Entertainment :: Movies

The Lunchbox

by Monique Rubens Krohn
Contributor
Wednesday Jul 2, 2014
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In this sweet, nuanced film by writer/director Ritesh Batra, lunchboxes are replete with food and multiple meanings. Multi-layered like the film, they contain the rich aromas of Indian cuisine, cooked lovingly by housewives for their working husbands or efficiently by local restaurants. In Mumbai, dabbawallahs (lunchbox deliverymen) deliver thousands of these nameless lunchboxes each day through a system so efficient, Harvard deigned to study it. Only one in a million goes to the wrong person. That one is the focal point of "The Lunchbox."

Ila (Nimrat Kaur) hopes to revive her ailing marriage through the spicy dishes she sends her husband, Rajeev (Nakul Vaid). She is encouraged by the disembodied voice of Auntie (Bharati Achrekar) her upstairs neighbor who offers advice, opinions and spices. Alas, Ila’s lunchbox culinary creations mistakenly end up in the hands of Saajan Fernandes (Irrfan Khan), a claims adjuster nearing retirement who delights in the subtle sensuousness of these unexpected meals. The two begin a correspondence in which their growing intimacy is cleverly contrasted by shots of anonymous and alienated Mumbai residents: Thousands of commuters wedged into hot, crowded trains; dozens of bureaucrats toiling away at desks piled high with papers from unknown claimants; and even a copped anonymous feel to the hapless Saajan by a grinning, old woman with missing teeth.

In this sweet, nuanced film by writer/director Ritesh Batra, lunchboxes are replete with food and multiple meanings.

Fueled by his daily lunch time missives and the arrival of his work replacement, the friendly and eager Shaikh (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), Saajan’s rough exterior and interior sadness begins to break down. Similarly, Ila finds courage and clarity through her new friendship. As the two discover each other and themselves, a new world emerges where hopes and dreams stand fast against the crushing burdens of their lives.

This Blu-ray + DVD combination also offers an informative commentary by the writer and director, Batra.


"The Lunchbox"
Blu-ray and DVD
$40.99
www.sonypictures.com

Monique Rubens Krohn is a freelance writer living in New Jersey

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