Drama Family

Her Little Epiphanies: A TIFF Review of ‘The Sky is Pink’

September 20, 2019Ben MK

Aisha Chaudhary was only 18 years old when she died of pulmonary fibrosis in 2015. But in her short life, she managed to accomplish more than many of us could hope to achieve in a lifetime. An author and motivational speaker, Aisha touched the hearts of all who came to know her or her family — one of whom was filmmaker Shonali Bose, who brings Aisha's story to the big screen.

In The Sky is Pink, Bose casts two of Bollywood's most popular actors, Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Farhan Akhtar, as Aisha's parents, Aditi and Niren Chaudhary, Narrated in voiceover by the late Aisha (played by Zaira Wasim), the film initially follows the trials and tribulations of Aditi and Niren (a mixed-caste, interfaith couple whom Aisha affectionately refers to as "Moose" and "Panda"), as they fall in love, get married, and start a family in Delhi. Once their daughter enters the picture, however, the focus of the movie shifts towards her. Born with a rare autoimmune disorder known as SCID (Severe Combined Immuno-Deficiency), Aisha's prognosis for survival is grim unless she receives the proper medical attention. As a result, Aditi and Niren move her and her older brother Ishaan (Rohit Saraf) to London, England, where Aisha undergoes a much-needed bone marrow transplant and chemotherapy. The treatment is a success, but still Aisha's health outlook continues to teeter on the precipice, leaving the young girl with little choice but to try and live each day to its fullest.

With such somber subject matter to draw from, the result could have easily wound up too preachy for its own good. However, that would not be what the real-life Aisha would have wanted. Instead, The Sky is Pink resonates not only as a celebration of Aisha's life and the love between her and her family, but as a celebration of love and life in general — a humorous, heartwarming and tear-jerking tribute to a generous spirit blessed with wisdom far beyond her years.

The Sky is Pink makes its world premiere at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival. Its runtime is 2 hrs. 22 min.

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