The Lunchbox

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The Lunchbox
The Lunchbox

‘THE LUNCHBOX' is delicious and delightful!

It’s a beautifully written, and incisively crafted piece of art that absorbs you deep in itself right from the start. The brilliant execution by its immensely talented cast leaves an indelible mark on you. However, if over-the-top mindless masala is the flavour you expect, this one’s definitely not for you.

Set in Mumbai, the film revolves around a mistaken delivery by a dabbawala (lunchbox service) of Mumbai, which leads to a relationship between an about to retire lonely widower, Saajan (Irrfan Khan), and an unhappy housewife, Ila (Nimrat Kaur) as they start exchanging notes through the daily lunchbox.

Within minutes into the film, you’re glued to the routine scenario. A lonely housewife, trying hard to please his estranged husband, and whose only company is her next floor neighbour – chatting and sharing through the kitchen window, all day long. A lonely widower, on the other hand, whose bland life is merely waiting for retirement, after which, for no particular reason, he plans to settle in Nasik. Then begin the cordial incidences of wrong deliveries of the lunchbox, and the heartily delightful exchange of notes, thoughts, experiences and communications via letters.

The whole plot is weaved so beautifully, that you feel and live each moment with the characters. Small but significant events make this film so special. One of them shares his experience in a letter and the other one tries it out, and vice-versa. They escape from their loneliness by talking through letters, finding resort for their train of thoughts in each other. Their budding love, despite no real cognizance of each other’s existence, is so pleasing. A beautiful quote by Irrfan in between says: “You tend to forget things if you have no one to tell them to.” It is relevant in every way and they show it terrifically with their ever-growing inherent happiness and satisfaction as they share more and more. You really must see Irrfan facing the realization that he’s grown old. And Nimrat, when she recognizes the ungratifying job she’s doing at home for a man not worthy of it. These scenes stand out for the sheer deftness that the director Ritesh Batra handles them with and the pure genius of the actors performing them.

There’s another quirky character in Shaikh (played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui) who’s struggling to fit into the shoes of the soon to retire Saajan, but never gives up. The only negatives (although it is more of nit-picking) are the arguably repetitive scenes involving chats with the next floor neighbour and the oft-repeated process of the lunchbox delivery. Other than that, you really can’t complain at all.

The performances are just superb. Irrfan plays the Christian recluse to a ‘T’, and his brilliance stays with you long after the film is over. Nimrat Kaur as the longing wife, gives perhaps the best female performance of the year till date. Nawazuddin is terrific too, and his presence lends another humorously touching angle to the plot.

If you’re in the mood to witness genuinely moving cinema, you’re in for a treat. The delectable taste of this lunchbox remains in your mouth much after you’ve left the theatre. Go for it!

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