They say that making someone laugh is not an easy task. But I personally feel that making people cry is more difficult. Because until and unless you feel the pain or have empathy for the character, you will never shed a tear for them, no matter what.
Shonali Bose’s ‘The Sky Is Pink’ is not just a great film, it’s a therapy we all should turn to in order to purge ourselves of all the repressed emotions. The film is based on the life of motivational speaker Aisha Chaudhary, who suffered from a terminal illness (pulmonary fibrosis). Aisha died in 2015 when she was just 18. ‘Dangal’ actress Zaira Wasim is playing Aisha in ‘The Sky is Pink’. While Farhan and Priyanka are playing her parents.
Now, many of my friends feel that there’s enough sadness in one’s life. So instead of finding an escape from this broken life, why one should go and watch a tragic film like ‘The Sky Is Pink’? Ultimately the film is going to make you cry? So what’s the point in watching it?
Well, first and the foremost thing is that, watching ‘The Sky Is Pink‘ is not a sobfest and anyone who has watched it can vouch for this. In fact, this Priyanka Chopra and Farhan Akhtar starrer is those rare kinds of films which successfully portrays a range of emotions in the screentime of just 2 hours. Yes, the film does deals with death but apart from that, there’s so much more to it.
‘The Sky Is Pink’ is basically a love story, yes you read that right. The film shows how death should be dealt with. Death is the ultimate truth of life, we all are going to die one day… but when? That we don’t know and perhaps that’s why we take it for granted. Now imagine the kind of pain and trauma one goes through while suffering from a terminal illness? You know you can die at any moment. That means you die every waking second of your life!
But in the film, Zaira as Aisha teaches you the true value of life. Aisha knows she has very few days to live, so instead of sulking over the fact, she chooses to be happy. Yes, in her own words happiness is an attitude. It’s a choice that we all can make.
In one of her TED Talks video (available on YouTube), Aisha is heard saying, “If I have to have pulmonary fibrosis…I chose to have happy pulmonary fibrosis.” What she meant was that instead of cribbing and sulking about how God has been unfair to her, she will be thankful for whatever time she got to spend with her near and dear ones.
And that itself is such a lovely and wonderful thought. We all can implement the same attitude in our respective lives.
There is so much to learn from this young girl and even after her death she is spreading happiness, which I personally experienced after watching the film. Yes, I did cry while watching the film, but then it helped me experience catharsis. And please don’t underestimate the power of catharsis. I read somewhere that cinema has the power of touching feelings in us that we don’t normally have access to. And that is so true. Crying while watching a film helps you to purge. Its a kind of a therapy that helps you to give a channel to your repressed emotions and that is so important. In fact, crying is actually good for health. Scientifically, crying helps in releasing toxins which thereby decreases stress. It also releases endorphins and oxytocin which makes one feel happier and makes us more empathetic towards others.
This Sonali Bose directorial also very beautifully portrays the intricacies of familial love. To be honest, the film is a cinematic version of actor Michael Fox’s famous quote –“Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.”
Shonali, who has herself lost a son, at no point takes the film’s graph to the level where you feel “This happens only in films”. Her treatment of the subject matter is so real and nuanced that you really feel the protagonist’s pain and feel like jumping into her world and help her in whatever way you could. But Alas.. that we can’t do. So the least we can do is watch the film which is an ode to Aisha’s spirit and her parents’ unconditional love for each other.
Movies like these are a gem and by watching such films in theatres we can help in restoring the faith of the filmmakers like Shonali in the fact that the viewers are open to all kinds of unconventional storytelling and sensitive subjects. And that we as an audience are mature enough to handle all kinds of films rather than just watching mindless comedies and escapist flicks.
Thank you, Shonali for introducing me to Aisha and her world. Also, a special thanks to the Chaudhary family for sharing their heartwrenching and awe-inspiring story with the world.