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 being held from 3rd -14th Jan 2019. The Palm Springs International Film Festival is one of the largest film festivals in North America, having more than 135,000 attendees each year for its line-up of new and celebrated international features and documentaries.This 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 best selling 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 was unveiled at the Cannes Film Festival 2018 earlier this year and marked Khanna’s fourth appearance at the festival. The fi lm is 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.

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.

Vikas Khanna, was 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.”

Vikas Khanna is an internationally acclaimed Indian American chef. He is a James Beard nominee and one of the first Indian chefs to be awarded a Michelin Star in the U.S. He has been featured amongst the 10 most influential chefs in the world by Deutsche Welle and Gazette Review. He has been the host of MasterChef India since 2011 and has hosted Twist of Taste and Mega Kitchens on National Geographic. An author of 34 books, including UTSAV (World’s most expensive cookbook) and the creator of a documentary series Holy Kitchens and Kitchens of Gratitude.

I congratulate Vikas and Neena Gupta on making a film on very sensitive subject and I wish them great success of the premiere of the film at the 30 th Annual Palm Springs International Festival in Jan 2019.

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