English & Hindi
A PEEK INSIDE MUMBAI'S
As cities turn into metropolis' the lives of its people evolve rapidly, especially in terms of their relationships and behaviour. And, Mumbai is a unique metro! Interpersonal and family relationships become stale, face to face communication gets lost even amongst the neighbours, and boredom and dryness overtakes daily life.
People start resenting the slightest intrusion into their aggressively guarded monotonous life. But social interactions always have the potential to spring surprises and coincidences happen, unknown and unseen people becoming part of each others’ lives. Emotions start rising again in a very dull routine and new hopes give a fresh drive to life. People have break-ups, they assimilate, someone dies, the other one survives and the city moves on. A Hindi film "The Lunchbox" is an effort to capture Mumbai's life and its emotional impact on the people struggling to keep themselves hopeful and enthusiastic.
"The Lunchbox" is written jointly by Ritesh Batra and Rutvik Oza and directed by debutant Ritesh Batra. It is a well researched script on the lives of Mumbai's "dabbawalas" (the lunchbox carriers) and also about the near real life stories of Mumbaikars. It is obvious from many scenes that director and his team have followed the "dabbawalas" for real life shooting.
Well-known actor Irfan Khan plays the main male character in the movie. It is a role of an ageing widower, bored and arrogant man. Irfan plays his role well but could have done better still. In some scenes, his talent is not fully exploited. One example is the photo shoot of his assistant's marriage where he looks lost.
The weak link of the film is its female lead, played by Nimrat Kaur. She had lots of opportunity to be expressive but stays largely monotonous. Neither her voice nor body expressions contribute to the script.
The brightest part of the movie is Nawazudeen Siddiqui. He plays his role with aplomb and his screen presence is sparkling and enthusiastic.
Overall, "The Lunchbox" is a fine film which could have been better. It is like a whiff of fresh air in the crowded stale winds of commercial crap being thrown by Bollywood.
The film is jointly produced by Guneet Monga, Anurag Kashyap and Arun Rangachari. It runsinto 104 minutes and has been released both in Hindi and English languages. Other than three main characters, its cast also includes famous Indian theatre personality Lillete Dubey, Nakul Vaid, Shruti Bapna in some smaller roles. Many "dabbawalas " also appear in a number of scenes. Highly recommended if you’re looking for a change…
Movie: The Lunchbox
Genre: Romantic Drama
Date of Release: 20 September 2013
Director: Ritesh Batra
Cast: Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur and Nawazuddin Siddiqui
Carrying Home Food
By Ridhi Chhabra
The ‘Dabbawalas’ of Mumbai are famous for collecting home-cooked meals from small restaurants or residences of employees and transporting them to offices in time, despite heavy rains, heat or traffic jams. ‘Dabbawala’ in Hindi means “the one who carries a box”; The Lunchbox is based on the Dabbawala’s rare mistake of delivering the food to the wrong address. Ila (played by Nimrat Kaur) and Saajan (Irrfan Khan), two strangers who only have a lunchbox as a communication tool, share their daily life experiences with each other on themes of food, family as well as gender, class, and generational differences. Ila is a young housewife who is desperately trying to regain the attention of her husband, depending on food as a medium.
The lunchbox with the delicious food made by Ila for her husband instead gets delivered to a widower Saajan, preparing to retire from his job. An empty box comes home to Ila, making her think that her husband enjoyed the food, soon she finds out that the box was delivered to someone else. She sends a letter along with the lunch the next day, thus starting an epistolary of thoughts. At work, Saajan has to train an irritating young employee, Shaikh (played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui), who would replace him upon his retirement. As the story unfolds, Nawazuddin’s role contributes more to the story than mere comic relief. Alongside, the daily commutation by letters via the lunchbox stirs up friendship between Saajan and Ila.
The film comes to a somewhat hasty end with Ila deciding to leave her husband and move to Bhutan with her daughter and Saajan making an escape to Nashik, coming back and going in search of Ila. Simple activities like cooking, traveling in a crowded train, and reading out a letter are depicted very captivatingly, but the story might move too slowly for more impatient moviegoers. A beautiful song by the Dabbawalas plays in the background as the movie concludes.