THE LUNCHBOX (PG)
The dabbawallas are part of a food delivery system in Mumbai in which freshly cooked meals make their way to thousands of office workers every day. It is a daunting task given the numbers involved, the challenging state of the traffic and that most of the dabbawallas, or carriers, are illiterate. Drawing inspiration from this, writer-director Ritesh Batra has come up with a moving tale about urban loneliness and human connection. The Hindi and English film is a portrait of modern India that is rooted in everyday life.
Ila (Nimrat Kaur) tries to get her husband's attention by trying something new in the kitchen. But due to a mix-up in the lunchbox delivery system in Mumbai, her tiffin carrier of home-cooked goodness goes to Saajan Fernandez (Irrfan Khan), an office worker about to retire. Thus begins an exchange of handwritten notes between the two and an unlikely friendship develops.
Despite making his debut feature, Batra shows an assured grasp of story-telling as he deftly handles moments of drama, comedy and tragedy. And as the film's distributor kindly cautioned, do not watch on an empty stomach or the food scenes will tip your hunger pangs over the edge.
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