The Lunchbox

27 Jul

Ila (performed by Nimrat Kaur) works hard to care for her husband Rajeev (by Nakul Vaid) and their school-aged daughter. Every day she cooks and packs food for Rajeev’s lunch and it is collected from her home in a thermos pack, to be professionally delivered by hand to him at his workplace. Ila wants to “spice up” her marriage, so she prepares a special meal for Rajeev – under the detailed instructions of her reliable Auntie (by Bharati Achrekar). Auntie lives upstairs and is always on-hand for advice via their informal intercom. Ila sends the special meal off to Rajeev and readies herself for a night of attention, but that evening he returns home no different than any other day – she is disappointed and perplexed. That same day, in another office across Mumbai, insurance clerk Saajan Fernandes (by Irrfan Khan) prepares for another ‘hum-drum’ day at the Claims Desk. He takes his lunch break as always, but today he enjoys the most delicious food he’s had for a long while. He is delighted, but confused. What has happened to his usual restaurant? A new Chef perhaps? The mysterious meal exchanges continue when Ila and Saajan realise they are connected by chance – a curiosity then a trust develops between them. Ila finds herself looking forward to preparing the next meal for this unknown man – while Saajan starts to rediscover parts of himself he thought had become dormant long ago. What will become of these two souls locked into lives that have become too lonely to bear? ……

This is a sweet and lovely film. The story is innocent and deep, with aspects that most people will identify with in one way or another. Ila is serene, she clearly loves Rajeev – although he is having an affair – and Saajan is a man of deep principles and faith. Between them they create a beautiful and intriguing story, which builds in tension and curiosity as the audience wonders what will happen with these two. It is very well made. The support character Shaikh, played flawlessly by Nawazuddin Siddiqui, is a marvellous balance to the steady and dead-pan Saajan. He is entertaining, totally irritating and beguiling. The performances of these three are all great. The body of work that went into creation of this film has been recognised and awarded globally. In the 2013/14 awards season debut Director, Ritesh Batra and the three key cast members all received awards from Amazonas, Apsara Film Producers Guild, Asia Pacific Screen Guild, Asia-Pacific Film Festival, Asian Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival, Dubai International Film Festival, Filmfare Awards, Ghent International Film Festival, Reykjavik International Film Festival, Screen Weekly Awards and Zee Cine Awards. Very well done and well deserved. I look forward to Ritesh Batra’s next movie.

Made in 2014. Directed by Ritesh Batra.

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Posted by on July 27, 2014 in Movies


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