‘The Sky is Pink’: Priyanka Chopra disappoints, Zaira Wasim shines

Farhan Akhtar and Priyanka Chopra Jonas star in the film. (AFP)
Updated 13 October 2019

‘The Sky is Pink’: Priyanka Chopra disappoints, Zaira Wasim shines

CHENNAI: Director Shonali Bose may well be termed the “mistress of misery.” Her characters, invariably women, have been suffering souls.

Whether it be in “Amu,” set in the aftermath of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, or “Margarita with a Straw” and its story of a teenager with cerebral palsy, Bose’s protagonists have been largely unhappy.

Her latest feature, “The Sky is Pink” — unnecessarily long at 159 minutes — is based on the real-life tale of a girl who dies at an early age from complications arising out of an immune-deficiency illness. Aisha (Zaira Wasim) tells us not only her own sad story, but also that of her parents, Aditi (Priyanka Chopra Jonas) and Niren (Farhan Akhtar).




Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Farhan Akhtar attended "The Sky Is Pink" premiere during the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival. (AFP)

When Aditi falls pregnant, she has already lost a child to the disease, but religious compulsion pushes her to go ahead. Predictably, the baby girl, Aisha, develops the same problem. The parents, who live in New Delhi, rush her to London. Since they cannot afford the treatment, which involves a bone-marrow transplant, Niren broadcasts a plea from a radio station that raises a large amount of money.

But years later, the bubbly Aisha falls seriously ill, and the effect of her decline on her brother, Ishan (Rohit Saraf), and her parents makes up rest of the plot.

“The Sky is Pink” essentially explores the way marriages fall apart after a child gets sick. But Bose weaves into this storyline several distracting features, including Ishan’s budding love affair, which is rocked every time there is crisis in Aisha's life.

Bose’s film could be compared to Mehdi M. Barsaoui’s debut, “A Son.” Set in Tunisia in 2011 after the “Jasmine Revolution,” it also deals with a couple’s turmoil after their son is shot and wounded by a sniper. Barsaoui intelligently scripts how the couple crack under the pressure and their relationship begins to totter. There is not a single scene that is at odds with the plot.

In contrast, “The Sky is Pink” digresses into marital jealousy and a string of dramatically charged moments, diluting the core theme.

Akhtar, who is an excellent actor, seems out of sorts in this setting, while Chopra Jonas fails to convey a mother’s emotional pain and seems far too dolled up to adequately portray a character in torment. In fact, the only high point is the fine acting by Wasim. 


‘Love on the Spectrum’ is heartfelt, authentic and real

Updated 15 August 2020

‘Love on the Spectrum’ is heartfelt, authentic and real

DHAHRAN: Right on the heels of “Indian Matchmaking,” Netflix acquired streaming rights to Australian dating show “Love on the Spectrum” for a global audience. While these releases offer minority groups visibility and representation in mainstream media (the Indian diaspora and adults on the autism spectrum, respectively) the latter takes a nuanced and thoughtful approach to matchmaking.

“Love on the Spectrum” is also a refreshing departure from the Netflix brand of glamorous, hypersexual reality TV as endorsed by “Too Hot to Handle” and “Love is Blind,” both of which were released earlier this year.

First released on the Australian Broadcast Corp. last fall, the unscripted show follows seven singles on the autism spectrum as they look for love and companionship, and two autistic couples as they make momentous relationship decisions.

“Love on the Spectrum” is also a refreshing departure from the Netflix brand of glamorous, hypersexual reality TV. Supplied

Unobtrusive and done respectfully, the show offers insight into their lives and vulnerabilities — what autism on the spectrum looks like for each individual, the challenges they face in social situations, and why they seek companionship. Alongside heart-warming interviews with participants and their families, the episodes feature first dates, mixer events and sessions with autism or relationship experts.

The highlight of the show remains raw human emotions and the participants’ endearing personalities that shine through. One cannot help but laugh out loud at 25-year-old Michael’s one-liners that double as sage advice.

The highlight of the show remains raw human emotions and the participants’ endearing personalities. Supplied

But while these “quirks” seem loveable and endearing to a neuro-typical audience, autistic audiences have voiced that in their quest to make a show interesting, these snippets romanticize high-functioning autism and disregard Level 3 autism (the most severe). They have also voiced a desire to see an autistic and non-autistic pairing.

At the outset, a show that follows autistic young adults in the dating world may not seem like something one can relate to. But as the five-part docuseries unravels, one can agree that the universal experience of navigating the dating world and finding love is difficult — autistic or not. With awkward first dates and heartbreak, “Love on the Spectrum” is heartfelt, authentic and real, and therein lies the appeal of the show.