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.