By PINK-JEAN FANGON MELEGRITO
As I walked down the road, I saw a man seated quietly in the corner. I figured he was blind when I saw his about-to-retire splintered cane. Feeling warm and forthcoming, I approached him.
With a pink lily I picked on the way, the first thing I thought of asking him was if he knew what the color pink is. He softly said, “No.”
I said, “Pink is the color you see when you are at the peak of happiness. You see the color pink when you drink coffee to warm yourself from a cold night. When you smell the scent of the woman you love each time she passes you, you see the color pink. When you hear the laughter of people around you, pink is the color you see. Pink is what you see when you feel the love of the people around you. Pink is what you see when you are happy…”
Seated in front of me, the man was already crying; a man whom the world robbed of everything. And he said, “I’ve never seen the color pink…” (Excerpt from a short story by Trish Concepcion)
Touch of Pink is somewhat the visual contextualization of the short story above that expands pink as the color of happiness in the light of gayness. Director Ian Icqal Rashid strays into the daring fusion of patriarchal Moslem-Indian culture and the still-unaccepted homosexual orientation.
Alim (Jim Mistry, The Guru) is the fidgety irresolute movie photographer who is stuck between the suburban life of London and conservative culture of his Indian roots. Born in Kenya, Africa, grew up in Toronto, Canada, Alim seems to have found support and guidance in the spirit of 1950s star Cary Grant (Kyle MacLachlan, Sex and the City series) while struggling his way through finding his real self – no origins asked.
Miles away, in Toronto, Alim’s cousin is having almost every Moslem family’s dream- a monsoon wedding set in a dream palace adorned with expensive cakes, elephant ice sculptures and extravagant floral centerpieces. Nuru (Suleka Mathew), Alim’s estranged mother, appears much pressured as the wedding day approaches near, wondering when her only son would bring her the exhilarating news of engagement and nuptials.
Carrying luggage of doubts, Nuru pays a spontaneous visit to Alim in London, a place where she was once frustrated to be a young Indian Doris Day.
Upon his mother’s arrival, Alim becomes more unsure whether his relationship with his Unicef economist boyfriend Giles (Kristen Holden-Ried) is worth all the hiding and confusion. His literally spiritual guide Cary also creates more uncertainty rather than solutions to his dilemmas.
Alim’s quest to his self digs more situations he has not been resolved with since his childhood. Sexuality, familial obligations and keeping a steady loving relationship bogs Alim and convinces Cary not to go away.
Comic, witty and tearful experiences occur as one would join Alim if he would finally touch his side of pink. Perhaps pink would not be just pink after all. # Pink-Jean Fangon Melegrito for NORDIS