190108 Vikas Khanna in Dubai in 2015
Vikas Khanna in Dubai in 2015 Image Credit: Atiq-ur-Rehman Gulf News

Michelin-starred Indian chef Vikas Khanna is ecstatic that his directorial debut is making its mark in Hollywood.

‘The Last Colour’ recently had its world premiere at the 30th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival 2019. This came after a glimpse of the film was shown at the Cannes Film Festival last year.

“I am humble and excited about the recognition the film is getting in the fraternity. It’s like, ‘okay, so Hollywood is paying attention to my film’. I will just keep my head down,” Khanna said in an email.

The film, starring Neena Gupta, centres around the widows of Vrindavan.

“I just think I was too moved by a story. The story is inspired by the real events,” he said. “I was inspired by two stories which run parallel. One is a ropewalker whom I met in the Kumbh Mela, who was such a brave girl. She really inspired me to write the story of Chhoti.”

“And then I was really inspired by Holi played by the widows in Vrindavan. It’s such a victory and an achievement and something that can be called as reincarnation which needs to be celebrated on a great scale... [I am] Not suggesting that I made the film on a great scale. I am not a big producer or something. I knew this story had to come from me in a most honest way,” Khanna said.

‘The Last Colour’ is under the competition category New Voices New Vision.

The movie marks Khanna’s debut not just as a director but also as a screenwriter.

He says his favourite part of the film was the victory of taking artists and placing them in character.

“Neenaji is a rare artist. She just fit into the character so beautifully. She knew I am not a director, but I was looking at all the frames in a new perspective with new eyes. There was no preset or template to follow. She just believed in the story so much that she continued with us,” Khanna said.

“She was such a support. I remember when I showed her the film, she was like this is one of the best films I have ever worked on. I think it’s honesty that worked for us. It is an honest story,” he added.

Khanna is also part of season two of ‘Quaker’s Kitchen Khanna and Konversations’. The web series will also see the likes of Vicky Kaushal, Bhumi Pednekar and Raiza Wilson in a cookout with the celebrity chef.

The show will drive the message that oats are a great way to add nutrition to everyday foods.

“I have seen many people converting to healthier grains, particularly oats. And we see that they didn’t know what can be done with oats. What we want people to see is the versatility of oats. You don’t have to create new dishes to use oats, you can just recreate authentic dishes in a healthier way,” Khanna said.

Also, the awareness among millennials has caused a shift in food interests.

“The way they choose their culture is very different than we chose ours. I just feel that there’s such a big power of international palate coming in which needs to be fed. Millennials are more aware, they travel more and they enjoy the authenticity of food. This is one of the reasons why we decided to make this web series,” he added.