of course along with Niren. The simplicity of old Delhi is so beautifully portrayed in those scenes -- and in the ones when they are married -- that one almost forgets it is a movie featuring A-listers.
The Sky Is Pink because nobody should dictate to you what the colour of "your" sky is. Perspective -- the first hint of Aditi's strong character comes through when she's consoling her son -- Ishaan -- on telephone through this whimsical advice. Aditi takes over from that moment, and what one sees is a strong, yet vulnerable, mother at the helm of things.
Aditi loves, and she loves fiercely. She is over-protective, sometimes to the extent of being bossy; she is possessive and she is a no-nonsense woman. One of the best scenes of the movie is when Aditi is fighting with her husband in a public washroom. That's how real couples fight -- over small things and anywhere they want to.
Priyanka is Aditi. And Aditi is Priyanka. And there are no two ways about it. The desi girl infuses her beauty, her talent -- everything she has -- into Aditi, and makes it so believable and likeable (despite all the tantrums), that I thought of starting an online petition to call her back to India and beg her to do more Hindi movies.
Farhan Akhtar's Niren is often the sheet anchor -- and sometimes, the second fiddle -- to Aditi, but nowhere does the former fall behind Priyanka in terms of acting. Farhan emotes through his eyes -- and brings out the pain of a father who has lost his teenage daughter to the fore with elan.
Yes, men do cry. And how beautiful do they look when they cry!?
My feminist mind wants to congratulate Bose on this very achievement. She made the men cry -- a rare sight even in the current day and age. But you could expect this from a woman who has earlier helmed 'Ammu' and 'Margarita, with a Straw'.
A special mention to the scene in which a sleep-deprived Aditi suffers a psychotic breakdown and attacks her husband -- only goes to show how two gifted actors can uplift a scene that could have gone horribly overboard.
Rohit Saraf's Ishaan perfectly plays the caring brother to Aisha. Saraf was earlier seen in Hichki and Dear Zindagi, and The Sky Is Pink only adds to his repertoire as an actor. This guy is the one to look out for -- charming, nuanced and good looking. Saraf is here to stay.
Adding to the movie's impeccable casting is Zaira Wasim. WHAT. A. PERFORMER!
It is Indian cinema's sheer bad luck that this talent has left movies for her personal reasons.
Zaira Wasim sinks her teeth into the character of Aisha. She is fearless, when it comes to being fearful -- that's how she describes herself in the epilogue of her book 'My Little Epiphanies'.
Aisha is precisely the flesh and blood of the movie, giving Zaira an opportunity to showcase what she can do just with her eyes, or a twitch in her smile. And she does it with an unmistaken ease.
The movie is narrated by Aisha in a quirky voiceover that single-handedly infuses the much-required humour into the screenplay. The one-liners about Aditi and Niren's sex-life and an "oomph-atic" reference to India's political condition shine.
A film that is solely dependent on emotions doesn't require much of a musical score to make it stand out. Yet the two songs, and the one at the end (which is not available anywhere), are melodious and add to the narrative.
The only thing that does not work in the movie's favour is the pace. The screenplay is excruciatingly slow (and takes its own sweet time to foment emotion) -- especially the first half of the movie, rather the first 30 minutes. You have to sit through the initial pace to understand the premise -- and that can make for a painful watch for some.
The film also becomes unidirectional at a point -- so much so that you crave humour, which is there in parts, but a little more wouldn't have hurt. Also, there is an archetypal issue with non-linear storylines (where the narrative swings back-and-forth a couple of times) -- there can be no loose ends. In fact, the threads have to be so tightly interwoven that the emotions don't look misplaced at all.
To that end, Shonali Bose does capture everything that exists between life and death -- and without going overboard. But somehow the overall impact takes a beating with so many to-and-fros.
The Sky is Pink exposes how one, despite knowing death is the ultimate truth, can still be so unprepared for the final destination. In parts, the movie also makes for a collective healing regimen, and as a tutorial to how different individuals exonerate their pain differently -- without romanticising a terminal illness or commenting about how shallow the ones are who are not suffering.
Watch it for its sheer brilliance -- in terms of filmmaking, casting, acting and EMOTIONS. The pace can take care of itself.
India TV verdict: 4 stars