'The Sky Is Pink' Review: A badly executed but well-intentioned film

By Murtaza Ali Khan

Shonali Bose’s The Sky Is Pink marks Priyanka Chopra’s return to Bollywood after a hiatus of 3 years. The film, which reunites Chopra with Farhan Akhtar four years after Dil Dhadakne Do, is Bose’s follow up to her 2015 critically acclaimed film Margarita with a Straw starring Kalki Koechlin in the role of a rebellious girl with cerebral palsy. The Sky Is Pink tells the story of a girl named Aisha Chaudhary (played by Zaira Wasim) diagnosed with Pulmonary fibrosis—a rare medical condition affecting her lungs. The film, produced under the banner of RSVP Movies, Roy Kapur Films and Purple Pebble Pictures, had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival last month. The screenplay is co-written by Nilesh Maniyar and Bose herself.

The Sky Is Pink is a well-intentioned film that highlights the struggle of Aisha’s parents across two decades and continents while battling with her condition. It is essentially a story of their patience, perseverance and courage to keep her alive at all costs and against all odds. What’s truly commendable is that the film is inspired by true events. At the end of the film we are presented with the actual footage documenting the life and struggle of the real Aisha Chaudhary as well as her parents.

However, despite the potent subject matter, the film only works in parts and therein lies the problem. The biggest culprit is the film’s uneven pacing which is a result of a loose screenplay and bland editing. Clocking over 140 minutes, the film is at least 40 minutes too long. Had the story been told more economically, the end result could have been far better. But, in its present form, it is not just slow-paced and convoluted but it also seems to lack a sense of time and space which becomes even more essential to a story like this that’s told in a nonlinear fashion. For example, a character that dies in 2015 ends up quoting a line from a 2017 Bollywood film.

Also, the casting leaves a lot to be desired. Priyanka Chopra and Farhan Akhtar despite their best efforts fall short of what their roles demand from them. One gets a sense that the actors are trying a little too hard. In fact, the best performance in the film comes from young Zaira Wasim who never seems to miss a note.

The Sky Is Pink adds to the long list of movies that look brilliant on paper but fall short when it comes to the cinematic execution. Perhaps, Shonali Bose would have been better off making a documentary on Aisha Chaudhary, especially given the kind of material she had access to.

Rating: 5.5/10

A version of this review was first published in The Sunday Guardian

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