After touring the world, Irrfan Khan and Nimrat Kaur’s ‘The Lunchbox’ is finally in India. It is being called ‘dabba’ (Lunchbox) in India. Movie has generated some buzz in different film festivals and won the Critics Week Viewers Choice Award at Cannes Film Festival, France.
Director Ritesh Batra has done a marvelous job in terms of research in dabba industry, Mumbai and has invented a beautiful love story around their way of working. The lunchbox’s script is entertaining and gripping till the very end. I just had a disappointment in the climax. But overall, the movie experience is satisfactory and despite being a offbeat film, movie has its moment of unexpected laughs. According to the research done by Harvard University, only one in a million lunchbox is delivered to the wrong address and ‘The LunchBox’ movie is the story of that one LunchBox.
Movie is about an old widower Sajjan Fernandez (Irrfan Khan) who is taking an early retirement (claims deptt.,Government office) and a married woman Ila (Nimrat Kaur) in her late thirties. It’s an unusual story of their falling in love where the lunchbox is their way of communication and their daily life problems become the subject of talking. Without meeting each other in person, in no time they come close and starts talking about a real relationship and plans about moving to Bhutan. Movie also revolves around two more characters, which are connected to Mr. Fernandez and Ila. Mr. Fernandez has a trainee Shaikh (Nawajudin Siddqui) in his office and Ila depends too much on her Neighbor Deshpandey Aunty (Bharati Achrekar) for advice of general life and food recipes. Shaikh is an orphan and has got a government job after a long struggling life. He lives with her muslim girlfriend and plans to get married as he will get promoted after Mr. Fernandez’s retirement.
Deshpandey Aunty has a paralyzed husband, whose life depends upon the room’s ceiling fan. She taught Ila some mouth-watering recipes to make her husband happy. A sumptuous dish (made by Auntyji’s recipe) reaches Mr. Fernandez by the mistake of a Dabba wala and this becomes the foundation of this amazing love story. They start exchanging notes about food and later the discussions becomes personal and finally they start sharing their day to day events and problems and motivate each other. Ila finds some clues about her husband having an affair and she shares her doubts with Mr. Fernandez. Ila tells Mr. Fernandez about her thought of leaving everything behind and going to Bhutan, as Bhutan has no GDP but a better life. Mr. Fernandez, who earlier planned about taking a premature retirement, suddenly starts feeling alive and discusses his new plans with Shaikh. Will he take a retirement or run away with Ila is the real suspense.
“Its well said that – sometimes a wrong Train gets you to the right destination. ” This is what exactly the movie is about. The destiny, the coincidence and the decision.
Irrfan Khan is an award winning seasoned actor. He took a risk of playing the role of an old man and the risk paid off. He has done an outstanding job as an actor and managed his character pretty well. On the other hand, Nimrat is a stage actor and knows very well how to step in the shoes of a character. She was the perfect choice for the role. Nawajudin Siddqui has proved his worth in his previous movies and won a good number of awards for his dynamic performance. He didn’t have much of a role in ‘The Lunchbox’ but he is visible throughout the movie because of his character and substance. Fourth and final character of Bharati Achrekar (Aunty) is not visible at all in the movie, but her voice is quite recognizable and you will feel her presence in your mind. Lillete Dubey too has a very small role in the movie, but as a good actor she did her job as per the requirement.
Though there would be other movies displaying the life of ‘dabbawalas’ but this movie has captured their moments close and clear. Their way of working, transportation of dabbas through local train and lastly the deliveries by cycle. It’s not the story on the criticism that dabbawala delivered on the wrong address but it’s a story where the dabbawala serves as a messenger of god and changes the life of two people with a mere ‘Lunchbox.’