Friday, March 7, 2014


"The Lunchbox" is a new full length feature film by Ritesh Batra starring Nimrat Kaur and Irrfan Kahn.  Using the Mumbai lunchbox delivery system which only errs in its deliveries 1 out of every 6 million times, connects two very lonely and needy people from two very different backgrounds.  As Ila attempts to win  her husband's affection back through cooking elaborate lunches, she realizes these extraordinary attempts are being delivered to someone else!  As she writes a note to this unknown and very lucky recipient.  The two begin a sort of pen pal relationship trusting in one another more and more with every meal delivered.  Through this communication, a love begins and awakens them both to live again.

Irrfan Kahn and Ritesh Batra
"The Lunchbox" is a sweet story reminiscent of times gone by brought into the current day.  Through simple communication our two main characters show that everyone needs to be needed and that we all need to be loved in some way.  This film crosses all cultural boundaries in some way.  The complexity and depth of Ila and Sajaan will strike a chord in all of us too.  Each character is real and down to earth, representing the needs in all of us.  Taking place in Mumbai, with its hustle and bustle, and capitalizing on this one improbable error of the wrong lunchbox delivered, a simple love story builds into a beautiful story.

Ila's relationship with her husband is strained and she is trying with all her heart to win him back...through his stomach.  Her "auntie" lives upstairs with whom she if very close and tries to cook using Auntie's secrets.  As they shout to one another about their daily lives, Auntie shares ingredients with her niece below her through a pulley system, from her window to Ila's.  Day after day, Auntie gets updates on Ila's lunches and reactions to them, and Auntie shares her wisdom and life.  With each delicious meal cooked, you wait in anticipation with Ila to see what Sajaan will feel, taste, and communicate back with her.  Sajaan obviously has some issues as we see his reclusive self blocking out the world as he cocoons in the evening with an old TV set and old TV shows.  But somehow, the food and the ability to communicate with another person who is not satisfied with life during the day, actually gives Sajaan hope and the want to be involved in the world again.

"The Lunchbox" is a beautifully filmed and artistically directly movie that will capture your heart and make you famished!  The cooking is just as amazing as the unique lunch packing and delivery system.  Nimrat Kaur's performance is outstanding in her representation of many housewives.  Her performance, like the story itself, crosses all cultural boundaries.

Irrfan Kahn, who most of you will recognize from "The Life of Pi," is solid in his role; portraying a hurting, but loving man who wants nothing more than to love and be loved.  But the world is a scary place.  Kahn's adept ability elicits empathy from the viewer, carrying us along his journey of life.

"The Lunchbox" will truly entertain you (as well as make you hungry).  It captures the beauty of India, its residents, and its food.  But most importantly, it portrays  a love story in a pure and innocent way, capturing your heart.

Listen Thursday, March 13 at 4:30 pm for an interview with filmmaker, Ritesh Batra.  In the interview, I have promised the link to Batra's short film CAFE REGULAR, CAIRO so here it is!


Interview with Ritesh Batra
(Information about films showing in the Chicago area are for the week of 3-13-14)


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