The Last Color Movie Review: The last color is bereft of any color or life

Last Color
Last Color

Synopsis

The Last Color has a good intent but that alone doesn’t make for good movies. It is bereft of any colour or life.

STORY: Equality and respect for widows in society, their participation in festivals and removal of discrimination on the basis of caste, class, gender or sexual orientation — set in 1989 Banaras, renowned chef Vikas Khanna’s social drama ‘The Last Color’ addresses the need for inclusion and putting humanity before obsolete and unfair customs and traditions.

REVIEW: Too many cooks spoil the broth and sometimes excessive ingredients, too. The idiom can’t be more relevant for Michelin star chef-humanitarian and now filmmaker Vikas Khanna, who infuses too many issues in his directorial debut. His film could have perhaps made a bigger impact as a short film as opposed to a feature film which keeps going in circles only to meet a moving but predictable end.

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The film starts in 2013 and gets a flashback of 24 years. We follow the troubled childhood of Supreme Court Advocate Noor Saxena (Princy Sudhakaran) aka Chhoti, who ensures the widows of Varanasi get a chance to celebrate holi, too. Why must they be deprived of colours and beauty and companionship?

Growing up, Chhoti a homeless orphan, is poorly treated by people and labelled as untouchable for belonging to a lower caste. She does odd jobs at the banks of the Ganges in Varanasi to feed herself. A fighter and a survivor, the little girl strikes an unlikely friendship with a transgender, Anarkali and a widow, also called Noor (Neena Gupta). The outcasts find solace in each other until an evil local police officer starts harassing the trio, solely because he can.

Just because the film is set in the late 80s-early 90s, the storytelling need not be outdated. In his directorial debut, Khanna sets archaic melodramatic tone and follows the standard ‘helpless victims vs cruel villains‘ template. His generic, directionless and jaded narrative solely defines characters as black or white. There is no grey. The central characters are righteous, rest all are bad guys. There is no in between. You discover nothing about the people beyond what they choose to tell. Their silences don’t speak. The conversations barring a few feel inane, lack depth and emotion. They fail to draw you in.

While the film hopes to bring upon a positive change and gender equality, the story keeps depicting women as silent sufferers and sacrificers who must be quiet if they wish to live peacefully. The story empowers little and frustrates a lot more as the stagnant narrative does little for the humanitarian intent. Even someone as talented as Neena Gupta fails to salvage the story and leave a mark. She portrays her suppressed character sincerely but seems way too uninvolved for you to feel invested.

The Last Color has a good intent but that alone doesn’t make for good movies. It is bereft of any colour or life.

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