Director Vikas Khanna does a fantastic job telling this story of love and friendship. This world-renowned chef-turned director has done his due diligence shooting with dramatic camera angles and lighting to produce a film that shows off the beauty and vibrant colors of Banaras as well as the plight of the two leads. Gupta’s portrayal of Noor grounds the seriousness of the story and elevates the performances of those around her. Aqsa Siddiqui is adorable as the tiny Chhoti. Her acting feels natural, which is hard to find in a child actor.
“…sweetness and believability to their friendship, which ends with a silent moment that will break your heart.”
On the downside, the scenes involving the corrupt authorities comes off as a little spaghetti western, making an odd contrast to the scenes of just Gupta and Siddiqui. The acting of the locals and other supporting characters do come off as a little stiff. Also, some of the events leading to the end particularly the tightrope escape are a little too fantastical thus tipping off that this may not be a true story.
The real enjoyment of The Last Color comes from the leads, Gupta and Siddiqui. The two are fun to watch and bring sweetness and believability to their friendship, which ends with a silent moment that will break your heart.
The Last Color is also a film of hope marking India’s shift in the way it treats its women, particularly the widows. In 2016, after years of litigation, India’s Supreme Court allowed widows to legally celebrate Holi without fear of retribution. Mind you, 2016 is not that long ago.
The Last Color (2019) Written and directed by Vikas Khanna. Starring Neena Gupta, Aqsa Siddiqui. Rajeshwar Khanna, Aslam Sheikh. The Last Color made its World Premiere at the 2019 Palm Springs International Film Festival.
7 out of 10 stars