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Movie Review : The Lunchbox

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Cast: Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur, Nawazuddin Siddiqui
Director: Ritesh Batra

The dabbawalas promise a six-sigma accuracy to their enterprise, which means a hiccup once in six million opportunities. And when that happens a story blooms like the one you can so easily associate yourself with. The Lunchbox comes with an honest portrayal of a story set in Mumbai but could have very well been a story anywhere else in the world. That kind of unanimous appeal from a Hindi movie is often unexpected, let alone from a debutant. But here, Ritesh exhibits quite a caliber, not just with the direction but with the story as well.

In a city where each day a new story is born, the narrative glides well like a picture painted with well-measured emotions. Ila, in an attempt to revive her dying marriage, sends a meal packed with all her love in a dabba for her husband that unexpectedly lands at the government office desk of Saajan Fernandez. The husband misses to notice the change in flavor of his food and Fernandez sends back licked tiffin back to Ila and that’s when the correspondence begins. Ila’s confessional letters find Fernandez making connect with her in spite of him beginning the correspondence with off-tracked topics. Nevertheless, they seem to connect at some level- melancholy, boredom, deadpan kind of life, perhaps. And of course, the age-old adage that the way to a man’s heart is his stomach.
Irrfan plays Fernandez, who loves quiet in his life, lives by the clock and exists on the memories of his dead wife. His unhurried, yet immaculately measured, timing makes one appreciate his portrayal of a middle-aged man who is counting days for his early retirement so that he can peacefully spend the rest of his life in Nashik. He owns the frame, in whatever one he is. Not once would one feel that the narrative is not paced appropriately. If you thought Paan Singh Tomar was his best ever, well, he takes this role a notch higher. He is definitely the best performing Khan we have in the industry.



New find Nimrat Kaur is excellent in portraying the quintessential housewife whose life only revolves around waking up early for the family, getting the daughter ready for school, sending her husband off to work, cooking for and packing the dabba, getting the laundry in place, etc. Amidst all the busyness of life, she feels herself paced out for herself. In her quest to revive her marriage, she falls for another man who she never meets but hopes that he can join her when she moves to Bhutan. Why Bhutan? Because her daughter’s textbook states that it’s a country where they don’t have ‘Gross National Product’ but have ‘Gross National Happiness’. How sweet!

Nawazzuddin Siddiqui as Aslam Sheikh is the guy who keeps the story coming back to lighter moments. His portrayal of an insecure, non-serious office babu is so natural that you feel sympathetic when on his wedding only Fernandez shows up as from the ‘boy’s side’. Even though Irfan towers above all the other actors in the movie, Nawaz manages to create a place for himself nevertheless.
Ritesh’s debut makes me expect some more masterpieces from him, however the Lunchbox will stay as one of his best work (in spite of how he fares in his subsequent attempts). This one is personally recommended for everyone who wants to stay clear of slapstick, item-number churning masala flicks.

If you have a heart, you’re going to feel this one!

About the author : Kajal is a movie enthusiast and loves music as much. Movie watching is a weekly affair for her and she loves sharing her views through her blog Rainbow Hues. Her blog also brings other varied colors of life. Even though she keeps swearing off social media, you can also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.
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Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

Good review Kajal!

anita.a's picture

I watched this movie over the weekend.I was very impressed not only with Irfan Khan's acting( I never miss a movie with him in it!)but also with the story,narration and direction!

Your review reinforced my choice of movies!Good review of an excellent movie! :)


Thanks so much Anita for

Thanks so much Anita for appreciating this review. The movie is indeed a good

Becoming a Pro

Wow... What a Review..They have not released this one in Jakarta :( So will have to wait for a fine print to download... Khan is indeed the best performing Khan and I feel Nawazuddin is the next Irrfan Khan...Looking forward to this one

oh thisis a fab review. I

oh thisis a fab review. I loved your last line, yes I do have a heart and I felt so much after watching the movie. :-)

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