Film: The Lunchbox
Director: Ritesh Batra
Producer: Anurag Kashyap, Guneet Monga, Danis Tanović, Arun,Rangachari, Vikramjit Roy
Writer: Ritesh Batra, Rutvik Oza
Starring: Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur, Nawazuddin Siddiqui
Genre: Drama, Romance
Running time: 105 minutes
Lonely housewife Ila (Nimrat Kaur) decides to add some excitement to her dry marriage life by preparing a special lunch every day for her heedless husband. But unfortunately, the lunch delivery messes up and the food lands up in the hands of Saajan Fernandes (Irfan Khan), a cranky widower. Saajan has been working in accounts for 35 years. Shaikh (Nawazuddin Siddiqui ) has a minor role in this film, he works under Saajan to receive training from him. The actual story starts from here surrounding the misunderstanding of lunch delivery which Ila prepares for her husband.
When her husband comes home from office, she inquires, “How was today’s lunch, that I prepared with another amazing recipe?” He says it was good and the same as before. Ila gradually gets curious about her husband’s negligence and begins to wonder whether the lunch gets delivered to the wrong place and yet again on the second day, the delivery goes wrong. Then, Ila attaches a note to the next day’s lunchbox. Thus, an unusual chain of friendship starts between Ila and Saajan, where they express their feelings, griefs, and joys without facing each other, ever.
This mistaken delivery in Mumbai’s famous lunchbox delivery system connects a young housewife to an older man who is on the verge of his retirement. But he likes Ila’s food a lot and her new recipes are scrumptious and full of aroma.
This creates a fancy and utopian world for them and they write their everyday stories and happenings in the notes that they place in a lunchbox. This movie is a reminder of new lessons and a good portrayal of relations that we can teach others. Sometimes your close relations don’t consider your real feelings. Instead, unknown people with a similar heart can.
One thing that I personally liked was the attachment between Ila and her fellow resident Mrs Deshpande (Bharati Achrekar). Ila takes every favour and tells every detail about her life story with her husband to Deshpande. They talk to each other not face to face but through the kitchen window that opens on the main street.
Mrs Deshpande’s husband has been in a coma for 15 years contrasts with Ila’s husband who has no time for her and always keeps busy on his phone when at home. Both women have the same story with fractured souls.
Talks between Ila and Saajan continue, she says her husband became irresponsible after her first child and has no time for her. Saajan says, “Sometimes having a child can help a marriage.” The next night, Ila tries to get intimate with her husband, but he changes the topic saying, “prices are surging so don’t think about it.”
The next day, Ila finds her grandmother’s recipe of apple gourd which she makes for Saajan and it is appreciated. This movie is whimsical and amusing with lots of jokes that they both share together through letters.
I learned a lot from this quote in the film, “Life kept going on, nothing stops even after a bruise, grief or a sudden demise of your close ones.”
I also liked the scene when Ila waits in a restaurant for Saajan and he watches her from a distance, but never meets her. After that, he writes a letter saying she is beautiful and dreamy. This scene taught me that for those you have spent all your life with, might take you for granted but a person with little interaction can teach you a lot about your personality and show you a new side of yourself.
Overall, this film is well made with hidden messages that things may seem the same, but when we look closely, it’s different. The amalgamation of different aspects of exchanging letters taught me that everyone has a unique story of their life. You certainly won’t feel soporific while watching this.