The Lunchbox resembles You've Got Email. You've Got Email was the most recent adaptation of the many correspondence courtship drama made for the screen. It was able to grab our attention due to hard-to-find-now but the then Hollywood sweetheart Meg Ryan, Tom Hanks, Internet boom and popularity of AOL. When compared to this biggie, the Lunchbox is small in every kind of measuring yardstick. Ritesh Batra, the director of this movie, is not a celebrity. Irrfan Khan and Nimrat Kaur plays the protagonists. The former is an international star but not at the same star status as Tom Hanks, and the latter is an unknown face. Finally, the correspondence is set in the lunch box where they write each other letters using pen and paper! In spite of all these, the movie captures your attention. A simple movie can be very effective in telling a touching human drama.
You may have heard of the dabbawalas in Mumbai. Although their method might seem chaotic for an untrained eye, their efficiency is unparalleled. Even Harvard had come to Mumbai to study their delivery system. A mix-up by the dabbawala places the lunch box prepared by the young wife Ila(Nimrat Kaur) on the desk of Saajan Fernandez(Irrfan Khan) a widower waiting for his retirement. At the end of the day, Ila is surprised by an empty lunch box. She thinks her husband is happy with the new recipe on which she had ample help from the auntie living upstairs, never seen in the movie, but heard through the movie. She decides to write a thank you note and puts in the dabba. This correspondence starts the friendship between two lonely souls living in a crowded city. In real life, this might never happen. Otherwise, the Harvardwala would never have conducted a study on dabbawalas. I am quoting one of the characters in the movie here.
A simple narrative style, an eye for detail, excellent acting and photographing Mumbai combines together to keep us engaged in the movie. The movie is about two lonely people who haven't got anyone to communicate. Saajan lost his wife to death while Ila is losing her husband to his work. The two lonely people are living in one of the busiest and crowded city in the world. The irony itself captures our attention. They exchange letters not to philosophize instead to connect. The yearning of the protagonist to reach out finally pulls us into the drama. Nawazuddin Siddiqui, in a very short role, proves his versatility. The man can play anyone. Ritesh Batra does not carry any excess baggage as this is feature film debut. But he handles his subject and his actors like a veteran.
This lunch box contains a simple meal. But this would be most fulfilling meal you have eaten in a long while. Go for it.