"Dreams feel real while we're in them. It's only when we wake up that we realize something was actually strange." -Inception

Friday, September 20, 2013

Movie Review: The Lunchbox

The Lunchbox is a uniquely Mumbai story of how a wrong connection through a lunchbox brings hope and a purpose of being to two of its citizens. A lonely housewife Ila (Nimrat Kaur) and a curmudgeonly accountant Saajan (Irrfan Khan) forge an unlikely friendship by way of food and letters.

As the dabbawalla points out in the movie, Harvard University has evaluated their system and says no delivery can go wrong.  Even Prince Charles stopped by for a look to see how they operate. Turns out that one of those statements is false as one in four million lunchboxes is delivered to the wrong place. Ila's lunchbox for her husband Rajeev (Nakul Vaid) lands at the desk of one Saajan Fernandes who sends back an empty box. Saajan even stops by the restaurant where he believes the food is coming from and tells them to keep the food coming. Meanwhile, Ila thinks the old adage is coming true, the way to man's heart is really through his stomach.

Both of them are delightfully wrong. Ila starts off by sending a note informing Saajan of the mix-up and thus begins their awkward, funny and insightful exchanges. Slowly but surely, they begin to reveal their hopes, their disappointments, their regrets. It begins to free them both as they don't have any other confidantes in their lives.

Saajan's wife has died and he has no friends. With a month to go to his retirement, his eager young replacement Shaikh (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) cheerfully tries his hardest to break Saajan's shell. Ila, too, has no friends and gets cooking and life tips from Deshpande Auntie who lives above her.  Her only reason to go on in life is her young daughter Yashvi. So what happens when the friends finally decide to meet one day?

I'll let you find out yourself. Watch the movie for the actors' spectacular performances (Nawazuddin practically steals every scene he's in) and you'll find caring as to what happens to these characters that you've just met. I laughed many a time, I was moved and delighted by the film.  Director Ritesh Batra really captured the mood of city so well, the office life to the commute home to the kids that play ball on the many by lanes of Mumbai.    

The Lunchbox is one of those films that you will be recommending to your friends and family. At least, I know I will be.

Written and Directed by Ritesh Batra; Cinematography by Michael Simmonds; Editing by John F. Lyons; Music by Max Richter.


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