Vikas Khanna is an Indian-American chef, restaurateur, and a cookbook writer. Vikas has also been one of the judges of Star Plus series MasterChef India and gained immense popularity for himself. Now, this Internationally acclaimed chef is all set to enter into a new profession donning a filmmaker's hat.
As Vikas Khanna's directorial debut "The Last Color" is set to have its world premiere at the 30th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival 2019, he is glad Hollywood is paying attention to his film. However, he says he will continue to keep his head down with humility.
The Michelin star chef had given a glimpse of the film's first look at the Cannes Film Festival last year. Now, Khanna is excited about the recognition at a film fest in the US.
"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 told IANS 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. 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" will be screened thrice during the Palm Springs International Film Festival, being held from January 3-14, 2019. It 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 most favourite part of the film would be the victory of taking the artistes and placing them in character.
"Neenaji is a rare artiste. 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.
"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 said.
Besides the film, Khanna is a part of season two of Quaker"s "Kitchen Khanna and Konversations" on Hotstar. 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 not boring and can be 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."
"Until people understand that, they won't understand that how easy it is to adopt oats! And adding oats to your diet is great because they are wholegrains, and rich in fiber and proteins," he said.
Also, the awareness among millennials has caused a shift in their 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."
"It revolves around making traditional recipes like paranthas healthier, but also taps into the trend of international recipes like smoothies and scones. Indians are going to define the kitchen for all of us because they seek comfort and authentic food," he said.
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