The Last Color
Dir: Vikas Khanna
Runtime: 90 mins
Cast: Neena Gupta, Neha Garg, Jyoti, Rajeswar Khanna, Aslam Shekh, Aqsa Siddique, Princy Sudhakaran, Budrani Chhetri
Multifaceted Vikas Khanna, a James Beard award-winning chef /author/owner of restaurant, Junoon, in New York, recipient of several national and international awards for his foundations, and the one who recently won paeans for his efforts to feed the multitudes affected by the pandemic, tries his hand at feature filmmaking with this subtle, tender story adapted from his own novel of the same name.
The narrative follows the keeping of a promise made by a nine-year-old, Chhoti (Aqsa Siddiqui) to an old widow, Noor (Neena Gupta). Chhoti, a street urchin living in the slums of Benares, who performs a tightrope act and sells flowers to earn a meagre living befriends the widow, living a passionless existence. The narrative delineates how they spur each other towards a more passionate and fulfilling life. In between the interludes of reflection, regressive customs, traditions, and amidst the fulcrum of courage, the narrative also exposes the debauched underbelly of risks that a girl child has to manoeuvre in order to come up trumps.
Catch the trailer of The Last Color here:
The dispossessed (cast away from contemporary society) widows of Vrindavan, may be familiar territory to the international film fraternity thanks to Deepa Mehta’s much publicised Water (2005), but Vikas Khanna’s effort, while set in similar circumstances, searches for a more meaningful metre than the former. The title in fact, heralds the textured symbolism with which Khanna approaches this subject. The debutant feature film director makes a sumptuous elegant meal of his story – bringing to life the confluent and conflicting flavours and customs of India with an elegance and vibrancy that is both visually enriching and emotionally satisfying.
The principal actors and supporting cast live their roles beautifully. Gupta has turned in a career-defining performance here. Unfortunately, the pacing is a little too deliberate and stilted and the tone borders on preachy. Even so, as a first-time effort, this film deserves all the applause it can get!
*YUCK **WHATEVER ***GOOD ****SUPER *****AWESOME
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