Tuesday, October 08, 2013

The Lunch Box

Happened to watch this movie the other day.
The story emerges out of an implausible delivery mistake from a Mumbai dabbawala.  Ila's lunch box, which she prepares with a lot of effort and love for her husband, gets delivered to some Mr. Fernandes (Irrfan Khan). When she realizes that her husband is getting the wrong lunch box, she leaves a note for Mr. Fernandes, thanking him for showing so much appreciation (which she quantifies by the fact that the lunch box comes back empty every single day). Ila is trapped in a loveless marriage and Mr. Fernandes lives alone (and is sometimes lonely). Over time, their lunch box notes turn into friendship and they both start seeking strength in this every day exchange of letters.

Although the story is quite simple and at times seems rather slow, what sets this movie apart is the acting that fills the silences in the plot. Both Nimrat Kaur and Irrfan Khan display their remarkable talents of expressing what they want to convey without saying it. The movie also includes voice acting by Bharati Achrekar, who plays the role of Ila's neighbor, Mrs. Deshpande. The director takes his time with the cameras in a typical Mumbai government office, and slows you down by filling the frames with dusty files. Nawazuddin Siddiqui is delightfully annoying as Mr. Fernandes's  pesky assistant. All the fun is in the details and the execution.

I am glad I got to watch it before it left the cinemas. So if anyone is wondering whether they should watch it, well, do it right away!

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