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Black Sunshine Baby review: Aisha Chaudhary gives a candid view into her extraordinary life, in her own words

Does Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Farhan Akhtar's 2019 film The Sky Is Pink take away from Black Sunshine Baby? Not at all

3.5/5rating
Black Sunshine Baby review: Aisha Chaudhary gives a candid view into her extraordinary life, in her own words

A poster of Black Sunshine Baby

  • Dhwani Desai

Last Updated: 01.40 PM, Jan 24, 2023

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Story: Produced by her mother, Aditi Chaudhary, the documentary gives a candid look into Aisha Chaudhary’s short, but inspiring life. Aisha was born with severe combined immunodeficiency, and one gets to see her life’s story through her poems, artwork, snippets from her Inktalks, and her family.

Review: If you have watched Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Farhan Akhtar’s 2019 film The Sky Is Pink, watched Aisha Chaudhary’s Inktalks or read the many articles about her, then you already know her story. Aisha lived a life less ordinary, having to deal with chemotherapy and a transplant just months into her life. Her parents fought against all odds to add years to her life, and what she gave them and everyone in her life in return was many folds.

Black Sunshine Baby gives you a candid look into Aisha’s life, almost forcing you to participate as you are exposed to her insights into her own life and of the world in general, at a tender age, through her poems and striking artwork. 

Due to her illness, Aisha had a hard time fitting in at school and rarely made friends. Her family – mother Aditi, father Niren and brother Ishaan – was pretty much her whole, entire life. And she dearly loved her two pet dogs, Kobe and Rolo, who are the subjects of many of her paintings. 

Why make a documentary after a feature film with big stars? While The Sky Is Pink is a moving tale, Black Sunshine Baby involves you in Aisha and her family’s life. If you look closely, the documentary is a tale of the good that resides deep within each one of us, the role of love on one’s overall wellbeing, that happiness is a choice you make, and of acceptance – of oneself and one’s situations.  

Aisha’s poems, which were put together in a book titled My Little Epiphanies that was published just a day before she passed away, are reflections that some may argue are deep for a teenager, but then again, there aren’t too many teenagers who had to go through what she did. Her epiphanies range from “When your happiness starts to depend on somebody else, protect yourself, because you are f*cked”, to “We are here to laugh at odds and live our lives so well that death will tremble to take us”. All of these are a reflection of Aisha’s different emotions and experiences at various phases of her life. 

Some of her artwork and doodles are also likely to amaze you, and give you a glimpse of what it might be to live a life like Aisha did. And if you were wondering, the name of the documentary is the title of one of her poems. 

Verdict: Do you need to watch The Sky Is Pink to better understand Black Sunshine Baby, or the other way around? Not necessarily. Do the two films take away from each other? Not at all. Black Sunshine Baby takes you into the wonderful, creative mind of a young girl who knows that her time on earth is limited, yet can’t help but have human, teenage dreams and fantasies. It’s a heartwarming tale of a family that goes through some extraordinary times, and celebrates all the successes that others might take for granted. For example, when Aisha has a crush on her brother Ishaan’s friend, but is heartbroken after he doesn’t return her affections, her father, Niren, says that it was lovely to see her falling in love with the young man, and even though it didn’t result in a relationship, he was happy that his daughter got to experience the joy of being in love. One also gets an insight (even though it is brief) into the toll that caring for someone with a terminal illness can take on a caretaker. 

Tushar Ghogale’s editing deserves a special mention, as does the animation and VFX by Om Singh and Siddhant Nag, which brings alive Aisha’s artwork and writings. At 85 minutes long, it is an easy watch, and your takeaway will most likely be what Aisha said in her last interview – "Everyone's fighting their own battles, and we are all on a roller coaster ride together. I want people to find peace on whatever roller coaster ride they may be. I hope that's what will happen.” 

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