By K Ashwin Mobile: 09920183006 Email:email@example.com
Celebrity Chef Vikas Khanna’s directorial debut feature The Last Color starring Neena Gupta will have its World Premiere at the prestigious 30th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival 2019. The film will be screened thrice during the festival being held from 3rd -14th Jan 2019. The Palm Springs International Film Festival is one of the largest film festivals in North America, welcoming over 135,000 attendees each year for its line-up of new and celebrated international features and documentaries. The film is under the competition category – New Voices New Vision.
The Film which also marks Khanna’s debut as a Director and screenwriter is based on his bestselling book by the same name.
The Last Color is the story of Chhoti (Aqsa Siddiqui) – a nine-year-old flower seller and tightrope walker who befriends Noor (Neena Gupta), a 70-year-old widow living a life of complete abstinence. Chhoti promises to bring a ray of hope in the life of Noor. Besides Neena Gupta and Aqsa Siddiqui, the film also stars transgender activist Rudrani Chettri. Interestingly, some of the pivotal roles in the film have been played by first time actors based in Varanasi. Khanna spent many months researching and working with them to bring out the real essence of the character.
The teaser of the film of the film was unveiled at the Cannes Film Festival 2018 earlier this year and marked Khanna’s fourth appearance at the festival.
The film has been shot by Subhranshu Das (Filmistaan), and produced by Bindu Khanna, Poonam Kaul and Jitendra Mishra under the banner of House Of Omkar. The captivating theme music with Indian musical undertones as well as the background score has been created by a team of musicians led by Elliot Middleton, renowned for instrumental and cinematic theme creations. Elliot is based in LA.
The Last Color is inspired by the real-life experiences observed by Chef Vikas Khanna while researching around food and culture for his books and TV shows. He was shooting for Holi, the Festival of Colors for his book Utsav (the world’s largest compilation of festivals), in Vrindhavan when he witnessed a desolate sight – everyone was playing with colors during the festival except for the widows who were dressed in white and watching the celebrations from their balconies and terraces, having resigned themselves to fate. However, in the year 2013, the Supreme Court of India allowed the widows in Vrindhavan to get rehabilitated and live a life of dignity which included being able to participate in festivals such as Holi. This coupled with Khanna’s experience of meeting a 9-year-old flower seller girl inspired him to tell this compelling story.
Celebrity Chef Vikas Khanna, thrilled to make his directorial debut with The Last Color says, “This is a story that had to be told and I am glad that I am finally getting an opportunity to do so. This story not only moved me deeply, but also motivated me to pen it into a book and subsequently make it into a film. From writing the book to making the film, the journey of The Last Color has been a long and eventful one. We feel honored that the film is having its World Premiere at the 30th Annual Palm Springs International Festival 2019. I am eagerly looking forward to the audience’s response and hope that they will experience a similar sentiment that I did while writing and making the film.”
Jitendra Mishra, the producer of The Last Color says, “The World Premiere at the 30th Annual Palm Springs International Festival 2019 is a milestone in the film’s journey. It has also reassured us of the faith and confidence we had placed in the project. The Last Color is a film that deals with universal themes around hope, friendship and the triumph of human spirit and connects with audiences globally transcending all barriers.
I am eagerly looking forward to audiences’ reaction at the World Premiere and I hope that they will echo a similar sentiment.”
Nine-year-old fearless tightrope walker and flower seller, Chhoti, savours her dream to save Rs. 300 ($ 4), so she can attend school. The Last Color traces Chhoti and her best friend Chintu’s daily struggles for survival on the streets of the ancient city of Banaras, India.
Chhoti befriends Noor, a white-clad widow who suffers a life of total abstinence and is not allowed to take part in any festivities, especially Holi, the Indian festival of colors. Over time, Choti and Noor’s friendship and uplifting spiritual bond breaks through the barriers of the caste system.
Noor encourages the brave little girl to face life by “flying high” with courage, education, and dignity. She shares her fondest, but closely kept childhood memories of playing with colors. Chhoti promises Noor that, this Holi, she will finally splash Noor with her favorite pink color. But on Holi’s eve, Noor passes away, and during a sweep, Chhoti is imprisoned by the corrupt police, led by the violent and bullying Raja. Will Chhoti be able to keep her promise?
Twenty-four years later, Chhoti becomes an advocate and fights for the societal reforms that will bring about the rehabilitation of both street children and widows.
The Last Color is a story of promises kept and promises broken, a friendship that knows no bounds, and the freedom and victory of the human spirit.