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Vikas Khanna Image Credit: IANS

Celebrity chef Vikas Khanna’s directorial debut ‘The Last Color’, starring Neena Gupta, will have its world premiere at the 30th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival 2019.

The film will be screened thrice during the festival, which is being held from January 3-14, 2019. The film is under the competition category, New Voices New Vision.

The movie, which also marks Khanna’s debut as a screenwriter, is based on his bestselling 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. The film also stars transgender activist Rudrani Chettri.

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Neena Gupta in ‘The Last Color’. Image Credit: Supplied

The teaser of the film was unveiled at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year and marked Khanna’s fourth appearance at the festival.

‘The Last Color’ is inspired by Khanna’s experience while researching food and culture for his books and TV shows. The chef was shooting for Holi for his book ‘Utsav: A Culinary Epic of Indian Festivals’ in Vrindavan when he witnessed a desolate sight — everyone was playing with colours during the festival except for the widows who were dressed in white and watching the celebrations from their balconies and terraces.

However, in 2013, the Supreme Court of India allowed the widows in Vrindavan 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 meeting a nine-year-old flower seller inspired him to tell this story.

“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,” Khanna said in a statement.

“From writing the book to making the film, the journey of ‘The Last Color’ has been a long and eventful one. We feel honoured 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,” he added.

Jitendra Mishra, the producer of ‘The Last Color’, said: “The world premiere at the 30th Annual Palm Springs International Festival 2019 is a milestone in the film’s journey. It has also reassured us of the faith and confidence we had placed in the project.”