The Lunch Box – The Tastiest film of the Year!!!!!! Delicious to the core….

Do you remember how you  waited for the day when mummy will serve your favorite sabzi in your dabba? And that big wide grin on your face while relishing that. Life really was that simple. And that is what Lunchbox is about. Director Ritesh Batra narrates a simple, heartwarming tale of love, loneliness and food. The film is extremely minimalist in its approach. The director does not even care to include a background score during most of the film’s runtime and that is the film’s charm. This is also probably the most sound film in recent films. By that i mean, the ambient sound has been captured so perfectly that every sniff, every chop of vegetables, every droplet of water can be heard and felt.

The film is about two individuals, Saajan Fernandes (Irrfan Khan) and Ila (Nimrat Kaur). How a one in a million goof up by the Mumbai dabbawallas leads to a tender romance blossoming between the duo is the highlight of the story. Romance of the purest kind, where they exchange notes and share their experiences. And Mumbai as a city is a character in itself in the film. How the metro sometimes alienates you from the world is something the film attempts to showcase. The lead duo is ably supported by Nawazuddin Siddiqui who plays Irrfan’s junior at his work place.

Lunchbox probably is the best film I have seen in recent times. It is everything which Ship of Theseus tried to be and failed. It makes you remember your childhood, your neighbors, your companion and all those memories which form an important part of your life.

The technical aspects of the film are marvelous. Lensed perfectly it brings alive the spirit of Mumbai. The rains, the trains, the roads. The bustling metro was last showcased so brilliantly in Wake Up Sid.

Coming to the performances, Irrfan Khan is mind blowing as a man who has spent the last 35 years doing the same job and it perfectly reflects in his performance. Nimrat Kaur as the lonely housewife is terrific and it would be no wrong to say that this is the best debut performance of the year easily. Nawaz gets limited scope but owns his part and provides the film with its most entertaining segments. The smaretest character is of Bharti Achrekar, never seen and only heard. She wins you with her voice alone. Such command, such control. I am awed.

The Lunchbox is a gem of a film, nourishing and mouthwatering and would definitely satisfy your thirst for a quality film.

Rating- 5/5


The Curious Case of the Indian Film Audience….

Times have changed, and with time so have films. What worked in the 90’s may not necessarily work now, or wait…What worked in the 90’s still works. And not just works, it is making a killing. Branding a film as a south remake or a slapstick entertainer or a mindless potboiler are some ways by which we define our distaste for such films. We are among-st the first ones who would end up watching the recent blockbuster, but we wait for the word of mouth to emerge. Once the mass verdict is out, we take a stand on the film.

Calling a spade a spade has existed since time immemorial, but bashing films just because it stars an XYZ Khan or a XYZ Kumar is becoming the norm now. Just because our favorite superstar did not manage to break a coveted box office record, we tend to put other films down which have managed to do so. The talk then no longer remains on the numbers the film has raked up. Then we start analyzing the film to prove how the film starring your favorite superstar was so high on content, or story-line or music and ll that jazz.

The war seems to have just begun and in the age where every penny a film earns is splashed on numerous websites for public scrutiny, the star wars (with due respect to Mr.Lucas) will only intensify every year. Earlier, our definition of a hit or a flop film was restricted to our likeness for the film. If we did not like a film, we quickly branded it a flop and no one challenged our word. But nowadays, if you brand a film like Bodyguard a flop only beacuse it tested your patience, there will be 10 people who will tell you how much money it has earned over the weekend and how it is the biggest blockbuster ever.

So, where does that leave middle of the road films? This year alone, we have seen the birth and rise of 2 very important independent films, namely Ship of Theseus and B.A Pass. Another promising film ‘Lunchbox’ is up for release. People like Anurag Kashyap and Gurmeet monga are supporting the cause of independent films, short films by giving them a backing which never existed until now. This backing helps it reach the masses.

But the question is are we ready for such films? Clearly not. The fact again lies in the numbers. A terribly hackneyed film like Chennai Express is all set to become the biggest blockbuster ever, whereas an achingly beautiful film like Lootera struggles to even recover its investment. I am in no way saying bad films are accepted wholeheartedly and good films are rejected on the day of their release. Speculations fell flat when the highly anticipated Policegiri or for that matter Himmatwala disappeared from theaters within a week of its release. Another example is last week’s release Once upon a Time in Mumbai Dobara released among st  much fanfare, this was a film which was supposed to give tough competition to Chennai Express. Alas, it was rejected as soon as it released and the negative word of mouth has killed the film.

So this again brings us to the question, what does the Indian audience want? It rejects beautiful films starring credible actors and laps up incredibly silly films starring the Khans. The stars in their defense claim that this is what the audience wanted and this is what we have given them. Look at the numbers. And true to their words, numbers tell the true story.And today, 100 crores has become the benchmark for separating the best from the rest.

But then with the changing times, the magic of instant classics are lost and films running for months is an unheard of a phenomenon. The recall factor is also lost on the viewer as we are bombarded with films, week after week.

So the question remains— What kind of films do we want? And the answer my friend is as simple as the question…We shall only get the films we deserve…..Food for Thought!!!!!