Celebrity chef Vikas Khanna’s film, The Last Color, is his ‘most organic’ work yet
From cooking to directing a film, celebrity chef Vikas Khanna has made the leap from one art to another. His first film, The Last Color, is based on a book of the same name that he wrote some years ago. The one hour 26 minute film stars veteran actor Neena Gupta and child artists, and the plot revolves around the Supreme Court order against an age-old tradition of not allowing widows in Vrindavan to play Holi. The film’s teaser will be unveiled at the Cannes film festival (May 8-19).
Excited to be talking about it for the first time, Vikas says, “It’s a very simple story capturing the richness of India. I found this story so compelling that I couldn’t resist telling it to the world. I mean, imagine being denied the right to touch colour. My life is all about colour in the form of spices and vegetables; the thought that if someone took that privilege away from me, drove me crazy.”
Recalling the first reactions to his idea, Vikas shares, “Even when I wrote the book, everyone asked me, ‘Why fiction?’ And I’d tell them that I want a surprise element in my career. Honestly, I didn’t think I’d make the film — I never had the time. But when I realised that the subject means so much to me, I was convinced that nobody would be as close to the story as I am. This is the most organic work I am going to do in my entire life.”
About this switch, Vikas calls it one of his “hardest” experiences. “Filmmaking is the most difficult form of storytelling, but the most effective. In the kitchen, you do things on a repeat mode but here [on the sets] a scene has never been shot before. Also, a dish disappears in some time, but a film stays with you for the rest of your life,” he says.
Vikas visited Varanasi ashrams to do his research for the script. The film is likely to do a round of festivals for a year before its theatrical release. Asked what he expects in terms of audience reaction, Vikas says, “When you worry so much about the result, you’ll never be able to create a whole new organic thing. So, don’t think about the right audience. Make the right movie and the audience would follow.”
Interact with Monika Rawal Kukreja at Twitter/@monikarawal