“So let’s aim to the moon, walk in the darkness together, and catch the glittering stars along the way,” said Aisha Chaudhary, a 17-year-old in her book, My Little Epiphanies. Aisha is the young girl whose story inspired Priyanka Chopra’s soon-to-be-released film, The Sky Is Pink. But what makes Aisha’s journey so commendable?
Born with a potentially fatal disease, SCID (Severe Combined Immuno-Deficiency), which made her immune system incapable of fighting even the common cold, Aisha underwent her first bone marrow transplant when she was just six months old. But that was just the beginning of her fight for wellness because with bone marrow transplants comes a risk of pulmonary fibrosis, which causes scarring in the lung tissues, making breathing difficult. When she turned 13, Aisha was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis in January 2010.
“I was really short, couldn’t run as much as I had wanted to. I used to leave school early and feel isolated at times. I kept myself busy with my family and used to spend a lot of time with my brother Ishaan,” said Aisha about her brother, Ishaan Chaudhary, who will be played by Dear Zindagii actor, Rohit Saraf. Aisha often spoke about her journey as she travelled through India, giving TED and INK talks to corporates, motivating them to see the bright side of things.
“Death is the ultimate truth, but I want to be happy and I choose to have a happy pulmonary fibrosis.” She said when asked about her illness.
In the movie, Priyanka Chopra will play the role of Aisha’s mother, Aditi Chaudhary, a mental healthcare worker who has dedicated her life to upholding her daughter’s legacy. "Her lung capacity was only 35% and as a result, she had trouble walking and navigating staircases. She would tire very easily. She was often not asked out by friends as she was getting slower and needed help with carrying heavy things. I think the more she suffered and the more she felt unaccepted by her peers, the more determined she became,” she once told a website. "Aisha was using portable oxygen from the age of 15 and although she looks very well in both her talks, she was in fact very sick and the doctors had warned us that if she gets any upper respiratory tract infection, she may not survive. We never focused on the fear and took her all over the country for her talks and she travelled all over the world," her mother said.
The role of Aisha’s father, Niren Chaudhary, the CEO of Panera Bread will be played by Farhan Akhtar. Her father has spoken about Aisha on various occasions, as he considers her the guiding light in everything he does, “Find the highest mountains to climb. Despite her disability she wanted to enjoy life — something I tell myself each time I am overwhelmed. She also taught me the power of dreaming and aiming for the moon,” he told a leading newspaper. “Aisha created a gift of compassion in me. And I learned from her that if you cannot change your own life, change someone else’s,” Niren recalled.
The role of Aisha will be portrayed by 18-year-old Zaira Wasim of Secret Superstar fame. Several scenes of the film are said to be inspired by Aisha’s book, My Little Epiphanies, a 5000 words collection of thoughts and doodles she penned down on her phone during the last few months of her life. Sadly, Aisha passed away on 24th January 2015, just a few hours after her book was successfully launched at the Jaipur Literature Festival.
“Pulmonary fibrosis is a part of the film. It is a true story and it is the journey of how you deal with it. Priyanka was always my first choice. She suits the character really well. The film is based on a true story. The script was first picked by producer Siddharth Roy Kapur and he was on the same page as me as far as the casting went,” said Shonali Bose, the director of The Sky Is Pink to a leading newspaper. The film will release on 11th October 2019 and we can’t wait to watch this story unfold.
Featured Image: INK, Instagram
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