'The Last Color' review: Celebrity chef Vikas Khanna's film has got its heart at the right place

Written By: Shomini Sen WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Dec 11, 2020, 03:25 PM(IST)

Neena Gupta in a still from 'The Last Color' Photograph:( Twitter )

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There is a constant sense of sadness and hope in Vikas Khanna's directorial debut 'The Last Color'.

There is a constant sense of sadness and hope in Vikas Khanna's directorial debut 'The Last Color'. A simple story of an uncanny friendship between an aged widow in Benaras and a young homeless rope walker- 'The Last Color' makes you smile amid all the gloom. 

Choti (Aqsa Siddiqui) has grown up on the banks of River Ganga in Benaras and does odd jobs to survive. Orphaned and homeless, Choti has learnt to rope walk with the help of her friend, Chintu. The two harbour ambitions of studying in school and hence want to save up money for it. Much like Choti, Chintu too is homeless and often gets into trouble with the cops.

As Chintu goes missing one day after a run with the cops, Choti finds herself befriending a lonesome Noor (Neena Gupta) - a widow who lives in an ashram nearby and visits the ghat every day. Noor is initially reluctant to befriend Choti, but slowly the two form an uncanny bond and meet every day on the river banks.

Noor's life, much like Choti, has been one full of hardships. And so when Choti showers her with attention, warmth and care, she resists it initially but eventually finds solace in the young girl's company. Clad in white perpetually, Noor's life lacks colour until Choti comes into it. Naive and unaware of how the world functions, the young girl wants to see her friend in pink and promises to celebrate Holi with her. 

Khanna, a well known Michelina star chef, has not just directed but also written the film. Khanna and cinematographer Subhransu Das capture Varanasi in all its glory. From the pristine ghats to the small bylanes, the city looks stunning in the film. Khanna also has multiple subplots to build the premise of the city and its orthodox ways. A friendly kind eunuch, an evil cop, an oppressed wife,  Noor's jealous roommate in the ashram- all their stories set the premise of an orthodox society where people like Noor and Choti are never fully accepted. 

Gupta is naturally the star of the film and she doesn't disappoint as the lonesome, shy Noor who has never lived her life to the fullest until she met Choti. Complementing Gupta is the little Aqsa Siddique who may appear a bit raw in certain scenes but still manages to shine throughout. Siddiqui is a confident performer and along with Gupta makes the film endearing. 

Khanna's story is well-intended but somewhere slips. Emancipating the widows and the empowering the girl child are issues that have been widely read and discussed. 'The Last Color' takes up the cause only at a surface level. It is his first attempt at filmmaking at the rawness is visible but that can be overlooked provided the story left an impact, Unfortunately its doesn't offer anything beyond what we already know. One does feel empathy for Noor and Choti but the filmmaker never delves deeper or offer a fresh perspective to the known facts. 

What works for the film is its rich imagery. Of Noor's pristine white juxtaposed with Pink colour of Holi, the serene ghats lighting up in the evening or the top shots of the bylanes of Varanasi. 

'The Last Color' will leave you feeling melancholic. It may not leave a lasting impression but is well-intended and told from the heart. 

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