A day after watching the heartwarming film ‘The Lunchbox‘ I read someone trashing it on Twitter. The guy said that he hated the film and walked out halfway. The film is the story of life and it could be anybody’s life. It was difficult for me to understand that how can someone hate someone’s life. However, there are all sorts of people in the world. Some who are honest about their emotions and some who hide under layers of hatred.
Coming back to the film, I won’t say that it’s the best film ever made or the best story ever told. But it certainly is the story that you want to be told. A simple love story of people who’ve never met; we’ve definitely heard many such stories. But there’s more to just romance in The Lunchbox.
Sajan Fernandes (Irrfan Khan) and Ila’s (Nimrat Kaur) paths cross when the Dabbawallah delivers the lunchbox to the wrong address. A widower Sajan and neglected by her husband Ila find love through letters and lunch. The characters portray an aching sense of loneliness which this city brings and which everyone of us must have experienced at some point of life.
Ritesh Batra touches a middle class life in Mumbai and portrays the city the way we see it, somewhere between the slums and the high rises. He shows you everyday Mumbai. His characters are beautifully sketched and scenes detailed and well thought out. A scene where Ila answers the door and you can hear Sanjeev Kapoor’s voice in the background giving the recipe of paneer tikka masala gives you a glimpse of a lonely housewife’s life. For the first time you can understand the bhajan singing dabbawallahs in the local train, probably that’s the only thing that keeps them going.
In the midst of all the loneliness and pain there’s Aslam Shaikh (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) whose spontaneity brings humour. And not to forget, Deshpande Aunty who we only know through a voice and a basket hanging from her window.
Irrfan Khan and Nimrat Kaur bring the characters alive, so much so that you can find yourself in those characters. Like any of his previous films, Irrfan Khan’s eyes say more than the dialogues do. A lot has been said in the film through poignant silences and empty eyes. There are no Bollywood or Hollywood twists here because life does not have twists, it just goes on. As for the film, it doesn’t matter that it’s not picked as India’s Oscar entry. The Lunchbox stirs your soul.